Sorry for this variation of a frequantly asked question.
I am installing homemade baseboards made from MDF. The part I have to
nail through is 5/8 inch thick.
I have a compressor. I planning on getting an air nailer. Question is:
1. 18G brad nailer or 16G finish nailer?
2. If I go with the 18G brad nailer, is 1.25 inch 18G brads enough or
do I need 1.5 inch 18G brads?
3. Ditto, if I go with 16G finish nailer, what length nails?
I have a C&H 3HP/4Gal compressor, and depending on the recommendations
I get for nail size and length, I am favouring a Porter Cable or
Paslode nailer. (Senco is harder to find here in Toronto.)
Probably Campbell Hausfeld...I have a 4HP/13Gal, very low cost unit used
almost daily & has never given me a seconds problem in about ten years set
between 90 & 120PSI at the most.
I am also a director & coach for our youth soccer club & use mine to inflate
over 1000 soccer balls every April....great time saver, we hook up six
inflator nozzles & hoses to a gang connection at once & away we go.
I meant Campbell Hausfeld. The model I have gives me 6.2 cfm at 90
psi. Overkill for a single person slowly installing baseboards. I use
it mainly for blowing out my lawn sprinkle system in the fall. For
that task, it has barely enough power. E-mail me directly if you want
to know more about that.
Thanks Yc, for the info. I have no garden sprinkler system yet for my 90
by 40 (feet) property, although my wife installed a soaker hose system
(the garden is hers, I have the basem^H^H^H^^H^Hworkshop).
I may have a need for a compressor for basic finish nailing and odds and
ends, althoug I also may get into spray finishing eventually. So I am
gathering info ...
If anyone cares to (again) give opinions about spray finishing equipment
for a rank amateur who will only be doing this very occasionally, I'll be
happy to receive any info (links especially appreciated).
I find that my 18ga just doesn't have enough holding power for
me when attaching baseboard or window molding, so I'd
reccommend a 15 or 16 ga nailer.
As for nail length (assuming you have 1/2" wall board) a 1-1/2"
nail will only give you 3/8" penetration into the 2x4 at the base
of the wall. I'd go with at least a 1-3/4" nail.
ps Han: C&H = Campbell Hausfeld
For the base boards I would use a finish nailer with the longest nails
available IE 2 inch and also angle your nails into the dry wall with some
construction adhesive on the back because your walls will never be dead
straight and the construction adhesive will help with any hold.
That's exactly what I was thinking--nails and construction adhesive.
My father taught me (when I was a child) about angling two nails which
"locks" the hold. The adhesive makes less difference between the 18
and 16 gauge nails (I'd probably pick the 18G).
On Sat, 10 Apr 2004 19:27:23 GMT, "Chris Melanson"
If you are going through both the 5/8" base and 1/2" drywall, you will
want to pick up at least an inch of meat with the nail in the studs
and plates. The math says that means a 2-1/2" nail (because they
don't make 2-1/8" nails) but I've been happy with 2", expecting them
to set the extra 1/8" according to how I set up the gun.
MDF has a habit of dimpling when it's power nailed. By that I mean
that the pressure of the nail being driven has a tendency to raise the
MDF a bit around the point of entry of the nail. This means that you
will have to sand down all the dimples with a sand paper wrapped block
- kinda takes the fun out of air nailing.
You can eliminate most of this by using a different technique than the
usual "run and gun" of the average trim man. Make sure that your air
nailer sits firmly on the piece for each shot and make sure that your
depth adjustment is set properly. A test piece before you get into
the real deal will help you get the right settings.
I favor the heavier gauge nail for this.
BTW - I like "air nailers" but I don't like "air nails" by which I
mean that you should locate your studs and shoot into them, rather
than angling the nail into the rock, without regard to hitting the
stud. The job is going to hold up better if you do this. It is a too
common practice among trim carpenters to angle the nails in opposition
to each other, only grabbing the sheetrock (with or without goober
behind the trim). This is a bad practice.
Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker (ret)
Real Email is: tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet
Tom thank you for reiterating my comments. I definitely did not mean to
imply not to hit the studs by any means.I have been a journeyman
cabinetmaker for 20 odd years and have owned my business for just about as
long. I sometimes forget that you have to explain some basic methods. And
that everyone is not a cabinetmaker.
One thing I really get upset about is when somebody calls me a carpenter
because to me a carpenter is 9 times out of 10 just a butcher and if they
had to come any closer than 1/8th of an inch would be screwed.
I am sure you have been called a carpenter in the past, while in fact
you are a cabinetmaker and it bugs you just as much. To me the difference
between being a Cabinetmaker and being a Carpenter is like the difference
between driving a well tuned car and driving a V-8 missing on 4 cylinders. I
was told once and still believe this saying "a cabinetmaker will always make
an good carpenter but a carpenter will seldom make a good cabinetmaker."
