When you hire a carpentry sub-contractor, typically they will bring their own commercial grade tools to the job site. Still, there are a lot of varieties within the tools. In another article, we explored the different kinds of hammers you may see on a job site. Now let’s look at some of the nail guns you may encounter on your site and discuss the differences.
Why Nail Guns?
Simply put, the nail guns are efficient. This is probably the biggest reason the nail gun is selected for a job. Once the nail gun is loaded, you just place the tip of the nail where you want it, compress the gun against it and pull the trigger. Repeat. It can make a job that involves a lot of nailing fast and less physically taxing.
Besides efficiency, nail guns are often more precise and protect the wood. Swinging a hammer can result in the occasional miss that mars the surface of the wood. When doing work like baseboards or something where the appearance will matter, that can be an important factor. There is no swinging and missing with the nail gun.
Sources of Power
On a site, the two most popular power sources for nail guns are pneumatic and electric. Pneumatic nail guns use compressed air to drive the nail. These nail guns tend to be lighter and often more powerful, but they require an air compressor and have to be connected to an air hose all the time. Depending on the location of the work, that can be problematic.
Electric nail guns can be either corded or cordless, with cordless being the most popular. The drawbacks to them are that they are usually heavier than pneumatic guns and don’t have quite as much power.
A third type is fuel powered. These use a combination of a fuel cell and a battery to create the force needed to drive the nail. While they are powerful and mobile, they’re becoming less popular as the cordless models advance in power and battery life.
On occasion, you will find nail guns powered by blank cartridges. There are powerful and still useful, but they’ve fallen out of favor with many carpentry contractors because the other fuel sources have improved. These may still be found in certain circumstances.
Framing Nail Gun
Framing nail guns are the biggest and most powerful types of nail guns. These can drive nails up to 3.5 inches in length and are favorites for connecting large pieces of lumber. As the name implies, it is popular for framing work, as well as other things like building fences or decks. These are very common sights during the rough construction phase.
At almost the other end of the spectrum is the brad nailer. This type uses small 18 gauge nails to attach things like baseboards and trim. These fine nails are ideal because they are practically invisible once they’re in. However, they’re very difficult to drive with a hammer. They bend easily or are easy to miss, leading to the surface getting marred. With the hundreds, even thousands, of these tiny nails used in many projects, a brad nailer is almost a must-have for a carpentry sub-contractor.
The finish nailer is the bigger brother of the brad nailer. It uses a 15 or 16-gauge nail instead of the 18. This is more commonly used on heavy trim or crown molding that requires more holding power. Because this uses a larger nail, the resulting hole is larger, so care is needed to be as neat as possible.
Palm Nail Gun
This nail gun looks different than the others and is a little more specialized. Instead of the straight handle that you see on the others, the palm nail gun is rounded and fits in your palm. These are mostly used when trying to drive nails in tight spaces and corners where the bigger ones simply won’t fit. The biggest drawback is that the palm nailer has no type of feed. Each nail must be loaded individually, making it slower than the others. However, when it comes to tight spaces, the palm nail gun can do what the others can’t.
These are just a few of the nail guns you may see your carpentry sub-contractor use. Other trades, such as flooring or carpet installers, have nail guns specific to their uses.
Regardless of the equipment needed, you can be assured that our workers will arrive on time and properly equipped. We work safe and smart. Waldron Carpentry does wood rough carpentry, exterior trim, and siding, wood framing, custom roof trusses, and finish carpentry. If you are a general contractor and you need a commercial carpentry contractor you can rely on, we would love to hear about your project. Contact us at our website or call us at (239) 707-1770. We look forward to building a relationship with you.