Pneumatic air nailers for framing
Framing pneumatic air nailers are the life breath of any residential construction company. Nothing can bring the construction of a house to a grinding halt faster than the failure of the pneumatic framing nailer.
As the operations manager at Village Builders Inc. I do all the tool purchasing and I have tried most of the different manufactures of air nailers on the market.
Being a custom home company we frame all our houses ourselves.
For the first twenty years we only owned Paslode guns. A couple of reasons why; they were one of the only guns available on the market, they lasted a long time and they took a lot of abuse. But in the last 10 years the market has been flooded with companies making pneumatic air nailers. The prices vary from the cheap to the expensive.
First things first if the price of a pneumatic nailer is too good to be true then it probably is, that means that it is make cheaply. Too many nailers are made with a lot of plastic to help keep the weight down. This might sound like a good thing, except when its -20C and your labour drops the air nailer off the top of the ladder and it smashes on the floor. When you pick it up it rattles and pieces have fallen off it.
Here are some guild lines that I use when shopping for Pneumatic air nailers;
· When buying a framing nailer you want something made of metal and this means that it isn’t going to be the lightest tool to handle. Remember that what you do is work and that is what your employee’s are going to have to do with it, work. A framer built from metal will last longer in the hands of your carpenters and especially your labourers that don’t realize how much the tool there holding costs.
· Don’t be afraid to try a different brand if you think the tool looks better and the price is right. Also different nailers have different options. So pick the nailer that suits your needs.
· Buy your nailer from a place that you will be able give you warranty service and repairs after the warranty has run out. Make sure your buying it from a business that isn’t going to take your tool when it breaks and send it away somewhere else in the country. Every day you’re without your tool is a day that you can’t make money with it. If you have a local tool dealer that might cost you a little bit more but give you better service then go with them. Service always should win out over price.
· Research your nailer. Look on the internet for tool reviews, look in trade magazines, talk to other people in the construction industry and talk to your local tool dealer. He will be able to give you feed back on what nailers are popular and what nailers are coming back for too much service.
· Ask your employee’s. This is a big one, your employee’s will tell you if they like the nailer or if they don’t. Maybe they know of problems with the tool that you don’t.
Now for my choice of pneumatic air nailers;
1. Hitachi-We have owned a few of these guns. They seem to last the longest, because they are made of metal. They are by far the heaviest nailer as well. These guns are a little larger than normal guns, so sometimes they are hard to fit between the studs. But this gun takes abuse and just keeps driving nails. It also toe nails better than most other guns on the market.
2. Bostich-This gun is a very good quality gun and it is also made from metal. What makes this gun come in as high as number two is that this is one of the only framing nailers that I have found that will shoot framing nails and joist hanger nails. All you have to do is change the head on the end of the gun and it will shoot the joist hanger nails. This has saved us hours of work and many fingers since you don’t have to do it by hand. Also you don’t have to buy a pneumatic nailer that just shoots joist hanger nails. When the heads wear out they are easily changed and are not expensive to buy. The cons with this gun are that the service record though good is not as good as the Hitachi. These framers don’t take the abuse that the Hitachi’s handle. Also these nailers are a little harder to use when toe nailing. A plus for them is that they are a little smaller then the Hitachi’s so they fit between the studs a little easier.
3. Paslode-They were the industry leaders for years, but the rest of the world caught up to them and in a lot of area’s passed them. I have found that not much has changed with paslode framing guns over the years. That’s a good thing and a bad thing. There track record for tools is very good but a lot of the things like ease of loading and ease of use are just not there compared to the rest of the industry. But paslodes have a great service record and seem to be able to take abuse. The price point of these guns is the big one for me; paslode always seems to be more expensive than any other manufacturer. I have a hard time justifying the price I have to pay to own one.
There are hundreds of framing guns on the market; the only way really to know is by trial and error. But if you start with the 3 that I have listed above you will have a better chance of finding the right one sooner rather than later.
Village Builders inc.