Condescending? Yes. I also think it's shows a limited
knowledge of the world around us. Comparing cabinetmakers
to carpenters is like asking, what's more important, your
car's engine or the wheels?
In my business (architectural wooddorking/commercial
wooddorking) we deal with several disciplines of the
These guys are charged with taking raw stock and forming it
into the shapes required up stream to build and assemble a
final product. They are the ones who operate the straight
line rip saws, the jointers, the planers, the molders and
CNC routers. Their product ends up on a cart, in stacks and
then gets pushed up to the next area. I've seen these guys
put out crown moldings formed to an ellipse that I wouldn't
attempt in a cajillion years.
These are the guys who sort through the cart, find all the
parts 'n pieces and make the final cuts/shapes that allow
them to assemble the parts 'n pieces into a wonderment of
wooddorking. I have a picture of some work they've done for
a local opera house that would make your (and my) sphincter
These are the stainers and top coaters who take the wood
assemblies from being "in the white" to a finished (as of
this point) product. If you ever wondered, can a finish
free of boogers and runs ever be accomplished, the answer
is, yes and it's done daily. These guys also have to be
competent in all manner of finishing product which if you
haven't noticed requires a back ground in chemistry.
These are the guys on site who take the final product and
put it into place where the architect designed it/client
needs it. These are the guys who put up the sphincter
puckering opera house work and when they were done the seams
all blended into the next and the gaps were all closed.
Most of the time (OK, all the time) these guys work under
horrific conditions compared to those back in the shop. I
would go so far to say that most of the guys from the shop
(the cabinetmakers) would wet themselves if they had to work
under these conditions for an extended period of time.
I could tell you horror stories about each of these groups
and I'm sure they could/would dis on me too with equal
bravado. The point is, each does a job and there's not a
one that I would go up against and compare my worth to or
consider that I could replace.
Now before anyone jumps in and qualifies their argument
with, "Yah-but, rough carpenters, those are the guys with
their brains bashed in", we've had a couple of projects here
in town over the last couple of years that prove otherwise.
One was a new printing facility for the local newspaper.
The most impressive room in the place was a Concrete Clad
Cathedral for the newspaper's printing presses. From one
end to the next the span was something like 300 feet (a
hunnert yards). This room was to house some cutting edge
European printing presses with some extremely high
tolerances for level and plumb. The rough carpenters laid
out the floor and formed for the concrete pour several pits
that the presses were to fit in. When the pour was done the
variance over the 300 feet was a thirty second of an inch.
That's the distance between the two first marks on your tape
measure cut into two only they did it over the length of a
football (Murican style) field.
Not bad for the bottom feeders on the totem ehh?
UA100, thinking, time to get real here, ehh?...
I am glad to see you do know the difference in the trades. the only
thing I would disagree with is in a shop environment you generally have
A journeyman cabinetmaker that will over see an entire job from start to
finish. A machinemen who run the machines and make the parts. A benchmen who
assemble the product with all the hardware and prep it for finishing.
Not cabinetmakers assembling product. A cabinetmaker should be able to
work any where on the shop all the way to the finishing department.When I
interview a person for a job I am very particular in asking them if they are
a cabinetmaker, machinemen or a benchmen for that reason.
In a large shop environment. A bench man is the person that dose the
final cut and assembly on a bench as the title implies not a cabinetmaker as
you understand it. A cabinetmaker is the one who is responsible for the
layout, cutlist and quality control and to work along side each group of
tradesmen designating the requirements for each to achieve.
In a small shop a cabinetmaker will layout.machine, cut and assemble or
in other words is capable of performing all of the fore mentioned
So you have not taught me anything as you had hoped.
Chris, Can you explain how you are able to dictate the
conventions of a large shop? What I'm meaning to find out
is, is it possible that a large shop where you operate from
doesn't quite have the same set of conventions as a large
shop somewhere else?
UA100, who always thought a large shop was 20 skilled
mechanics or more but is willing (always hoping) to be
taught something new...
First of all it is machine or machinist not "mechanics"as you stated.
For a large shop to have 20 or more machinist you would have to have at
least 150 or more bench men to support that many machinist and personally I
do not know of any millwork shop that has that many people on the floor. I
do know of a few and very few production shops that have that many people on
the floor. And what I mean by production shops is either kitchen cabinet
manufactures or kd furniture manufactures.Where people are basically robots
doing repetitious tasks all day and are generally not skilled trades people
Second of all I am not trying to dictate the conventions of a large
Here in British Columbia if you call yourself a millworker you work in a
But in a millwork shop you have cabinetmakers, machine men and bench
men. That work on the floor and produce millwork.
Is it possible you are not willing to learn something new??
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