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Would I need to pre-drill the molding using one of these nailers? Is it even possible to shoot through a predrilled hole? I know with the manual method that you need to pre-drill to prevent splitting. Something tells me I wont need to do this.
The good news is that you don't "need" to pre-drill, since you can't shoot through pre-drilled holes.
The bad news is that while air-shot nails tend to split less than hammer-pounded nails (because they go in so fast and because less energy is transferred to the workpiece), they do sometimes split wood. Usually the only time you have to hold your breath is at the end of the run -- but not always. That's why you buy some extra pieces of stock.
A little nit-pickin' of my own: "because less energy is transferred to the workpiece." Yes, in more ways than one. Larliz, good news is that they tend to split most woods less often. Another technical reason for this, and I believe more importantly, the brads are not beveled or pointed to the extent nails are. The wedge action of nails forms the small beginning of big splits. If you've never tried it before, next time you're pounding nails and having problems with splits try tapping the business end of the nails before driving them to flatten out the point a little. You'll find them 70 - 80% less likely to split the wood when the points are blunted.
\"You are a creative problem solver\"<br />- Mark, <a href=\"http://www.mybldg.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.mybldg.com</a>
So would that mean that it would be better to use a brad nailer to put up crown molding with? Or use regular finish nails and pre-drilled holes using an old fashioned hammer? I dont want to get a entire strip of molding up and have it split half-way down the run.
I depends on your tolerance for scut work. I would use a finish nailer and see what happens; more than likely, the entire discussion will be moot.
One additional advantage of an air nailer for trim work is that you don't have the piece moving on you while you are trying to hammer in the nail. In my experience, even if you get a couple of splits, the air nailer (finish nailer) will produce and better job and a happier carpenter than the old fashioned way.