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  • Second fix nail guns and compressors – what’s good?
  • chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    Hello STW air tool experts!

    I’m needing some nail guns for firing 18 gauge 15mm brad nails. Could also do with some staple guns for Type 53 staples.

    Historically we’ve used mechanical guns for years but the quality of the guns has dropped and now they’re misfiring and breaking very prematurely. Tried a mains electric one which worked well – until it died after a month…

    Just want stuff that works reliably. Doesn’t need to be super powerful – which is why the hand-powered guns worked fine. Quieter the better, both the guns and compressor – it’s already noisy enough here! Will pay more if it’s worth it! Depth adjustment is key so the plywood isn’t battered by the hammer pushing the nails in too far.

    The compressor will probably be running 6 hours a day, 5 days a week so needs to be durable and serviceable (we use numatic hoovers and replace the brushes and motors on a regular basis). There’s a fair chance there’ll often be 3-4 guns in use at once off the compressor.

    Thanks!

    alpin
    Free Member

    Used to use Paslode nailers for 1sy and 2nd fix. Battery and had cartridge. Having to stick a cold gas cartridge down your trousers in the morning was always a highlight of the day.

    Hot myself a Dewalt 18v jobbie that worked well. Sold it when I left the UK.

    Makita have their version of straight Brad nailer. It’s not bad, but it is a straight Brad, not angled. Depends on your usage.

    Now mostly use a Prebena air nailer with mini compressor. Prebena are pretty consistent.

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Air nail gun will be really quiet in use, but a basic compressor wont be, they’re really loud when they charge up.

    finishthat
    Full Member

    Nailers do not need much air , but to save on ear damage you still need ear plugs and most important eye protection , safety glasses , a silent industrial compressor – Bambi are good , and
    guns will need a good supplier/advice/spares , the older guns were good – I have a really nice DeWalt but so many have gone over to electric cordless that seeing what a decent industrial supplier advises is worth it.
    Foe hobby use even Silverline at the bottom end of the market are pretty good, otherwise s/h pro stuff works well.

    singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Nailers do not need much air

    As someone who spent 15 years as a service engineer for a multinational nail gun company I’d tend to disagree with that.
    Specially when running multiple guns at the same time.

    OP
    I’d get a few reps in from some of the big companies to advise and give you a quote to supply tools and fixings.

    Try BeA, Stanley Bostitch or Kyocera Senco.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Quieter the better, both the guns and compressor

    Although nailers aren’t huge comtinuous air consumers it might be wise to go for a bigger compressor. Even if its quiet, the smaller the compressor the more often it’ll be running. If the work is stationary rather than having to move around a site then a bigger compressor (can still be a pretty quiet one) and maybe and auxuliary tank can live in another room or a sound proofed enclosure and also run intermittently

    However – in a work place context be aware of HSE regulations around compressed air. Pressure vessels need to have a schedule of testing – an sort of equivalent of PAT testing. But…. while the legislation has been introduced the industry hasn’t really stepped forward to provide the service and where it exists, if service providers can be persuaded to state a price  it can be quite expensive. In the context of my work theres hardly any difference in price between buying a compressor and getting one tested as the companies the do offer the service are geared towards large scale installations – so just turning up cost as much as I’d pay for a machine. So to date I’ve been buying compressors – using them until they’d be scheduled for a test – and then giving them away and buying another.

    If you’re going to spend good money on something talk to the supplier about back-up for testing.

    ctk
    Full Member

    Hire and try?

    db
    Full Member

    If noise is important could you locate the compressor outside or away from the main working area?

    I think if you are going from manual guns to air installation it will be a significant investment but maybe worth it in the long run.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    Thanks for the HSE pressurised air warning!

    Would mains electric nail guns be a better idea? The cheap Tacwise ones we had were great until they died – one lasted a week, the other a month!

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Would mains electric nail guns be a better idea?

    The mains ones I’ve come across tend to be quite budget-end of the market. Maybe not ace for larger duty cycles.

