Author Topic: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.  (Read 16919 times)

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Offline Mike Chrest

  • Posts: 386
  • N.W. New York State
Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« on: November 16, 2008, 11:59 AM »
I have been reading the reviews, tool chat lines, etc. and I am drifting towards getting a 23 gauge pin nailer. So far the contest seems to be between the Cadex and Grexs.

If anyone has any hands on experience with these guns I would love to hear it. Or info on a different brand?

The question for me is what do you use the thing for? How much does it get used? What pin length gun? I know about trim returns and outside corners. What else?
« Last Edit: November 16, 2008, 12:43 PM by Mike Chrest »

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Offline extiger

  • Posts: 254
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2008, 12:14 PM »
So you don't have to walk around with a mouth full of tacks!  Just kidding.

I use my cheepo, Harbor Freight pin nailers to temporarily fix two pieces of wood, usually for gluing. No clamps needed. Afterwards, you can barely see the pin hole, which in any case is easily hidden with a small dab of wood putty.

If you'll watch some of the segments of either This Old House, or the New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram, you'll see him with a pin nailer in hand or nearby on a workbench in many of the shots.

Caution. What I saw it pretty rudimentary because I'm relatively new to woodworking. But in my friend's pro cabinetmaking shop near Beverly Hills, they are slamming those little pins into wood all dy long, it seems.

Gary Curtis

Offline wnagle

  • Posts: 502
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2008, 12:27 PM »

I have a porter cable,  not nearly as nice as grex or cadex.  I'd see if you can try them at the store and see which one leaves the least mark on the wood around the pin.  I've seen a review on them but don't remember which faired better.  Or, a better Idea, buy both of them and send me the one you like the least...Since they are both top of the line... hey, I'd even spring for the shipping... just to help you out of course... nice guy that I am...  :)


TS 55, CT 33 x2, ROTEX 150, RO 90, DOMINO 500Q SET, TRION PS 300, OF 1400, MFT/3, ETS 150/3, KAPEX KS 120, DOMINO XL.

Offline Mike Chrest

  • Posts: 386
  • N.W. New York State
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2008, 12:42 PM »
Sure Wayne, I'll drop it in the mail shortly ;D.

Offline UCLA Fan

  • Posts: 37
  • huh?
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2008, 12:45 PM »
Hi Mike,

I have the Grex 635 1 3/8 nailer - I love this thing ;D. Excellent fit and finish. Feels great in the hand, plenty of power (can sink the pin in hard maple), only one jam in 3 years.

The great part about a pinner is you can use it too "clamp" a piece while the glue dry's. In addition to "trim returns and outside corners" you can use it to install small crown or baseboard if you "cross nail" and use construction adhesive. I also use mine when building furniture. Great for nailing/gluing in various pieces. It is a specialized tool but seems to come in handy on just about every job at some point. In terms of brands the Cadex and Grex have been highly rated for a long time now both are excellent guns. The Porter Cable and Bostitch are both pretty good as well. They are both substantially cheaper but the build quality is a notch down.

NOW for the down sides... Pins tend to follow the grain and can "blow out" the side at any moment. In fact, the pinner is far more likely to injury you then any other nailer. Now when they do blow out they are next too impossible to remove. When you try to pull or leverage them from the hole they break! So you have to try to snip them next to the surface. They are so thin that you can not use a nail-set to drive them below surface. Therefore I always do a few test shots to set my psi and check the grain of my wood. Additionally, without glue they will not provide any structural hold what so ever. As I said they hold great while the glue drys and can hold some trim pieces but no real strength on their own.

I know it is tempting to go for one of the super long pinners with a 2 inch nailing depth BUT be careful unless you are nailing a non-grain substrate (mdf,mdo,pvc etc...) pins over 1 1/2 are of little value due to grain travel and blowout. For most applications a 1 3/16 pinner is plenty and cheap too example:

In summary, I like pinners ALOT but they can be a real pain in the butt. If you install trim get one for sure. If you want a great "clamp" go for it as well. If you are expecting to replace your brad (18 gauge) nailer FORGET ABOUT IT!

