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  • Fasten-Ating Facts: Understanding Nail Shank Types

    Often a make-or-break factor in roofing, pallet assembly or framing projects, nail shank type plays a critical role in U.S. building code. Using the wrong shank can leave you with a damaged roof, squeaky subfloor, or worse. The following are the most common gun nail shank types found in construction. Learn which is best for your job—and why.

    Choose from various nail shanks for construction applications

    Smooth Shank Nails

    Let’s start with the most common nail shank type. Smooth shank nails have no threading and are the easiest to drive. This also makes them the fastest type of nail to drive. Depending on strength and makeup, they can be driven into nearly any surface, and are suitable for a wide range of everyday construction applications—from framing to finishing.

    Pro Tip: Consult with building codes and material manufacturer guidelines before starting a project, to determine if you need to use a certain kind of nail or other fastener. You can also check with the International Code Council (ICC) construction-related specifications. 

    As you might imagine, smooth nails are the easiest shank type to produce, and thus, among the most affordable. What smooth shank nails offer in versatility, however, they lack in optimal holding ability. So you wouldn’t use them for jobs like roofing, where greater pull-through or withdrawal resistance is needed.

    Applications: Framing, Siding, Trim and Finishing, General Woodworking

    From Simpson Strong-Tie, a Smooth Nail Shank

    Ring Shank Nails

    Ring shank nails have annular (ring-shaped) threads on them that prevent them from being removed as easily as smooth shank nails. When driven, the thread creates a “locking” effect with wood fibers, which gives it greater resistance from withdrawal.

    The ICC considers this and other nail shank thread types as "deformations." According to the International Staple, Nail and Tool Association (ISANTA), "The most common method to make a "deformed" shank is to start with smooth round wire that has been drawn down to the nominal diameter of the finished nail. During the manufacturing process, special machinery rolls and compresses the steel to "deform" the smooth shank into the desired shape:  ring, screw, etc."

    So in other words, the term "deformation" is not a negative one. It simply describes the fact that threaded shank nails differ from smooth shank nails, which have what’s considered a "regular" formation.

    If you’re driving nails into a material where expansion and contraction is an issue (such as with subfloors, or where fasteners are exposed to the changing elements), you’ll want ring shank nails. Ring shank nails are great for surfaces exposed to high winds that might pull out a common nail. They’re ideally suited for softer woods that might otherwise split when nailed.

    Applications: Siding, Roof Decking, Asphalt Shingles, Underlayment, Subfloors (See Installing Subfloors: Nails Vs. Screws.) 

    Another example of nail shanks, the ring shank nail

    Screw Shank Nails

    Screw shank nails combine the benefits of a nail with those of a screw. You get the ease of drive that a nail offers, and approximately the same holding power as that of a screw. The thread forces the nail to turn as it’s driven, essentially forging its own thread in the wood. As with ring shank nails, the threads create a locking effect that makes the nail more difficult to remove.

    This type of nail takes more force to drive than both smooth and ring shank nails, but provides greater pull-through resistance than either. While ring nails are more suitable for softer wood species, screw shank nails are ideal for hardwoods. A longer, more complex manufacturing process (and increased holding power) means that screw shank nails are generally more expensive than smooth and ring shank nails too.

    Applications: Decking, Flooring, Pallet Assembly, Siding, Fencing, Framing, Sheathing

    Simpson Strong Tie Nails With Screw Shanks

    Helical & Other Nail Shanks

    Specifically designed for use with hard yet brittle materials, such as concrete or brick, masonry nails are hardened to prevent bending or breaking when they’re driven. Rather than a threading, as with ring and screw shank nails, fluted shank nails feature linear grooves that allow them to be easily driven without breaking apart the concrete. You may also see the term helical nails, which are also used for concrete and steel. 

    Applications: Furring, Floor Plates, Drywall Track To Concrete, Steel Beams

    There are other specialty types of nail shank, such as barbed shank, helical threaded shank, stepped-shank, knurled shank, and others—each designed for specialized applications. To further sharpen your nail knowledge, read more about nail components.

     


     

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  • 6 Critical FAQs Before Installing Hardwood Flooring

    Nothing beats the ambiance and timelessness of wood floors. Hardwood flooring can last a hundred years or more, adding beauty and value to your home. Installing hardwood flooring, on the other hand, can be a daunting process if you aren't familiar with the following frequently asked questions.

    Installing Hardwood Flooring is a Perfectly Sound Investment

    Q. What’s the difference between hardwood and engineered wood flooring?

    Hardwood flooring is made of solid wood. Walnut, cherry, pine, birch, ash, are common varieties of hardwood flooring. Bamboo (actually a grass and not a wood) is another popular flooring choice these days. Engineered wood, often used interchangeably with hardwood flooring, is actually made of layers of wood with a veneer of real wood. It offers the look of solid wood, but with greater versatility.

    Solid hardwood flooring typically comes in 3/4” thick boards, while engineered wood boards are usually 3/8" or 1/2" thick. Hardwood boards are typically narrower than engineered wood planks to better adapt to moisture fluctuation.

