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Finish nailers

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  • Finish nailers

    HELP..I understand nail sizes as to "penny". I do not understand "gauge" Does anyone have a chart which showes the compairson to each other. Or can you explain just what "gauge" means. I love my PC framing nailer and I think that I will be getting a FINISH NAILER..Looking at the PC at this time. ANY and ALL help Please !!! Dick

  • #2
    I have three nailers I use for trim and finish work. A 16 gauge PC that shoots 2 and 1/2" to 3/4" finish nails. I use it for door trim, base molding, and rougher work like outside furniture.The hole it leaves is about equal to the hole left by an eight penny finish nail.
    My 18 gauge PC nailer (2" brads) is for furniture, since the hole it leaves is quite small.
    I also use a Bostich 7/32nds Stapler. This is the size staple door manufacturers use to staple the trim to the jamb. It is also great for underlayment.
    HTH [img]smile.gif[/img]
    Mac<P>Problems are opportunities in disguise


    • #3
      Mac, Thanks for the information, I tink that I may be "catching on" to this.I will have to mull this over and come up with the best one for my application at this time. I would like to have all three, but that is out of the quiestion on the dollar side. I will ahve to do the one at a time thing. Thanks & God Bless. Doc [img]smile.gif[/img] dick


      • #4
        I have the PC finish nailer and brad nailer and use both quite a bit. I agree that the brad nailer is great for attaching molding or other applications where you don't want the hole to show. These two will probably get you through most of what you need.


        • #5
          I forgot one. I don't have one, but there is now a 23 gauge pin nailer(pinner?). Just to add to the confusion!
          Mac<P>Problems are opportunities in disguise


          • #6
            There is no direct comparison between "penny" and guage.

            Before air nailers, finish nails varied in both length and thickness; 4d nails are both shorter and skinnier than 8d nails, but you didn't have to worry about this, you just bought the nails you wanted and your hammer would work just fine. On the other hand, if you could buy a nail that was as long as an 8d nail but as skinny as a 2d or 4d nail, what would happen: you'd get a lot of bent nails, because the skinny shaft has a harder time supporting the force of the whack required to drive a long nail without bending or deflecting.

            Finish air nailers (or any nailer the nails of which are held to one another just by some sticky stuff) don't handle nails of differing thickness very well; for that matter, they don't handle nails that are truly round in shaft very well (if you look closely at most air nailer brads and finish nails, their cross-section tends to be square or rectangular). These nailers want all nails to be the same shape and have the same cross-sectional dimensions, regardless of length.

            "Guage" is a measure of thickness, with the smaller the number implying the larger the shaft thickness. So 18 ga brads are skinnier than 16 ga finish nails, which are in turn skinnier than 15 ga finish nails. Once again, you don't really care about all of this, since squarish nails will hold just as well as perfectly round ones. The important thing is that 15 ga nailers will shoot only 15 ga nails; 16 ga nailers will shoot only 16 ga nails, and so forth.

            There is one difference of significance though, and it has to do with how long a nail of a given gauge can be and still penetrate the wood without bending or deflecting. I have an 18 gauge PC brad nailer, and occasionally I use 2" brads in it, but that is stretching things. The advantage of the 15ga finish nailer over the 16 ga finish nailer is that, because the 15ga nails are slightly thicker, they will take the whack required to drive long nails into hard stock with fewer deflections and bends.

            Now I should add that not too much of the foregoing applies to framing nailers, which use the head of the nail and the plastic "links" (like the ammo links for a Browning 50) to position the nail. The PC framing nailer uses nails the shafts of which are truly round, and it can use nails of different shaft diameters (though only two diameters are commonly stocked). But with finish nails and brads, the nails are too small and the costs would be too high to encase each individual nail in a feedlink.

            Bottom line: if you want a finish nailer, buy the PC 15 ga and then forget all about gauge; just buy the 15ga nails of whatever length fits your project and fire at will.


            • #7
              Thanks folks for the advise and information about nailers. I now have a clera picture on "gauge". Now all I have to do is deside which one. I am going to stay with the PC line. Docdick


              • #8

                Call it factoids or just useless trivia......but here goes: [img]tongue.gif[/img]

                The pennyweight system started in England many years ago and most likely refered to the cost per 100 nails for that size. The small case "d" was the symbol for penny thus its use today.

                The penny system refers primarily to length beginning with 2d. From 2d to 10d, the lengths begin at 1" and increase by 1/4" for each penny. IE. 2d=1", 3d=1 1/4", 4d=1 1/2".......10d=3". The system changes above that whereas 12d=3 1/4", 16d=3 1/2", 20d=4" up to 60d=6". Other lengths are simply referred to by their actual inch measurement.

                Since most current nails are actually wire nails, the use of gauge (or gage as is used in some areas) applies. This is a measure of the nail's cross section. As with wire gauge, the smaller the gauge designation, the larger the nail's diameter or cross section. For example: Gauge/decimal equivalent: 2=.263, 2 1/2=.253, 3=.244, 4=.225, 4 3/4=.212, 5=.207, 6=.192, 7=.177, 7/1/2=.170, 8=.162..........15=.072, 15 1/2=.067, 16=.063.

                End of lesson!

                Wood Dog


                • #9
                  As everyone has said, different guage nails are better suited to some jobs than others. i build mainly furniture and find that I use an 18G brad nailer much more than my 16G PC finish nailer. if I were going to only have one of the two for any length of time while I saved to purchase the other I'd go with the brad nailer hands down. I'm envious of the framing nailer though. I've got to get me one of those!


                  • #10
                    As for the framing nailer I bought it basicly for the extension of my garage/shop( 3700 nailes in the siding, 450 in the studs etc) with the wild idea that when it is finished and can not look down the road as for its usage I just may sell it and the "stash" of nails that go with it. As you know you just can notb buy a few nails.Anyone who is on the serious side send me your E-Mail to and as soon as a decisson is made I will advise with a package price and YOU pay the S & H.I DO NOT ABUSE TOOL EITHER !!!


                    • #11
                      the siding is all finished and 3/4 finished primed and painted, if the raiu holds off I should finish it SAT. (tomorrow) and start building the walls,standing the aside for now. NEXT weekend it should ALL come together as son, Mark, wil be off and be here to help 'put it together". I would ask you to join us but I think that you are to far away for this one. Dick


                      • #12

                        Thanks for the update. Sounds like you will have a busy couple of weekends! It's always great to get the family involved in your projects.

                        Have fun and be safe!!

                        Wood Dog


                        • #13
                          I'm new to the forum and perhaps too late to the conversation, but here is my two pennies worth...

                          I have a Porter Cable 18 gauge brad nailer - works great, but the 18 gauge is such a fine wire size that it doesn't add a lot of strength - I have had the nails remain straight in both boards, but the board moves sideways so I have a Z-shaped nail (the nail was too fine for the relatively large wood - you can't build a house with brads).

                          Then I got a finish nailer - Bostich 15 gauge. The larger diameter nail is much stronger, but (of course) makes a larger hole. Since finish nailers come in 15 and 16 gauge, I went for the larger 15 gauge, to be farther away from the brad nailer.

                          If I were doing it over I would start with a 16 gauge finish nailer and try to get by with only one rather than two.

                          Of the two, the PC is easier to load and unload, and I often change length of nails (just as I did in the old days using a hammer), even though both nailers have little problem driving amazingly long nails into very hard woods (like 2 inch brads into oak).