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Thread: Finish Nailers - Seeking Recommendations

  1. #1

    Finish Nailers - Seeking Recommendations

    I am seeking recommendations, input and thoughts on air finish nailers.

    I have an 18 gauge B&D Firestorm brad nailer (inherited) that performs well but am in need of something larger in the 15 or 16 gauge size. I am presently researching the forums but in conjunction with my research, I would appreciate anything anyone would like to share, particularly in regard to your preferences, experiences & uses, and the pros & cons of each size, as well as specific brand and model recommendations (affordability, value and quality are appreciated over top of the line higher $$$ models).

    Usage would encompass a variety of tasks from furniture making to a multiple other woodworking projects, though it will not be used for general construction type projects. Tasks may also include assembly of various wood projects (up to 14 to 24 fastening with glue & lap joints), other nail & glue joints and various other activities.

    While my present focus is on acquiring a finish nailer, in the future I anticipate adding a 23 gauge pin nailer, possibly a stapler and the option of replacing the 18 gauge brad nailer I presently have if it should fail, so welcome recommendations there too, as well as the option of various kits that include several nailers / staplers.

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Art Tripp; 02-08-2019 at 9:00 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    3,684
    Many years ago, I bought a small Porter Cable air compressor that came with 16, and 18 gauge nailers and a narrow gauge stapler. I have used the two nailers extensively building furinture and remodeling houses and have never had a problem with either one. I have not had any use for the stapler. I bought a 23 gauge pin nailer on sale at Harbor Freight for something like $15. At the time, I didn't know whether such a tool would be useful and didn't want to invest $100 in a pin nailer I would never use. The plan was to replace the HF tool with a good one if it turned out to be useful. That has been at least 10 years ago and I am still using the HF pin nailer regularly. It just works like it is supposed to and I can't find a reason to replace it.
    Last edited by Art Mann; 02-08-2019 at 10:16 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    47,774
    I like my Grex pinner and would consider their 18 gage brad nailer if I had to replace my older Senco guns. And don't worry...the 23 gage pinner is really handy to have, both for use on projects but also for things like temporary jigs that are easy to disassemble after one-time use with little or no damage to the material. I think I use my pinner more than any other gun, honestly.
    --

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kamiah, ID
    Posts
    226
    Art I went through this process recently looking for a micro pinner. Grex was generally highly regarded by others on this forum and I also liked what I saw about Omer but I couldn't pull the trigger on either one. I've been buying and using Senco since the 1980's. In fact my only foray from Senco was to buy, the still highly regarded, Hitachi NR83 framing nailer. The micro pinner I found was reconditioned and thus very reasonable priced...<$100 IIRC. I know Senco went through a troubled time but I thankfully wasn't looking to buy at that time. Within the last 3 yrs I bought that pinner and two different staplers. All have performed as I would expect a Senco to perform and, not having experienced the nailers from the bad times, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Senco. If you're not afraid to buy online it's open season on any brand. If you're buying locally it may boil down to what your local dealers carry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    1,318
    I've used a Senco SFN40 15 ga nailer for decades now, I find it hard to imagine something that would work better. I love the way the depth adjusts without playing guessing games with air pressure. They run ~$150 on Fleabay. I don't know how the current new ones compare. If I needed a new one for some reason I'd strongly consider a used model and a rebuild kit of this nailer.

    I recently bought a Omer brad nailer and it is, head and shoulders, the nicest pneumatic nailer I've ever held or used. Feels and works like a precision machine. (and costs like one too, unfortunately!) The biggest finish nailer Omer makes seems to be a 16 ga that goes to 2-1/4" long. For old house trim work I frequently find a longer nail to be useful (or necessary).

    Yes, a 23 ga pinner is incredibly useful!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,218
    Senco has been serving me well since 1974. I'm still using one finish nailer that was used when I bought it then.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Itapevi, SP - Brazil
    Posts
    311

    Makita AF505N

    Makita AF505N is traditional in the market and I was one late adopter in last year. I drove just a couple of thousands brads 30, 40 and 50mm long and I never had a single fail.

    I am glad with my purchase. I recommend it.
    All the best.

    Osvaldo.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    Senco has been serving me well since 1974. I'm still using one finish nailer that was used when I bought it then.
    I started later, maybe 1977 with Senco brand air tools. The newer stuff (1990 and up) is a little better designed and somewhat more powerful, but not as durable. Some of my staplers are from the 1960s and are still going strong. (the first two numbers of the serial number is the year the tool was made, at least for the older ones). Its going to be tough to beat Senco for long term durability and performance even relatively compared to what's on the market today. Eventually you'll need a whole herd of them for various tasks. Then there's the issue of storage. I keep them up high so I can reach way up and pick out the one I need. I'm not showing my fastener shelves. That's a real mess.

