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Thread: Oak Trim and Air Nailers

  1. #1

    Oak Trim and Air Nailers

    Getting ready to trim the basement and do the stairs.

    All the trim will be oak.

    I have always done my trim the old fashioned way, with a hammer and nail set. If I was using a hammer I would predrill the nail holes.

    I was thinking of buying a Bostich 15 ga. finish nailer for this project. My concern is that it will split the oak trim. Is this a valid concern, or will the nail gun do fine?

    If the nail gun will work fine, what length of nails is best for the casing and base? I was thinking 2".

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
    Trim nails for air nailers have squared off points so they will not split your trim unless you are careless and shoot too close to an edge or right at the end of a piece. I've installed thousands of feet of oak trim (numerous profiles) with a 16ga nailer with nary a split.

    16ga nailers are more common...If you're looking at a 15ga I'd make darn sure you can find a source for nails.

    Say 3/4" thick trim + 1/2" wallboard...You want at least 1" penetration into the stud. 2-1/2" nails will do best in my opinion. 2" would probably work fine with thinner trim profiles, but I tend to opt for longer nails when I'm nailing into framing. I use my brad nailer for nailing casing into the jamb stock on doors and cased openings, but you want shorter nails for that...Probably something 1" or 1-1/4", so make sure the nailer you buy will shoot short ones as well as long ones.

    Bostitch has a pretty good following. But I'd be lying if I said I'd ever had good luck from all of the 4 Bostitch nailers I've owned. 2 of those 4 had problems in an unreasonably short time period. The other 2 have been fine. I now have a senco that I love and a couple Ridgid nailers that have actually held up great to quite a bit of use.

  3. #3
    I normally use 16ga 2" and never spits the wood. Just remember don't get to close to the edge or any wood will split.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
    I too prefer a 16ga and don't have issues. If you don't have any nailers you might consider one of the pancake and 3 nailer packs at the Borgs you can usually get them under $300 and are much more cost effective than buying seperately.

  5. #5
    Main reason I was looking at the Bostich 15 ga. is because it is an oil less gun. I do not think any of the others I looked at are.

    I like the paslode that runs on a battery and cartridge but it is a little pricey for me. I have a PC brad nailer already. Bought a PC finish nailer a couple of years ago and took it back. I only used them for woodworking projects and I would shoot nails out the side of oak to easily with both of them. This trimming project is a good application for one though.

  6. #6
    I prefer to use the 18ga. myself. I have the paslode cordless impulse, which I love, a Hitachi, which I also love, and a ridgid, which is ok but I'll make ya a good deal on it if you want. I use a 2" nail and have not had any problems shooting them except for maybe maple. They hold well and leave a smaller hole that the 16 or 15 ga. I also have the paslode 16 ga. impulse, senco sfn1 16 ga. and have not used them at all unless I come into a really large bow in the wall that the 18 ga just won't suck in.

    Just my 2 cents. Good luck with your project.
    I take big parts, cut them into little parts, and glue back into big parts.

    The circle of life.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Huntsville, East Texas
    OK, so 16 ga gets the job done just fine, what is 15 ga for? I am looking now, thanks to this thread, for a 16 ga. finish nailer (I'd prefer Ridgid).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    N.E. Ohio
    OK, so 16 ga gets the job done just fine, what is 15 ga for?
    Hanging doors.

    16 ga will work, but, I'm not real comfortable using a 16 ga on heavy oak doors.

  9. #9

    another idea

    i use a 23 gauge pin nailer for trim - never had anything come loose even years later. for baseboard that can get whacked by vacuums and furniture i put a dab of glue or caulk behind where I am going to nail for some extra holding power.

    it works great for hardwood trim as the nail holes are basically invisible and no fill or putty required. Knowing I am going to use a 23 gauge pin on hardwood trim means i can stain and clear coat before installation as there is no post install finish work that needs to be done other than touch up the occasional less than perfect miter

    good luck

  10. I have a Bostich 15ga angled nailer. Its next to impossible to find nails. It will only fit Bostich brand nails, which only up until recently sold at HD only in big boxes and not at all at Lowes. Now thankfully I can buy 1000 packs, but they are still only certain sizes. I'm sure it would be fine if they were straight nails, but the angle is just a little different from all of the other manufacturers.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Belden, Mississippi
    My 16 ga Porter Cable thinks that it is a machine gun that has been to war. That sucker is 10 yrs old and just keeps on bangin' 'em out. "Course it gets cleaned and oiled after every use, kept in a good case, and fires quality nails.
    On the other hand, I still have five fingers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northfield, Mn
    Just need to pay attention to the diection of the chisel point on the nails. I use Senco/Isanti nails, and the finish variety you want the gun in line with the grain so the chisel is going perpendicular. It cuts instead of splits its way through the wood.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Lafayette, IN
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl Brogger View Post
    Just need to pay attention to the diection of the chisel point on the nails. I use Senco/Isanti nails, and the finish variety you want the gun in line with the grain so the chisel is going perpendicular. It cuts instead of splits its way through the wood.
    Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

    That's what I've always done with my 16ga nailer. It's not as much of a problem away from the ends of a board, but by doing the above, I can safely nail within a couple inches of the end of a brittle oak trim board without splitting it.

    BTW, for nailing casing to a door or window jamb (wood-to-wood), I use an 18ga brad nailer with 1-1/4" nails or so. Then I come back with the 16ga nailer for the outer edge of the casing with 2-1/2" nails.

    For hanging doors, I don't have a 15ga, so I use the 16ga to get it in place, but then I always replace a screw per hinge with a 3" or 3-1/2" screw to hold the door jamb solid. Many times, I'll even put one behind the strike plate for extra hold on that side of the jamb.

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

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