    At a trade (rather than industrial) price point battery nailers are the battle ground and therefore the better value. Its where the development is happening and where companies are competing on price. You’ll see really quite different form factors as theres really quite different technology going on inside them. I think dewalt have got a patent that is basically the smartest way to do it and everyone is having to engineer relatively baroque solutions that get around it.

    Dewalt’s flywheel based system works great for first fix and 16g second fix guns – probably a bit too big and bulky when you you get down to 18g work – fine for working against the wall fitting trim quite an effort to reach over a bench with them becueat of where the weight of the mechanism is. On their plus size theyre mechanically very simple  – basically a spinning drum and an elastic band – and cheaply serviceable on the rare occasions they get borked.

    For 18 gauge Makita make a couple of 18g model that are pretty light and compact compared to the relatively cumbersome 16ga options. I don’t know whats inside it but it sounds like laser beams.  I’ve got the Makita DFN350Z which has the smaller magazine for shorter brads from 35mm down  (already have the 16ga dewalt for anything longer – but the shortest brads for the dewalt are still quire long at 32mm) and its pretty good – compact – anything with a battery is going to be heavy on paper compared to air / mains, but its well balanced and that makes it less fatiguing to use than an air nailer where all the weight is all at one end. You get tonnes of use, potentially days,  out of a charge compared to charge time so no need for more than two batteres per gun – if you’ve a few people working with them you could probably have 3 batteries between two.

    They also do a range of staplers – although I found from the literature it was quite difficult to glean what size of staple theyre for

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    The cheap Tacwise ones we had were great until they died – one lasted a week, the other a month!

    I think the problem with 18g is the brads are really quite fragile – unless the guns are well made and made of really quite reslilient material the brads are prone to misfiring and jamming up and wrecking the firing mechism.

    Might be worth a bit of research as to whether 16g brads can be supplied short enough for your work – straight rather than angled brads tend to be sold in shorter lengths, but being that little bit tougher they’re less prone to getting mangled.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    Just been looking at 16 gauge brads but I think they’re too long and chunky – we build high-end lightweight speaker cabs with 9mm ply, complex joints and bracing so smaller pins are better. We’ll still have to use the small manual guns in some places because bigger tools won’t fit.

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    Might be worth looking at 23g headless pinners for that application too then. Tend to be more popular in the states (we tend to do 16 and 18ga they seem to do 15 and 23ga) but 23ga is becoming more available here and the point of them is theyre a pretty invisible fix.

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Vane compressors are generally more reliable than upy downy piston. I know nothing about the regulations as posted ^^ so it might not be viable to go with the expenses of a Vane compressor if following the model above. Another point with air tools is that filters / water traps / dryers / oilers (where necessary) / drop legs etc are all important and help with tool / pneumatic operations.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    Just done some hunting to see the 23 gauge pins vs the 18 gauge brad nails – I think that’s a step too far downwards in terms of holding power. With our bigger cabs we’re sometimes fighting against a curve in the ply and the nail needs to hold the joint as tight as possible whilst the glue sets (which in the winter can take until the next day). They don’t need to be invisible because the cabs are either covered with tolex or textured paint.

    woodlikesbikes
    Free Member

    Milwaukee do a some good second fix and pin nailers. The pin nailer is hard to get hold of though.

    I cannot imagine ever going back to a compressor and air nailer.

    kimura54321
    Free Member

    I have a battery powered 16ga second fix and a corded electric 18ga Brad/divergent stapler that I got for fixing a couple of rooms worth of hardboard for vinyl flooring which it did effortlessly.

    I would heartily recommend the Dewalt flywheel based guns, they are really well designed in terms of angles and depth adjustment, but quite bulky.

    Our local flooring place recommended the Maestri range, as “pro level corded” but a bit old fashioned and not cheap. Super compact and powerful though, but no depth adjustment so less finesse.

    Maestri ME30 Professional Electric Brad Nail Gun / Bradder

    dyna-ti
    Full Member

    Maestri ME30 Professional Electric Brad Nail Gun / Bradder

    Would be my choice.

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