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Author Topic: Nail Gun and Compressor Recommendations  (Read 1973 times)
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Dan Clark
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« on: October 12, 2006, 04:05:41 PM »

Hi.  I have some work in my master bath project that may require a framing nailer and a finish nailer.   (I could do it by hand, but I need them anyway for my upcoming projects.)   

The framing nailer will be used for building uh... framing.  For example, I'm building a storage platform that will be 40' long and 8 feet wide.   The joists will probably be 2X6 or 2X8's, with 1/2" or 3/4" plywood on top.   Lots of nails.   I may use joist hangers.  There's a potting shed in my future too.

The finishing nailer will be used for installing new doors, window molding, etc.  All of the house doors in the interior and one exterior will be replaced, plus most of the moldings.

I'm also thinking about maybe a 18g brad nailer and 23g micro-pinner for the future.

So, what nailers and compressors do you prefer and have had good luck with?   Any that you would recommend against?   

Thanks,

Dan.

p.s., I'm really hot on good quality tools that are reliable.   I'll be retiring in a few years and I don't what to replace this stuff.  I always search for a good deal, but for me, quality wins over lowest cost.   
« Last Edit: October 12, 2006, 06:12:46 PM by Dan Clark » Logged
Brent Harral
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2006, 04:29:34 PM »

Compressors...think portable!  I bought a twin tank Senco (Englo) that I had used for years.  Great compressor but it's ~75 lbs. was taking a toll on my back...enter cheapy PC pancake compressor.  Much nicer throwing the thing on the truck and hauling in to a job site.  I could care less about how many times it cycles as long as is gives me my 90 psi, and that it does.  I'm a big fan of Senco guns - have a bunch.  The SFN40 15 ga. nailer is a workhorse.  I beat it to all crap and it keeps on shooting and can't remember the last time it jambed.  Oil-less is nice, and it's soft touch nose beats a lot of others I tried.  I have a Senco SLP20 18 ga. that I've used for 12 years.  It's also a dependable workhorse...but recently I picked up a Bostich Magnesium 18ga. and I'm really liking it so far.  It shoots 2" brads (unlike the 1.5" max of the Senco SLP20) and is oiless and has a onboard depth set unlike the Senco.  The safty tip on it is smooth and it leaves no impressions on the workpiece unlike the Senco, quite frankly.   At first I thought it was kinda cheap feeling (the plunger makes sparks on the head  Grin every shot), but after using it for 8 months with no impression, I like it!  It's much lighter than the Senco too.  I have a 23ga PC pinner that seems to keep on ticking - I use it to death.  I've been eyeing a Grex, but as long as this thing keeps on shooting I don't see a point in replacing it.  I like full head framing nailers but for a big job it SUCKS constantly loading clips.  If to do again I'd get a Bostich clipped head,  now doubt about it.... 

Hope this helps.   
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Dan in Maine
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2006, 07:27:49 PM »

Personally, Framing gun, I have a Bostitch N60H or something like that. Clipped head stick nailer, be warey, some codes no longer allow a clipped head (Hurricane Country) I guess.  Finish nailer, I own a Paslode angle nailer. The kind that takes a gas cylinder and battery. Slicker than snot. Never had trouble with it. Gas cans last me quite a while. AND....your not dragging a greasy dirty air hose all over the customers floors. Have a Bostitch and PC also, but only use them in the shop since I got the Paslode.  A friend has the Paslode Framing nailer and swears by it.  Just something more to add to the choices.... Grin

Compressor....I had a twin tank PCable. Sold the pancake.....just wouldn't do it.
Shop is a 35 gal 5HP does all I need.

Dan

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Bing in MN
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2006, 09:39:32 PM »

For non-pro hobby work, I've got all Bostitch and really have no problem but of course don't use them much.   For the finish nailer I've got an FN 45 or something like that.   Paid $80 at the pawn shop.  I've got the coil nailer but don't recommend that because it is too hard to fit into tight spaces or toe nail with.  Don't reload much, never jams, and works well, I'd just get a stick nailer if I had to do it again.  Think I paid $130 on Ebay for it five years ago.