Good luck and BE careful to not hold your hand near any potential point of blowout!

"Mark...DON"T measure"

Offline Steve Baumgartner

  • Posts: 98
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2008, 01:08 PM »
I've got the Porter-Cable.  I agree with the others that PC's quality probably isn't up to Grex or Cadex, but it does the job.  I've had no malfunctions or issues other than occasionally it leaves a pin very slightly proud of the surface in very hard wood. 

I use it mainly for trim molding and for tacking a small piece in place so that it doesn't squirm around on the glue while I get clamps on.  Excellent for attaching a retainer bead to hold glass into an opening.  The holes are so small that I don't even bother to fill them except on highly visible places, and then a tiny dab of filler is all it takes.

I don't see the point in very long pins.  If you have something so thick that you need a 2 inch nail to go through it, you ought to be using a larger gauge in the first place.  Pins are surprisingly strong for their size, but really won't take any load.  And, as previously noted, long pins greatly increase the risk of following the grain and blowing out the side.

Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 4184
    • Warner Mill Works
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2008, 01:31 PM »
I have the p650 Grex, it shoots from 3/8"  to 2".  YOu might as well get that, you never know when you could use a 2" pin.  I will strart replacing all my old air guns with Grex's as they start diying.

Offline Mike Chrest

  • Posts: 386
  • N.W. New York State
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2008, 01:55 PM »
Warner Co,
  No problems with the long pins blowing out the side?

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1857
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008, 02:56 PM »
I'm also a GREX user.Great gun.I use it to nail scribe molding,small trim,outside corners on crown moulding etc...     I only use 3/4" nails,i don't have a use for anything longer.
GREX or CADEX?      I never use the CADEX,but i think it is just as good as the GREX(or maybe better?)
I have also used the SENCO and the PC and those guns are the reason why it took me a long time to get a 23g. nail gun.
I don't recall witch one ,but one of them has a "pointy" nose and you need to put enough pressure against the surface so that it would sink the nail properly.
When you done,there is a dent on the surface that looks like a 18g. nail. ??? ??? ???
As for the other,i found that if you don't have the proper psi from the compressor,you are SOL!!!   
Maybe those guns have been improved since,but the GREX gun is what i see on all jobsite.
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Jim Kirkpatrick

  • Posts: 1227
    • My Instagram
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2008, 03:01 PM »
I have the Grex that shoots up to 1 3/4".  Can't say enough about it.  Sure you have to watch for more that any other brad or finish nailer.  It leaves such a tiny hole, if you are painting over it, you needn't bother with filler.    Great for tacking molding as attached.

Offline Overtime

  • Posts: 265
  • Eastern Iowa USA
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2008, 07:20 PM »
 Grex P635 also...
  For all the above uses & reasons and good for jig and pattern making too. Use with glue, pins act as clamps.
Very rare that I needed the long pins.  Quality tool.

Also rare is splitting of your work piece. But I did manage to split some brittle 1/8th" thick ebony trim with a pin.
The P635 is a good value amongst the high dollar pinsters. And this company will supplement your purchase with a variety (starter) pack of pins  ;D

Offline MarkF

  • Posts: 272
  • Concord, NC
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2008, 10:24 PM »
15% off through 12/1 on Grex:

A little dab of spit in the dent and it vanishes.  1 3/8" is all you really need if you're doing trim.  The warning about blowout is real.  I had a 2" pin blow out the side of a board and shot my left forefinger at the Greensboro, NC WW'ing show a few years back.  Also get an "Extractor" tool for pulling brads and pins.  It works so much better than anything else I've used.

Offline MicroZer

  • Posts: 1
Re: Tell Me Why I Should Get a Pin Nailer.
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2009, 02:36 AM »
       I got the information that I really need in this discussion.,

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