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Beach House
Finish Nail Gun

My husband does a lot of remodeling. As a surprise I would like to buy him a finish nail gun. He has been talking about getting one, but just hasn't done it. Then he complains when working that he needs one. He just finished remodeling the bathroom and plans on starting the bedroom next. He wants to install hardwood floors, crown molding, and a pocket door. What is the best type of finish nail gun to buy for his remodeling projects? I really want to buy a quality product, he deserves it for all the hard work he does. Thanks for your help.

Re: Finish Nail Gun

My first question is....Do you have a sister that is like minded????!!!!:D:D:D

Grex makes a couple good 23 gauge pinners that would be good for the trim and molding work.


A 15 or 16 gauge finish nailer might be better for cabinets and such.


Re: Finish Nail Gun

A finish nail gun is very useful and makes projects go a LOT faster. You are less likely to mar the wood with an errant hammer strike, and you don't need a nail set. The nails are shot in at such a high speed the wood is less likely to split.

I have a Porter Cable 16GA nailer that I like. This one shoots square nails with an oblong head. The nails are available anywhere from 3/4" to 2-1/2" long. There are also brad nailers; I think these shoot smaller nails. Nailers have two general configurations: straight and angled. The angled type are better for getting into tight corners.

For your husband, since he's not using it professionally, you don't need to be as concerned about quality. Just about any "name brand" will do -- Hitachi, Max, Pioneer, Porter Cable, Senco, Stanley are some good brands. If you can find a store that sells just tools, the folks there will be very helpful and knowledgeable. Stay away from Harbor Freight Tools; their products may be cheap but they are poor quality. If you have a Western Tool Supply in your area, the folks there are great. I'm sure there are other very good tool store chains around, too, this just happens to be the one I've dealt with.

If he doesn't have an air compressor, he'll need one to go with the nail gun. Otherwise he'll be pounding the nails in by hand with the back of the gun, and that would just look silly. A hand-carry compressor will do just fine, one with a "hot dog" or "pancake" tank. I don't recommend a tankless compressor, or an oil-free design. Oil-lubed compressors tend to run cooler and last longer.

Quick-connect fittings are an absolute must. Here again, there are two common types, and they aren't interchangeable, UNLESS the coupler on the end of the hose is the universal type. I don't like the coily hoses; they seem to tangle and get in the way. I like a good quality, red-rubber hose. They are always flexible. and don't seem to tangle as badly.

Be aware that hardwood flooring requires a special nailgun designed just for hardwood floors. When he gets to that project, you might be better off renting one, depending on how much flooring you plan to lay down.

I hope some of the other folks on this forum post, too. I'd pay attention to their advice as well. Some of it may conflict; that's fine -- we all have our own preferences based on our own experiences.

Re: Finish Nail Gun

For a DIYer, I don't think you can beat a 15 ga. and an 18 ga. Bostitch oil-free nailer.
Buy the way you do not use a finish nailer to put down hardwood flooring.


Re: Finish Nail Gun

Go down to your local Home Depot/Lowes and look at the Porter-Cable Kit - it contains everything you need in one box; a compressor, 2 or 3 nail guns, a stapler, air hose and all the fittings, plus even a few nails to get you started - it's a great kit and I have given a few of these as gifts over the years and they have held up very well.

Re: Finish Nail Gun

I have had a Porter Cable 15 ga angle finish nailer for many years now and have never had any problems with it. It shoots up to 2-1/2" nail. Also own Porter Cable framing nailer, and brad nailer and also have not had any problems with them. One of the keys to look for though is that the gun has a rubber or plastic tip to keep it from marring the wood. I would assume that most if not all finish guns now do but in the past I have used guns that did not have a rubber tip. Hope this helps you out.


Re: Finish Nail Gun

Don't everyone hate me but I bought one for $19 at Harbour Frieght!! Now I don't recommend this because one thing I have learned about woodworking tools is too always buy the best you can afford, they definitely will last longer and do a better job. When i need a new tool to advaance my abilities, I do alot of research, listen to people who use them, save my money (hate credit cards) and when it goes on sale I AM THERE. I am sure your husband will appreciate what ever you get him. john

Re: Finish Nail Gun
libcarp wrote:

Go down to your local Home Depot/Lowes and look at the Porter-Cable Kit - it contains everything you need in one box; a compressor, 2 or 3 nail guns, a stapler, air hose and all the fittings, plus even a few nails to get you started - it's a great kit and I have given a few of these as gifts over the years and they have held up very well.

I have this same kit, I also think it is a great kit to get you started, as well as an overall money saver. If you bought each of these items individually you would pay considerably more for them. Your husband will appreciate your purchase.

Calcats ;)

Beach House
Re: Finish Nail Gun

Thank you so much for all your input. I decided to go with the Hitachi brand. I could not decide which to get, so I got two. The 15 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer and the Round Head 2 to 3 1/2inch framing nailer. I also got the Hitachi oil free panckae compressor as suggested. I don't understand why you have to buy the hose and accesories separately, they should come with the compressor. Luckily, when you buy on Amazon.com it tells you that people who buy this will usually buy this also. But, in any case, I bought it all for $578.27 and it should be delivered shortly. I think it will make a great present and boy will he be surprised that I knew what I was doing. Now I don't feel guilty about asking him to build me a picnic table. Thanks again. You were a great resource. Beach House

Re: Finish Nail Gun

Don't forget you're going to need male/female quick-connect type fittings for all the nail guns, both ends of the air hose and at the compressor.

I'm not sure I would have went with a framing nailer - it's a pretty heavy-duty nail gun and if you're building walls or doing an addition it will see use, but for general interior trim carpentry an 18ga brad nailer sees about 75% of the action.

Re: Finish Nail Gun

Are 18ga brads enough for door frames , trim , baseboards and the like? I would have thought 15ga finish nailer would be mainly used for those.


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