I'm looking at buying an air nailer to install some paint grade baseboard,
shoe, chair rail and panel molding in my house. I would also like to
eventually set up a home shop, so I would like to get something that will
grown with me as well. I've been looking at the Porter-Cable 2" 18ga brad
nailer and their larger 2-1/2" 16ga finish nailer. Will the 2" 18ga brads
have any trouble going through the baseboard into the stud? Do the 2" 18ga
nails have any trouble going through hardwoods? At the same time, am I going
to have any trouble splitting the shoe molding with a 16ga nail? It seems
like the 16ga might be the way to go for future projects, but can you use
the 16ga nails for the same basic application that you would normally use
the 18ga nails for?
FWIW, I use 15 & 18 ga on stuff around the house. 18 ga is best IMHO
for "holding it until the glue dries" (cr Norm Abram), so long as you
use 1" or shorter. Longer brads can really get turned into pretzels.
For trim you want to attach to framing, I'd suggest 15 ga, not only
because of the angle of the nail-pack and the nailer vice that of 16
ga. Like others you may well feel need of both.
Greg M wrote:
I'll second what the first poster said about 15 and 18 gauge. I have a
Senco 15 and 18 gauge nailer.
I'll further say that my 18 gauge nailer has no problem nailing through oak
shoe molding into oak baseboards. And of course the 15 gauge can easily
nail baseboards (oak or pine) into studs. I have the PC compressor. I am
sure your nailers would perform similarly. I would use 18 gauge on shoe
molding rather than 15 or 16. 15 or 16 is better for the baseboards,
crown/chair molding, etc.
Check out the PC combo deal with two of the guns you indicated plus the
pancake compressor. I purchased this setup two years ago to do shoe
moldings. Pretty nice setup and only a couple of misfires on about 700' of
moldings. Only minus is the compressor is way too loud but doesn't come on
too often. Since my purchase PC had another promotion throwing in another
gun for free - sweet deal. I ended up using the 16ga with 2.5" since it
holds the molding tighter to the wall. Most of my molding was soft wood but
I don't anticipate any problems with hardwood, plenty of driving force with
either the 16ga or 18ga guns. I even drive the nails into laminate flooring,
expecting lots of chips because the surface material is 40 times harder than
hardwood - but it was so clean and don't notice the nails if you don't look
What sort of "future projects" you're contemplating is key to the answer
to this question.
I started out with the 18ga BN for a specific project. It worked fine
for that. The next project required a finish nailer and so I bought the
15 ga, angle FN from P-C. In retrospect, I could have gotten by for
BOTH projects with the 15 ga but...
If your future projects include very fine pieces of molding or thin
assemblies, etc. then you might want to go with the 18ga. If not, the
15ga makes more sense to me. If you're not firing right at the edge of
that base/shoe molding neither the 15ga or 18ga should give you any
grief about splitting. That's the nice thing about those pneumatic
nailers - it's over before the wood realizes it's been hit. Doesn't
give it time to split<g>
I certainly do not claim to be and expert but in my opinion an 18 ga nailer,
with longer nails is fine for installing lighter weight base trim and for a
lot of shop applications. If you are hanging heavy base moulding and door
moulding you need to go to a bigger nailer. The bigger wood moves more and
with more force. This will pull or break the 18ga nails.
I have both 16 and an 18 G nailers. The key is length which pretty much
puts you into the 16 G unit for what you want to do. Mostly, I use the 18
for picture frames, glue-ups and smaller tasks. Both will hold trim well,
if anyone says otherwise nail two pieces of plywood together and try to pry
them apart. The 16 G will be more versatile for DIY stuff.
The difference between 15 and 16 G is minor - until you go to pay for the
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