Author Topic: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?  (Read 2731 times)

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Offline Pnw painter

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What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« on: November 19, 2017, 10:19 AM »
I'm looking for some advice on which gauge finish nailers to buy for interior trim carpentry. I currently own a 18 gauge Ridgid Brad nailer, but I can see a need for a 15 or 16 gauge and a 21 or 23 gauge nail gun in my tool collection.

Since I already own an 18 gauge, My question is 15 vs 16 and 21 vs 23? It seems like there may be some potential overlap or redundancy with the various sizes. So what are some of the pro's and cons of the various sizes? At this point I can justify owning 3 nail guns, but not 5.

Also, are there certain brands or specific models you'd recommend?


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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 10:44 AM »
I have a 15, 18, 21 and 23. Use them all. The 21 can shoot headed and headless pins.

Mine are Grex and Cadex.

Don't forget a 1/4" crown stapler and upholstery stapler.

Tom
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 12:27 PM by tjbnwi »

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 10:54 AM »
While I like 16 ga., I wouldn't be without a 15 ga. nailer.  I have a 23 ga. pinner but don't use it much.
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 11:10 AM »
  23 ,  18, 15 gives a very good coverage. That combo will handle pretty much everything.  Since you have 18 get the 15 next and then 23 or 21. I don't have a 21 but I could see that taking the place of 23ga.  To me 16ga is something that is attempting to cover both 18 and 15 in one nailer but with a bit of compromise in both directions.

    In the last few months I have started using the Bostitch Smart point 18 and 15. I really like them! The features (very narrow nose, rear exhaust, no pressure safety) are worth having.

Seth
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 11:12 AM by SRSemenza »

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 11:25 AM »
I have 16, 18, and 23.  I would have a 15 if I did more door jamb installs.  16 gets used the most, followed by 18 for smaller moldings and then 23 for even smaller moldings either supported by glue or closer to the floor or low risk.

Peter
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Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 12:36 PM »
+1 for the Bostitch Smart point.   
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Offline thudchkr

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 02:31 PM »
I have a 15, 18, 21 and 23. Use them all. The 21 can shoot headed and headless pins.

Mine are Grex and Cadex.

Don't forget a 1/4" crown stapler and upholstery stapler.

Tom

Same here. I do also have a 16 ga, but that one is used the least. I’d recommend the 15 and the 21 ga as the next to obtain. I prefer the 21 as it has more resistance to pullout than the 23, yet the hole left behind is still very inconspicuous. You also have the option of headed or unheaded fasteners. The headed fasteners leave pretty much the same hole as the unheaded.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 02:38 PM by thudchkr »
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Offline Naildrivingman

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 03:14 PM »
I feel the 15ga is best all around size.  The 18 is second with the 23 for really delicate work.

As to mfctr, Hitachi and Airy were my go to, but today’s models have gone cheap.  I can’t help you there.
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Offline live4ever

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2017, 04:33 PM »
+another for Bostitch smart point.  Without stepping into the premium tier of manufacturers (Grex, Cadex, some Senco, Omer), the Bostitch is a really nice gun.  Great warranty too. 

15, 18, 21 if I had to choose three gauges.  15 for door jambs, but I prefer 16 angled for larger moldings and exterior trim.  Smaller/more maneuverable gun but adequate nail size.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 04:38 PM by live4ever »
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Offline Master Carpenter

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2017, 04:49 PM »
I'm another 15,18,23 person. The 15 for heavy trim and installing hollow core doors. The 18 covers pretty much all interior moulding. The headless 23 for those times I need "invisible" nails. If the right deal came up on a 21, I'd probably add it but I think it overlaps with the 23 quite a bit. anything I'd use a 16 for is better done with a 15, IMHO.

As for brands, I've run through most of the popular ones, I usually get about a year of heavy use before I have to retire them. My latest 18 is an Omer, it seems to have great build quality except the plastic tip always falls off. My 23 is a Cadex, another great tool, much better than the one it replaced. As it's my job, I've learned to pay the premium 💵 and get the best. No time for downtime.
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Offline Vondawg

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2017, 06:05 PM »
I’m in the same 15-18+23 camp with the other 23 a headless for those times when you can and have no noticeable hole
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Offline rizzoa13

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2017, 07:15 PM »
18 and 23guage painless for me. Doors get installed by taking off the stops and screwing. Let’s you gap the stops 1/16th of an inch or so for the doors to grow when painted.

I know some pretty high end finish guys that shoot tons of 15 and 16g nails and have the painters fix it. To me that’s just asinine. If you need the holding power of a 15 or 16g in trim then you’ve got some seriously wonky walls and should address them before trying to nail trim to it.

Offline Naildrivingman

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2017, 07:41 PM »
18 and 23guage painless for me. Doors get installed by taking off the stops and screwing. Let’s you gap the stops 1/16th of an inch or so for the doors to grow when painted.

I know some pretty high end finish guys that shoot tons of 15 and 16g nails and have the painters fix it. To me that’s just asinine. If you need the holding power of a 15 or 16g in trim then you’ve got some seriously wonky walls and should address them before trying to nail trim to it.
I absolutely agree in perfect world situations.

Generally I select the smallest and shortest fasteners to achieve the results I desire. Most of the trim I install is 3/4” thick and when applied over a minimum of 1/2” drywall, I use a fastener that will give me a 1” minimum purchase in the underlying framing.  Hence I need a minimum fastener of 2 1/4” long, so I rely on 2 1/2” 15ga.  To my knowledge that rules out most if not all 18ga fasteners.  Of course this is just one man’s opinion.  Generally I will use 18ga from trim to jamb applications. Finally, I am a nailing minimalist in that I would rather use larger diameter fasteners and fewer of them than smaller diameter and more.
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Offline Pnw painter

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2017, 12:57 AM »
Thanks for everyone's advice. Looks like I'll be in the market for a 15 and 23 nailer.


