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Thread: Need an education, brad nails/finish nail/crown staples

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Houston, TX

    Need an education, brad nails/finish nail/crown staples

    LOML must have 300 hundred feet of crown molding installed NOW. Of course, I've got deadlines at work ... you know the story. We went to the borg last night to buy the crown and I saw the Porter Cable compressor, brad nailer, finish nailer combo set. This started me wondering about getting some tools to speed up this installation process, so I started looking around.

    I typically use finish nails by hand to install crown molding, so I can understand how/why to use a finish nailer. But when would you use a brad nailer, and how is it different than a finish nailer? Is it just in the size? So how do crown staples figure into this mix? A quick internet search has people using crown staples to install base molding? I would have thought by the name that crown staples are used to install crown molding, but then why staples and not finish nails? Finally, can any of this be used to install nail down wood flooring?

    FWIW, here is the link to the PC combo kit
    It sounds like the compressor is a little small if you are going to try and use it to frame a house, but reviews seem to indicate that it runs these tools just fine. The borg and amazon both have it at $278

  2. #2
    what i believe you are refering to is a "narrow crown" staple this is commonly a 1/4" crown. most guns shoot a range of 3/4-1 1/2" these are not for trim work! the most common use is for attaching cabinet backs, ie;1/4" ply. i never use a staple where it can be viewed. if you`re installing crown the most popular gun is the 15ga. angled magazine, it can be shot with an 18ga. but be sure to keep your fingers back at least the length of the fastener it`s quite painful to extract nails from your fingers while standing on a ladder with your hand fastened to the wall...voice of experience. tod p.s. the heavier gauge nails are less likely to curl back and bite you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    "Brads" in the context of these pneumatic tools are generally stamped from flat steel and have a square profile with a small t-shaped head. They are great general purpose fasteners. The downside is that the flat profile is more easily deflected by woodgrain, especially in harder woods and less "holding power" with the small heads. The upside is that the holes are smaller/less visible and there is a great variety of sizes to choose from. Brads are usually 18 guage, but there are other sizes, including the 16 guage size that many companies and folks refer to as "finish nails" but are still really brads given the definition I listed above.

    "Finish nails" usually refer to round nails with not-quite full round heads. They are usually in an angled package format that allows the larger gun that shoots them to more effectively get into the work area. In most cases, these are 15 guage and are available in longer lengths than brads. They do not tend to deflect quite as much in wood grain and have much more holding power. The downside, is that they leave a more visible mark on the wood that needs filled during finishing.

    "Crown Staples" are nothing special for the most part. The "crown" refers to the top of the staple and that's the first measurement you see...the width, typically 1/4" in the type of tools we most commonly use. (but there are other sizes for specific applications that require guns that are sized appropriately to shoot them) Staples are most often used for concealed areas like fastening back panels to a carcass, but they can also be used for construction where "two legs" are stronger than one brad.

    I most often use my 15 guage angle nailer and 18 guage brad nailer, with my 23 guage pinner and 1/4" stapler used as appropriate. If I could only have ONE gun available, it would be a 16 guage "finish" brad nailer since it can do both light and heavier work.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Tidewater, VA
    Tom -

    The explanations by Tod and Jim cover the finish nail, brad nail, narrow crown staple part of the question. Just wanted to comment on the Porter Cable package.

    The pancake compressor is a robust unit. The finish nailer and brad nailers will stand up well. All in all, it is a good package deal. I have the PC BN125, 15ga angled FN, FH framing nailer and narrow crown stapler. All have performed very well.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Chesterland, OH

    There is a sale at HD

    This was in the local ad this morning at $299. Also on their web site. I have no affiliation. Seems like a pretty good deal. Any opinions?

    Model CFFN250T - 135 PSI max pressure; 6-gal pancake oil-free compressor delivers 3.7/2.7 SCFM at 40/90 PSI
    2 1/2 In. finish nailer drives 3/4 to 2 1/2 In. 16-gauge nails
    1 1/4 In. brad nailer drives 5/8 to 1 1/4 In. 18-gauge brad nails
    1 In. narrow crown stapler drives 1/2 to 1 In. narrow crown staples
    Includes nail gun oil, wrenches, 1/4 In. plug, couplers and fittings, 1000 finish nails, safely glasses adn 25 Ft. PVC hose

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    South Windsor, CT
    If the nailer in the kits is the FN250B 16 gauge straight finish nailer, I'd wait until you can get something with the DA250B 15 gauge angled finish nailer.

    I have the DA250B and the BN200A brad nailer. There have been a number of times when I was glad that I had the angled nailer rather than the straight nailer. It made it far easier to get into some tight spots for nailing up trim.

    While the finish nailer is great for crown moulding, I found the brad nailer with a long brad to be perfect small half-rounds and similar. The smaller nail won't split the wood as easily (make sure you shoot so the nail cuts across the grain rather than with it).


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