At home I've got a big compressor but for projects outside of home that aren't too big, I bought a little pancake type compressor.   Its easy to carry and I'm amazed that it'll pretty much run the nail guns with no problem.  Sure can't use an air tool with it though.
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2006, 10:32:50 PM »

Hi.  Great feedback...  I also did some looking online.

First, air vs cordless.  I'm very partial to cordless tools and have heard great things about Paslode.   I LOVE the idea of grabbing the nailer and using it without worrying about compressors, hoses, etc.   But, there are three things that concern me about cordless nailers in general and Paslode in particular...   

1) In looking at the Paslode site, it looks like they are pushing heavily into air tools and not bringing out new cordless tools.

2) There's not too much selection in Paslode cordless tools - it looks like they have one framing nailer, two 16Ga finish nailers, an 18Ga brad nailer and a 16 Ga crown stapler.   It looks like they don't have any 15Ga finish nailers and no micro pinners.

3) I may still need to buy a air compressor anyway.  With an air compressor, there are lots of options - staplers, 15Ga nailers, other micro-pinners, etc.   With Paslode cordless tools, my options are pretty much limited to what Paslode has.   

So, as much as I'm drawn to the Paslode nailers, I think I'll go with an air nailer.  And, I'm concerned about codes too, so I think I'll stick with a round head framer.

I see Senco and Bostich mentioned here.  I have good impression of both.  Both have great names.  The Bostich has a nailer that can nail metal connectors.  It looks like both have a full line of nailers from framing to 15 and 16ga finish nailers, to 18 and 23 ga brad nailers, and staplers too.  Choices, choices...

Any other brands?   Anyone have a used nailer to sell?

Regarding compressors, I was looking at a Thomas compressor at EASTSIDE STAPLE & NAIL, INC in Bellevue, WA.    They look like nice compressors.  Pricey, but nice.   There a dual hotdog that is espcially attractive.   At 66lb, it's not too heavy and it will fit under my workbench.  But, it's pricey.  Hmmm...   Anyone have a Thomas compressor and can comment?  Want to sell?

Thanks for the great feedback,

Dan.
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2006, 07:23:26 AM »

Bump...

Any more compressor or nailer feedback?   Thomas compressors?  Bostitch nailers?

The Bostitch N88RH-2MCN looks interesting.   It's a dual-purpose nailer with two nosepieces - one for framing and one for hardware (joist hangers, etc.).   Anybody use it?  Like it?

I think I'll get a Thomas compressor this morning.   Good price and 5 minutes from my house.

Thanks,

Dan.
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Scott Priebe
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« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2006, 07:31:42 AM »

Thomas and Emglo/Dewalt are both contractor favorites. 

I don't like nail guns that do more than one thing.  I would get a Bostitch, Hitachi or Makita framer and a palm nailer for the joist hangers. 

I like Bostitch 15 ga finish nailers, Paslode 18 and 16 ga air nailers and Grex 1 3/8" micro pinners.  Makita staplers are good for me too.
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Stu in Edmonton
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2006, 07:36:51 AM »

Name brands are all pretty good. Don't like tools that do 2 things. I got 2 compressors; big Eagle in shop and an old Crapsman pancake that I can't kill. Just framed a  13' x 21' greenhouse with 2 x6 walls. Senco clipped head and the Crapsman. Got 2 other Sencos, a PC, a Dewalt, a Campbell Hausfield, a Crapsman stapler, etc.

Why not look for one of those combo deals. Compressor and nailer together in kit!
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2006, 08:09:43 AM »

Wow!  Two votes against the combo framer/joist hanger!   I'll have to rethink that.   I've noticed a lot of refurb Bostitch combo framers out there.   This may explain why.

OK.  Back to square one.   Any recommended palm nailers?

Thanks for the quick feedback,

Dan.
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Rick Alexander
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« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2006, 10:54:44 AM »

built my shop a couple of years ago on nailers.  In the beginning my dad let me use his Senco framer (full head - don't remember the model).  To be honest, I didn't really like it.  It didn't jam so much as missfire about 1 in 10 to 15 shots and also had a tendancy to double shoot every now and then.  It was pretty light though and felt good in your hand.  I decided to get my own and went with Hitachi full head - I think its the model 92A if I'm not mistaken.  Much better gun as far as missfiring and never once double shot.  Also, I think the drive motor is stronger on the Hitachi as it seemed to drive the nails more consistently when I was putting the siding on.   I couldn't be happier with Hitachi.

