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I am in the market for a pneumatic fastening device but I am not sure which would be best for my woodworking projects. Can you advise me about the functional differences between a brad nailer, a finish nailer, and a stapler? Is one of these more beneficial or desireable than the others for woodworking applications?
The answer to your question is dependent what you will be using the tool for...
If you are doing small projects, then your best bet is an 18 or 19 gauge brad nailer. These typically shoot 3/8" and longer brads. This is a nice tool because you can get into tight spots, they are light and easy to handle and the smaller gauge nail produces less splitting. BUT, if you have larger jobs one of these may not work well -- they don't have the driving power to pull work pieces together and the nail has a tendency to follow wood grain and blow out of the side of the piece.
If your primary work is in larger crafts and the occasional small cabinet, then a 16 ga brad nailer may be best. Shoots 5/8" to 2" nails. But again, blow-out is common on nails larger than 1 1/4.
Doing Full size cabinetry or home improvements? Then I recommend a 15 gauge finish nailer. Typically shoots nail from 3/4" to 2" (really great for 4Ds)
If you plan to do all of the above (small jewelry boxes to large cabinets) then you should probably get a dedicated nailer for each type of work: 18 ga small nailer for detail work and the 15 gauge nailer for the bigger stuff.
You can pick up an 18 gauge for around 80 bucks and a good 15 gauge is gonna run at least $200.
And, you need a compressor that will support the nailer. Those 2 gallon units that are popping up all over the place will work ok for the 18 gauge but for a workhorse nailer you need a 4 or 5 gallon unit (capable of 100+ PSI)
Staples? Utility stuff like attaching sheet material -- say 1/8 OSB to a utility cabinet for backing or small projects around the house. Does upholstery.
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