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Offline JimD

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2017, 09:11 PM »
I do this as a hobby but have nearly completely re-trimmed our current house and finished the basement in the last one.  I use my Ryobi cordless 18 gauge almost all the time.  It is just handier than pneumatics.  But I need my Bostitch 23 gauge nailer for little returns and my HF 15 gauge for window sills, flooring along the edges and other cases where the 18 gauge won't hold or is iffy.  I don't know how they would hold up for professionals but I find HF nailers to be surprisingly good for the money. 

I have a 16 gauge bostitch but it sits since I got the 15 gauge HF.  I also have a Porter Cable 18 gauge pneumatic but it sits due to the Ryobi.  I also have HF staplers. 

Offline Bert Vanderveen

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #15 on: November 21, 2017, 06:59 AM »
I think that Rick C's advice is still valid. To be found here:
http://www.waterfront-woods.com
(Check ' Pneumatic Nailers' in sidebar -- this is an oldskool handcoded site...)
Cheers, Bert Vanderveen

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Offline sheperd80

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2017, 09:03 AM »
Another vote for 15, 18, 23 (and a 1/4" crown stapler once in awhile). I do all manner of finish carpentry, custom woodwork and cabinetmaking and its all i ever need. Imho 16g is kind of obsolete. Not that they arent useful if youve already got one, but if youre starting fresh i see no reason to buy one when 15 gives you more strength in about the same hole size. 18g with 2" pins is my go-to 90% of the time. 15g for extra large hardwood mouldings, hanging doors and large scale custom stuff.

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Offline sheperd80

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2017, 09:06 AM »
My coworker has that ryobi nailer and while it can be unreliable, its very handy. So i went out and bought the $300 milwaukee and was sorely dissapointed. What a piece of junk (and i love milwaukee almost as much as festool). Returned it 2 days later.

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Offline ben_r_

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2017, 02:15 PM »
Havent had a need for anything more than my Omer 18ga here.
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Offline DB10

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2017, 08:38 PM »
My coworker has that ryobi nailer and while it can be unreliable, its very handy. So i went out and bought the $300 milwaukee and was sorely dissapointed. What a piece of junk (and i love milwaukee almost as much as festool). Returned it 2 days later.

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@sheperd80     I also had the Ryobi as it was the only cordless 18g nailer you could buy down here 3 years ago. It was ok for small jobs but when used in a production environment it became very unreliable, I spent far too much time clearing jams and misfires. It just couldn't keep up with any work flow. As it was the only Ryobi tool I had I was happy to let it go.

 So six months ago I imported the Dewalt 18g nailer from NA. As it was not available down here, It's like night and day compared to the Ryobi, in six months of shooting every size nail I can honestly say I haven't had one jam or misfire. Dewalt took a lot of time testing this nailer before releasing it and this has really paid off. I've now got three Dewalt cordless nailers including the 16g and framer. I can highly recommend Dewalt for anyone  looking for a cordless range for nailers.

Offline jobsworth

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2017, 09:55 PM »
15ga, 18ga and 21ga, yes as Thom said a 1/4 crown stapler is nice to have to
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline sheperd80

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2017, 11:42 PM »
Good to hear dewalt got it right. Im one who doesnt want multiple brands of batteries and im deeeep into milwaukee so im gonna have to wait until they redesign theirs. It has alot of potential. Love how theres no wind-up like the ryobi, u can fire almost as fast as pneumatic. But it didnt consistently set nails all the way in.

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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2017, 08:33 PM »
What ever you choose, please don't do this.

(Stoled the picture from a FB group I'm a member of)

Tom

Offline rst

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2017, 08:41 PM »
termites??

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2017, 09:20 PM »
termites??

Of the human kind..

Tom

Offline Naildrivingman

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2017, 09:52 PM »
Nothing wrong with that...one need that many nails to hold a box store jamb together.   [wink]
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Offline SRSemenza

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2017, 12:24 AM »
What ever you choose, please don't do this.

(Stoled the picture from a FB group I'm a member of)

Tom

   I like the ones right at the hinge mortise  edge ..............  perfect  [blink]


Seth

Offline pettyconstruction

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2017, 10:51 AM »
15g ,18g and 23g plus 1/4 stapler.
18g for everything but doors. The 23 sits a lot but is nice when needed. CA glue and Collins clamps do most of the smaller jobs.

In my opinion, 18g should be the one if you only get one tool.1-1/2 and 2" will handle most projects.
Charlie


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Offline jobsworth

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2017, 11:22 AM »
What ever you choose, please don't do this.

(Stoled the picture from a FB group I'm a member of)

Tom

Hey whatcha do sneak into my house and took a photo of my best work before I could post it in the Projects folder????
Loving the Calif sun....

Offline jobsworth

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Re: What gauge nail guns do you recommend for finish carpentry?
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2017, 11:27 AM »
By yer handle Im assuming yer a painter. I just picked up a Senco 15 ga composite nail gun. It shoots composit nails only. They do make a 18 ga one as well. The composite nails are pricey, but they have great holding strength and they are sandable and stainable.

Not for everyone as I said both the gun ($250) and the nails (roughly $40 per box of 1000) arent cheap but in your case might be worth it.
Loving the Calif sun....