    1 Air Tools - 1.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,218
    I have a red 23 ga. 2" pinner that's been pretty good. That's the only newer Senco I have. My old Senco SN4 had been out of commission for a decade or so. I had been using the lighter framing nailers.

    We built some huge trusses in place, in an 1850 attic (pictures somewhere on the Structural page on my website), and needed to shoot thousands of the longest framing nails I could find. The lighter framing guns were getting hard on wrists. I found an aftermarket seller of firing seals for the SN4 on ebay, and put that gun back to work. It shot thousands of 3-5/8" framing nails without missing a beat, and without beating up wrists. We just had to wait on a 5hp compressor.

    I've told this story before here, but anyway. I was building my second spec house in 1974, on the lake. A nail gun salesman came in on a boat. I thought he was crazy trying to sell nail guns from a boat. It didn't take long to find out that he was a genius. He said all he had to do was go out in the middle of the lake, cut the motor off, and listen for hammers. It was a calm day. Since I put that firing seal in the framer, every one of the five guns I bought then is still usable, but the herd has grown substantially since then.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Camas, Wa
    Posts
    3,551
    I have a Bostitch 1/4" crown stapler, older Porter Cable 18ga and 16ga, Hitachi 15ga, and a no name 23ga. If I were buying today I would stick with Hitachi. My 15ga was a recon and has worked great. The 15ga and the 23ga are used the least. I use the 18ga the most.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Grassy Lake Alberta
    Posts
    729
    So here is my take, The O.P. asked for affordability,value and quality. The nailers that I have used that best meet all three of these criteria are Porter cable BN200 18 gauge .My first one I bought 19 years ago and it drove 100,000 + 1 9/16 pins in the next 6 months on a huge finishing contract in a condo unit. I still have and use that nailer and here is the kicker it has never been rebuilt. there are better ones but this is affordable.

  12. #12
    I have and really like the Grex 23g 2" pinner, Grex 18g finish nailer, Grex 1/4" stapler (1 1/2" I think), and the Senco FinishPro 21LXP. Great nailers all!

    Jack

  13. #13
    I appreciate the feedback and the very insightful replies, each of which broadened my knowledge base and was quite helpful. As often happens, the more I research and learn, the more my initial thoughts broaden then focus and begin to narrow.


    In looking more comprehensively at my present and future needs, as well as the budget situation and the time frame I would like to work in, I am finding myself focusing more toward acquiring several more affordable pneumatic tools with the ability to perform a wide range of activities now, over a single limited and more expensive (albeit higher quality) nailer.


    My focus is somewhat centering on the Freeman Nailer Combo Kit (16ga finish nailer, 18ga brad nailer, 18ga narrow crown stapler, and 23ga pin nailer with bag, fastener assortment, etc.) for $199 - basically $50 per tool.


    https://www.amazon.com/Freeman-Pneum...eywords=p4fncb


    The overall reviews I have found (of the kit and of the individual tools) at a multitude of sites seems to be favorable enough that it should fit my needs, particularly with the price point taken into consideration, and should it become necessary at some time down the road, the budget will hopefully allow for a higher quality and higher $$$ replacement. With my other woodworking wants & needs, this should be a better and more realistic overall fit with my personal needs.


    I still have some research to do, as well as figuring out the various fasteners and such I need to get, but hopefully I can bring the final decision together sometime this evening.


    Thank you for each of the replies.

    P4FNCB.jpg

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Dickinson, Texas
    Posts
    5,998
    Just go to Lowe's or Home depot, pick them up, make up your mind and buy one.

  15. #15
    I have a framing nailer, two flooring staplers (one also drives cleats), a 15 gauge finish nailer, a 16 gauge finish nailer, a 18 gauge brad nailer, two narrow crown nailers, an upholstrey stapler and a 23 gauge pinner. I have a Senco compressor but the nailer brands are Bostitch, Porter Cable, or Harbor Freight except for one flooring stapler (I don't remember the brand of that one). All the recent purchases have been Harbor Freight. They are cheap and work fine. I see no need to pay more. If you have have one close to you, I would go there.

    For woodworking, I almost never use anything other than a 18 gauge brad or a 23 gauge pin. In these projects, glue is really the fastener but sometimes I need something to hold it until the glue sets (and can't clamp it). Maybe staples on the back of a cabinet too. I have the other tools because I've put in some flooring in several houses and also a bunch of trim. For trim work, my main nailer is a cordless 18 gauge pinner. But I also use the 23 gauge pneumatic and occasionally the 15 guage.

    I don't think anybody needs both a 16 gauge and 15 gauge. They do the same thing. I got the 16 first because it was cheaper and now I don't use it. For your situation, I would get a 23 gauge next and maybe a 15 gauge if you find you need it.

    Staples hold a lot better than nails. If you are depending on the fastener, not glue, they have a place. But only on relatively crude things or when they will not be seen.

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