C) If can locally, find a better quality nail (really, really hard any
more w/ most everything being Chinese or even worse imports)
I've supplies from 50-lb boxes or even kegs of virtually everything I
use routinely that date from 30 to 50 years ago and the comparison to
present stuff is night and day...much better steel and better-formed
heads, points are actually well-formed, etc., etc., etc., ...
You can also try holding the nail with a pair of needle-nosed pliers
to help hold it straight, but hitting it squarely without any sideways
motion of the hammer head when you hit it squarely is still the only
sure-fire method, and, even then, cheap finishing nails from a cheap
hardware store like the Menards chain of stores are softer and bend
more than high-quality nails. Some of the Menards nails are not much
better than hard butter.
I got a little doer as a gift about 35 years ago dont know what you
call it but its a tube with a plunger inside. You put the the nain in
the tube push hard on the plundger and it drives the nail. Damned hand
for getting in difficult spots.When I got it I couldnt belive you
could push a nail into wood like that but it works great.
It's a dang nuisance that one can't remember where one got a
particularly useful gadget. You could try:
They have a spring loaded set something like you describe.
Unfortunately I don't see the two items I use to solve this problem.
One, the one I think I bought from Lee Valley ten or so years ago,
looks like an old-fashioned screwdriver with a red wooden handle and
the tang going through it so you can strike the end with a hammer. But
it's not a screwdriver. It has a sprung cylindrical tube with an
internal plunger. You put the nail into the tube, place the tube over
the point into which you want to nail and hammer away. The tube won't
allow the nail to bend and the plunger will extend about 1/16" and
countersink the nail at the same time. The risk is that you can
overdrive the nail and push the tube into the surrounding wood.
The second solution was available from places like Hartville Tool,
McFeely's and even IIRC Sears. It consists of a round bit (only
describes as such because it's chucked into a cordless drill) with a
diameter of about 1/2". In the center is a hole into which you insert
the nail. You'll find it's gripped by teeth similar to those of an
internal pipe wrench. You put the projecting end of the nail where you
want to drive it and push while turning on the drill. Effectively you
use the nail as a drill bit. No pilot hole is generally necessary
Put the molding up with construction adhesive. Hold the molding in
place with painters tape or some other ingenious trick until the
adhesive cures. Doesn't take long and there are NO holes to putty.
They have to be nailed straight on, any other angle of the strike
between the hammer and nail can bend them.
They must be struck with lighter hits than thicker nails. More like
tapping them in. That way, if the nails starts to bend, you can stop and
straighten it, or pull it out and reinstall a new nail.
modern nails not built like the old days
incorrect angle of strike by hammerrer
round face on hammer
incorrect hammer for the job
really dense wood that anything would bend in
Better quality nails
one of those new hammers that does it for you and hits it straight
as one said, larger pilot holes
beeswax the nails and hole prior to use
try hammer with checkered face or definitely flat face
Use a brad nailer. A perfectly acceptable one is available from HF for under
$20. Once you get a brad nailer, you'll use your hammer for pounding
everything EXCEPT nails.
'Course you'll need a compressor, too.
Buying a brad nailer and a compressor doesn't make economic sense
since I have only 26 feet of molding to install.
Getting a good, straight swing with the hammer is hard because I'm
bending over countertops and ducking under wall cabinets.
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