By: Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk
Since their debut on The New Yankee Workshop, pneumatic nailers have been a popular target for insult-hurling woodworkers, but time has proven that guns aren’t going anywhere. Nails aren’t pretty, nor are they a substitute for traditional joinery, but finish nails, brads, and pins provide a viable and convenient solution in the workshop and on the jobsite. A woodworker armed with a pneumatic gun can easily outpace a hammer-swinging counterpart. In addition, gun-fired fasteners are thinner than hammer-driven nails. This feature makes them less likely to split wood and easier to camouflage under a tiny spot of filler.
At one time, the price of nailers and compressors restricted them to use by professionals. Today, a nailer and compressor kit costs about as much as a good cordless drill. The real question is not whether or not to go for a gun, but which ones do you need. I’ll provide a quick gauge-by-gauge overview of the fasteners and nailers and offer suggestions to help you find the gun (or guns) that best suit the work you do.