15ga;16ga; 18ga: that is the question

Good morning Mr. Phelps.
FBNCC's not owned a nailer prior to this, and thus far has only used finish nails by hammer, bandaid and set method. He would like to use it for home trim, cabinetry, furniture casework, and case trim.
Fly-by is considering going the full 15 gauge finish nailer route since he has indicated some concern whether the 16 gauge and especially the 18 gauge wire size is up to the task of window, door, wainscotting and other trimming situations.
He has shown some interest in using it for the aforementioned cabinetry and casework, but is then concerned the 15 gauge is too large for that application.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to provide your assistance with respect to FBNCC choosing a new nailer/bradder. Is the 15 too large for cabinet carcasses and case trim work? Is the 18 too small for full size home trim? Is the 16 a compromise that may not addequately address either end of the illustrated spectrum?
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Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
Offering a shim for the Porter-Cable 557 type 2 fence design.
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SNIP

In my experience, and probably not what you want to hear, but you probably need both a 15ga and an 18ga nailer :)
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Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Infinity Router Bits - Incra Wonder Fence - Veritas Jointer Blade Sharpener - Miller Dowel System - Robert Sorby Woodturning Chisels ------------------------------------------------------------
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Just think about putting up a piece of oak trim on a doorway. The outside edge is thicker and needs a heftier nail while the inside edge will often split open with a 15 gauge nail where an 18 gauge would do the job. They make splitters for air hoses so you can use two nailers in relative comfort.
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Owen Lowe asks:

The mission ain't impossible, but...answer to #1 is yes, at least part of the time; answer to #2 is yes, at least most of the time; answer to #3 is yes.
I have both the 15 gauge finish nailer and an 18 gauge bradder. The 2" nails in the bradder are so slender the follow the grain in just about everything except balsa wood. But the 15 gauge leave one helluva pockmark when you're working with cabinetry.
You really do need both if you're doing both types of work. And someone got on me about not having a pinner, so...
Charlie Self
"Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle." Bob Hope
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Did you get one? Impressions if so...
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On Tue, 21 Oct 2003 22:41:55 -0700, Fly-by-Night CC

Start with the 18 guage brad nailer then acquire the 15 guage finish nailer as funds allow. Consider reconditioned versions of brand-name units, although some have had excellent success with inexpensive HF models as well.
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The bad news answer is you kinda need both for the different situations you describe. The good news is that the 18 gage brad nailer only costs $20 from Harbor Freight and (unlike many HF items) gets good reviews. I don't know about low cost finish nailers, but I happen to like my Bostich one purchased on ebay for $25. I admit that I don't make a living with either, probably could have got along real fine with a hammer and probably won't wear out even the HF unit in my lifetime.
Dave Hall
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My first nailer was a PC 15Ga angle nailer. I then got a PC 18Ga nailer. Getteing them in that order worked for me as the first project needing one was a deck I built.
Eventually your going to need at the least 2 finish nailers and possibly a narrow crown stapler. I would start with the Senco FP25XP 18Ga then get a 15Ga like the Senco FP35 or FP41XP angle nailers. See the Senco FP line here http://tinyurl.com/rw9y For narrow crown, something like the SFW10XP, which comes in various flavors - see http://tinyurl.com/rwbn BTW, I'm not affilated with any manufacturer or supplier - I have 2 PC nailers and wish one of them was a FP25XP instead.
Good hunting, Erik

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Thank you everyone. I suspected that the 16 would be a compromise and maybe would be cursed 50% of the time. BTW, it seems, at least in my area, there are a *bunch* of nail & brad refill packs for the 15 and 18 but rather few of the 16's - maybe it's the basatard child of gauge sizes.

This is exactly the pair I'm looking at. The only thing I don't like is the soft foamy grips - can't imagine them holding up over the long haul. Axshuly at one of the dealers, the Senco pegboard display wall had replacement grip pads right next to the tools.
Senco's running a combo deal right now on the 35> get a stapler free. The other combo is a 16 ga. with an 18 free. That one just doesn't make as much sense to me as the first.
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Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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Yea, I'd go with the 35 & stapler combo and then get the FP25XP. Can I assume you have air? If not and you have a Costco anywhere near check out their deal on a DeWalt D55155 compressor http://tinyurl.com/rycr . Costco's price was like $110 under list. Not all Costco's carry the same items.
Good luck
Erik
wrote:

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No problem.
I have a 15-guage, 16-guage, 18-guage and a framing nailer, plus two 1/4" crown staplers.
My recommendation is to plan on purchasing both the 15-gauge and the 18-guage nailers.
The 16-guage is quite useable, but for almost any single operation, either the 15-guage OR the 18-guage is perceptibly better.

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I find that the 15ga tends to blow out on trim whereas the 16ga works nice. Having said that, I have all three, and rarely use them. For furniture I use a hammer and nails - I just like it better (blind nailing is fun).
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Your concern with the 18ga not being up to snuff for door, window, etc trimming is right on target. It works fine for cabinetry and shoe molding. A 15ga is in my sights. Maybe Santa?
I have a PC 18ga and have run many thousands of brads thru it with nary a misfire or jam. I do have 2 complaints with it tho: no depth setting (minor issue) and no lockout when you run out of brads. This last is a big issue as the drive pin still dimples the wood and it appears that a brad has been set. When I'm on a roll it can be a real PITA to back track and find the dry holes so I can reshoot them.
For ply on the backs of casework I use a HF stapler. It hasn't gotten a whole lot of use, but so far I have no complaints other than it also dry fires.
Hope this helps. Art

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Yes, the PC's as well as others will dry fire and it IS A PITA! Thats why I want to get the Senco FP25XP, it locks out when you run out,. It is also oilless, not that I've had any oil staining from my two PC's.
Erik

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If I might ???
You are gonna need more than one.
If you do "house stuff" (molding, window trim, etc.) a 15 guage is needed.
If you do fine molding trim, a brad nailer is in order. That's a nice little hole and short brads.
The 16 guage 2" nailer will be real handy for other things.
I would also plan on a 1/4" crown stapler for cabinet backs.
A round head framing nailer is needed on occasion but a pricey item to have laying around. Get one if you do any framing.
A stapler that shoots longer staples is real handy in MDF and that sort of thing.
One gun ain't gonna do it....
Fly-by-Night CC wrote:

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Fly-by-Night CC wrote:

Owen,
I've used a Hitachi NT65A finish nailer (16 ga.) for everything you've mentioned for the past 15 years and have never had a problem. I also have had an 18 ga. PC 2" brad nailer for about 3 years that works well with the lighter demands. I think your first gun should be a finish nailer because you need the 2-1/2" capacity for your casing & base trims to get them properly anchored. Mine has a range of 3/4" (does 1/4" cabinet backs great) to 2-1/2", which I believe is the same range for most nailers. I've never had a reason/need for anything heavier than the 16 ga. shooting oak, maple, etc. Make sure that you get one that allows for depth adjustment, you may still have to adjust the line pressure though.
HTH, Scott
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something not being said here is depending on the material (especially mdf) and length of fastener, an 18 ga can easily deflect when the length is too long. After successfully nailing myself to a project, 2" brad deflected and came out the side into my thumb while nailing face frame to box, I invested in a 16 ga, 15 ga splits mdf when used on edges. I own all 3.
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