The compressor I use is one of the pancake jobs - Porter Cable.   The only thing I have trouble with on it is that it doesn't like long power cords at all.   You need to get a #10 cord no longer than 50 feet to run it from or it doesn't want to start up when cold.  I think the motor is right on the edge of not being strong enough so if you look around, look for the highest rated HP motor on a pancake.  Hopefully they've improved that over the years.  For nail guns those pancakes work just fine and they are pretty easy to carry.  Actually - my dad bought a really cheap one from Harbor Freight that so far works just fine.  Time will tell on the endurance but he's had it for several deck size projects so far.
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2006, 12:15:39 PM »

Hi.  This morning, I picked up a Thomas T-200ST compressor.  It isa bit pricier than one of their pancakes, but it has extra capacity (which I really don't need), recovers about 30% faster (which is nice), and fits under my workbench (which is VERY important).   

I also played around with the Hitachi framing and finish nailers.  They are VERY nice.  Very well balanced and feather-light.   The key key Hitachi benefit is that they fit my hands WAY better than the Bostitch and Senco nailers.

My hands are average width, but I have short fingers.   With my Senco screw gun, I get a blister on my thumb knuckle after about 15 minutes unless I wear gloves.   

With the Senco and Bostitch nailers, I have to twist my hand to reach the trigger. I.e., blister city.  With the Hitachi nailers, the trigger position is perfect.

After a little more research, I see that Hitachi nailers have a good reputation, but I wouldn't have thought that something simple like trigger position would make that much difference.  Go figure.

Many thanks for the great feedback.  You guys kept me from making a dumb mistake!!!

So now I just have to find a good price.  Hmmm...

Best regards,

Dan.
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Art in Linden
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2006, 12:22:37 PM »

I've got a Senco round head framing nailer works fine for me. I converted it from bump fire to selective fire. Also Senco 18 gage brad nailer, A Bostich finish nailer, A Porter Cable stapler.  A Cambel Hausfield portable compressor light and easy to carry around.   Would not get clipped head nailer as a lot of codes will not allow them  Earthquakes, wind storms and such.   Art
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2006, 09:48:14 PM »

OK.  Dumb questions of the week alert...

I bought a Hitachi full head, framing nailer.  I like the feel of it a lot and it seems very well built!  But...

When I picked up the nailer, I was hoping for a little more than the nailer in the box.  But nope, that was it.  No oil, no hose coupling, nothing but the nailer and instructions.   Oh well...

So tomorrow, I'm off to Lowes or HD for some fittings, lubricant, and such.  Some feedback for the dumb newbie, please...

- The user guide says that I need a 3/8 NPT Male Plug.   I've seen some swivel models somewhere.   Anything wrong with a swivel?   

- The user guide says that the gun needs an in-line filter, a regulator, and a hose lubricator.  My compressor has the filter and regulator, but do I need the hose lubricator?   Is it sufficient to just add a few drops lubricant into the air plug?

Thanks,

Dan.
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« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2006, 02:19:43 AM »

Hi Dan, I've got the Hitachi NR83, which is the model before the NR90 came out.

IMHO you cannot buy a better full head framing nailer. I asked around a lot before I bought mine, and I asked some friends back in Canada who are in the business of framing houses.
A friend of my Dad's works at a rental shop the Hitachi NR83 was all the had, the guys said all they do is maintain them, zero repairs.

My Dad used to be an electrical inspector, so he was on the job sites daily, he said one time he saw this bright yellow nailer and went to take a look, as all he had ever seen was the light green Hitachis, well it turns out, this framing carpenter painted his NR83 Bright Yellow, so it would not get mixed up with others guys nailer (everyone had the same gun).

I've not built a house with mine, but I've used it a lot and it just plain works, I've never had a jam, and I've only had a few double shots, but that was when I first started to use it, none in a very long time since.

For it's size is it light, and they just don't break.

Cheers!
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Dan Clark
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« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2006, 07:38:21 AM »

Stu,

Thanks.  Sounds great!   I'm looking forward to using mine as soon as I buy the lube and an NPT or two.   I'm off to Lowes in about 30 minutes!

Have a good one!

Dan.
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