Finish Nail Gun: 16 vs 15 Gauge

I would like to purchase my first nail gun and don't know whether to get a 15 or 16 gauge finish gun. I am renovating all the window trim installing crown moulding in a 1920's house (yellow pine moulding, plaster and lathe walls) and will be building bookcases, cabinets, etc. Porter-Cable has a very attractive combo kit that includes a 16 gauge but I don't want to save a few dollars and then realize I made a mistake. When do you need a 15 gauge vs the 16 gauge?
Archer Gravely Asheville, NC snipped-for-privacy@unca.edu
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I have never used a 15 guage nailer, that said I do have a 16 guage nailer and find it very adaquate for doing trim work. Greg
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This is becoming a common question on this NG.
I have a 15 gauge, a 16 gauge and an 18 gauge nailer. (Home Use, only)
My suggestion is to get the 15 gauge and plan on getting the 18 gauge, later. It's not the 16 gauge won't work, it's just that that for specific applications, the 15 gauge works just a bit better, while, at other times, the 18 gauge is preferred.
Your mileage may vary. James... You might as well plan on a 1/4" crown stapler, too. In fact, for someone just starting out, I'd recommend a 15 guage finish nailer and the crown stapler, first!
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I'd recomend the 1/4" crown stapler first! I bought one cause it was $25 and I had the money to blow. Tried it at a fiends house and immediately bought a compressor, 6-7 other air tools and now own around 20!! You will LOVE it!!
On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 08:50:34 -0600, "J&KCopeland"

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A 15-G angle finishing nailer was my choice over a 16-G tool. (The angled magazine makes it far handier to get nails punched into tight corners and the slightly heftier nail simply holds better.) I suppose that someday (probably long) after I get a framing nailer to use on the planned shed/shop out back, I might find some reason to splurge on a 16-G nailer just for the heck of it.
I also agree that a 1/4-inch crown stapler can be handy (if you get one that will drive staplers at least longer than an inch) as well as the 18-G brad nailer (again if you get one that will drive long brads).
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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I agree, a 15g angle finishing nailer for trim work and even fence building (not the structural frame), an 18g brad (get the 2" min. capacity one) nailer for decorative work. I bought a 1/4" crown stapler for some plywood backs but have found its superb holding power (where appearance does not matter) is so usefull for so many jobs. Be sure to get the one that will take long staples, it gives it more useability. I find the stapler is the one I reach for for hidden nailing, all thin plywoods, hardboards and thin woods where brads would just slip through the wood.

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Check out the stores around you for price and availability/selection of 15g & 16g finish nails for one, then go from there.
Archer Gravely wrote:

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You will find that the 16 gauge gun is usually a straight nailer and it is a little cheaper to purchase and the nails are also cheaper. The 15 gauge is generally an angle nailer. The nailer and nails are generally a little more expensive. The angle nailer will get into tighter places easier than a straight nailer. Also, I have found the 16 ga. follows the grain more than the 15 ga. nailer which means that the nail will exit the wood to the side more than the 15 ga. The 15 ga. leaves a larger hole. However, it is generally a round head as opposed to the "T" head of the 16 gauge. That means it tends to hide itself better.
What would I buy. BTW, I have 15 ga. and 16 ga. nailer, 18 ga. brad nailer, 23 ga. pin nailer, 1/4" narrow crown stapler and framing nailer. They all serve a purpose for me. For a person just now purchasing a nailer for cabinets and finer woodworking, I would purchase them in the following order. 15 ga. angle trim nailer, 18 ga. brad nailer, 1/4" narrow crown stapler and 23 ga. pin nailer.
Preston
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