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Thread: Narrow crown staples or 15ga finish nails for pergola slats

  1. #1

    Narrow crown staples or 15ga finish nails for pergola slats

    Hi all,

    I'm installing a pergola made from cedar and will be installing 3/4" thick slats on top of the rafters. I'm debating on whether I should purchase a narrow crown stapler to staple them up with 1/4" x 1 1/2" staples, or use my 15ga finish nailer and put two 2" nails in at opposing angles. Since it's cedar I will be using stainless steel fasteners regardless of stapler or nailer. I could use screws, but they are more expensive than staples or nails and would also take longer to install. Will staples be stonger than the finish nails? If so, would it justify the $99 staple gun? I'm open to all thoughts and suggestions.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,764
    I would use stainless 1/2" crown 2" (or even 2-1/2", but they require a bigger gun) staples. These, of course, require a different gun than the narrow crown one. The staples are much stronger than finish nails. I like Senco brand staples the best, because of the glue on the legs that heats up on the way in. Any other stainless staples that I've tried (I use them for installing wooden shingles) don't hold as well as the Senco ones, and some brands don't even pretend to have glue on the legs.

    I modify (shorten) the driver in the gun so that the staple crown doesn't penetrate the wood, but does set almost flush.

  3. #3
    Hi John,

    My suggestion is to invest in a stapler and use the 1-1/2 stainless staples you mentioned.

    I have used narrow crown staples for a long time and think they have their place. The holding power is fantastic although I haven't tested staple vs opposing nails.

    You will like shooting half the amount of fasteners on this job for sure.

    I think you'll find a lot of uses for the stapler if you invest in one. I run old Senco guns - They never jam and never break.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  4. #4
    Thanks for the feedback guys! I went ahead and purchased the Ridgid 18ga narrow crown stapler as it was 1/2 the cost of any of the medium crown staplers. After some initial testing in the shop, a single 1.5" staple provides far more grip in the wood than two 2" 15ga nails at opposing angles. The nails pull through the wood easily as the head is too small, but with the crown of the staple pulling down on the wood it provides superior holding power. I will probably still put 2 staples in each rafter for peace of mind. I found that using 4 nails is about as strong as 2 staples, but who wants to drive 4 nails into each joint?

    Thanks again for the advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    Kamiah, ID
    Posts
    280
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    I would use stainless 1/2" crown 2" (or even 2-1/2", but they require a bigger gun) staples. These, of course, require a different gun than the narrow crown one. The staples are much stronger than finish nails. I like Senco brand staples the best, because of the glue on the legs that heats up on the way in. Any other stainless staples that I've tried (I use them for installing wooden shingles) don't hold as well as the Senco ones, and some brands don't even pretend to have glue on the legs.

    I modify (shorten) the driver in the gun so that the staple crown doesn't penetrate the wood, but does set almost flush.
    What Tom said! I also had a Senco stapler that I modified the driver on for the same reason. When it got stolen I upgraded to one with an adjustable drive depth.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    Posts
    3,764
    I'm still running a Senco MII, that I bought new in 1974, and bought an old MIII to shoot 2-1/2" staples a few years ago. Both needed a few parts, but they're easy to work on. These are both too old to have anything adjustable on them, but I just ground down the end of the driver to be like I wanted it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    4,649
    Tom, the Senco red top 1/2" would be the modern equivalent, have one, has never failed and I agree that it is the better solution if you do not want to use screws. Renting one may be an option as they are not cheap.

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