All About Power Nailers and Staplers

Some nailers can drive nails into concrete or steel; others are suitable only for wood. Larger nailers are best for heavy-duty carpentry such as framing. Smaller nailers are good for decorative carpentry such as crown molding.
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Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Pheumatic Air Nailer

Pheumatic tools use compressed air to drive the fastener into position. Some compressors can only use one tool at a time, while bigger models can accommodate two or three tools. The nails for pheumatic nailers are more expensive than traditional nails because they come in strips that feed into the nailer's rail assembly. To operate, position the nailer tip at the required point before pulling the trigger to fire the nail.

Pheumatic Air Stapler

Staplers can be used for many tasks, such as securing sheets of hardboard for a subfloor or installing lightweight building boards. Air staplers are more lightweight than the air nailer, but it operates in much the same way. Position the tip and then pull the trigger to fire the staple.

Choosing an Air Compressor

Pneumatic tools use compressed air to drive the nail or staple. Some compressors can only use one tool at a time, whereas larger ones can run two or three tools. The most versatile compressors have tanks that store up compressed air, producing a ready supply to keep your tools running. When selecting a compressor, don’t choose one that greatly exceeds your DIY tool needs. Light, easily portable compressors can often do the job of their heavier counterparts. But as weight does determine the size of the air tank, you will not be able to run as many tools off a lightweight compressor.

Cordless Construction Nailer

Cordless nailers are more portable than air nailers since they require no connection to a compressor. It requires both a battery and a gas cell. Despite its power, it is relatively lightweight. A metering valve attached to the top of the gas cell controls the amount of gas that is released for combustion.

Finish Nailer

This smaller version of the cordless nailer, it works in the same way as the construction nailer, but is more suited to decorative carpentry work such as molding and furniture making.

Powering a Cordless Nailer

To power a cordless nailer, a battery and gas cell are needed. The gas can for the construction nailer (left) is usually larger than the gas can for the finish nailer (second from left). A battery and battery charger (both on the right) come with the nailer.

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