    Deciding whether to invest in solid or engineered hardwood flooring depends upon your needs and environment. Solid hardwood flooring is known for its endurance and the fact that it can be refinished many times. It's also more expensive than engineered wood flooring, which is more stable and moisture resistant. If a section of engineered flooring gets damaged, however, it usually has to be replaced, as the engineered wood flooring cannot be re-sanded or refinished as many times (If at all) as solid hardwood.

    Q. Can I install hardwood flooring on concrete?

    Yes. But there are certain requirements to ensure that moisture doesn’t reach the hardwood. The concrete floor for solid hardwood should be at-grade or above-grade (at or above ground-level). For basements, most flooring manufacturers recommend using engineered wood. Furthermore, the concrete also has to be completely dry - even before installing a subfloor. Carpeting, paint and other materials must be removed as well, and you may need a concrete grinder to prep first.

    After new concrete is laid, it can take more than a month for the moisture to evaporate from concrete, and moisture levels must be tested prior to installation. Before laying hardwood flooring over concrete, you’ll need a moisture barrier between the two surfaces. For solid hardwood over concrete, it’s recommended to use a wood subfloor, which can raise the overall floor level. Something to consider, as clearance for doorways and other items may change.

    Hardwood flooring installation with the Bostitch BTFP12569 2 in 1 Flooring Tool

    Q. What Tools Do I Need When Installing Hardwood Flooring?

    If you are installing pre-finished hardwood flooring, you’ll need a flooring stapler or nailer. The choice depends on personal preference. See our article on the Difference between a Flooring Nailer and Flooring Stapler, for more info. Freeman, Bostitch and Powernail are reliable brands for flooring tools; our most popular tool is the Freeman PF18GLCN nailer.

    Decide whether you want a manual flooring nailer or pneumatic flooring tool. If you have a large installation project, choose the pneumatic tool. While more expensive, it will make the job faster and save you fatigue. You may also want to invest in a rolling flooring accessory that will also make the process easier, with less lifting each time you fasten.

    Other tools need you’ll also need: a hammer, miter or table saw, and a pry bar for removing molding. For installing unfinished wood, you’ll need a sander, vacuum, and other finishing tools.

    Q. What Hardwood Flooring Fasteners Will I Need?

    As for wood flooring fasteners, you'll use nails or staples. Staples are generally a cheaper choice of fastener, but 16-, 18-, or 20-gauge flooring nails or “cleats” are the choice of pros. They allow for wood flooring expansion and contraction, also providing great holding power. Whichever fastener you choose when installing hardwood flooring, you'll need to use that fastener throughout the entire installation.

    The fastener you choose may also depend the wood and subflooring material needed, and the recommendations of the flooring manufacturer. Per Flooring.org, the National Wood Flooring Association, states that for solid hardwood boards, nails or staples should be spaced between eight and ten inches apart, and for engineered wood boards, between four and eight inches. PowerNail has a handy Room Square Foot and Cleat Coverage Calculator.

    Q. How much wood do I need to install a floor?

    Hardwood flooring is sold in cartons. To determine how much wood is needed, first find out the square footage of space for your project. Before installing hardwood flooring, measure the room’s length and width, then multiply the two to get the total square footage. For an unusually shaped room, measure odd areas separately. It’s helpful to divide the areas into rectangles, add the measurements together and then multiply to get square footage. Don’t forget to include closet space.

    It’s advisable to add 5-10% to cover the “waste factor,” wood that will end up being unusable. If you’re completing more than one room, total the total square footage and then add 5-10% for waste cost.

    Installing hardwood flooring is a solid investment in any home

    Q. How much does installing hardwood flooring cost?

    This depends on a lot of factors—starting with the type of wood for your floor. For a rough idea on the cost to install hardwood flooring, Home Advisor states that the average homeowner will spend $4,396 to install a wood floor. On the lower end of the spectrum, softer woods such as pine can range from $3 to $6 per square foot, while more resilient and exotic wood varieties can cost $8 to $10 per square foot. In the middle lies common wood species, such as oak.

    Unless you’re planning a DIY project, add into that estimate the cost of labor, which will run from $3 to $8 per square foot. If you need to have furniture moved or carpeting removed, this will cost extra, so budget that into your costs.

    (For more on installation, see our article How to Install Hardwood Floors.)


     

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    Flooring Fasteners

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  • Within Reach: The Quik Stik Rafter and Truss Fastening System

    For contractors who fasten rafter and truss-to-top plate connections, falling is a potential safety hazard. The Quik Stik Rafter and Truss Fastening System from Simpson Strong-Tie resolves some of issues associated with overhead fastening, making it safer and simpler to get the job done without the need for a ladder.

    The Simpson Strong-Tie Quik Stick Rafter and Truss Fastening System Being Put to Use

    How Does the Quik Stik Work?

    The Quik Stik System is a screw driving extension tool that attaches to a drill or driver with a minimum 1,200 RPM−including cordless screw drivers. To use the tool, insert the Quik Stik’s hex-drive shaft into the drill or driver motor’s chuck. Then push down on the head of the tool to expose the magnetic bit holder, and insert the T30 driver bit until it clicks. Ensure everything’s properly connected by doing an installation motion, sliding the drive shaft though the guide sleeve while running the motor. When you're all set, insert the compatible Strong-Drive SDWC truss screw into the head and you’re ready to go. 

    Like many of the screw driving systems from Simpson Strong-Tie, the Quik Stik makes the fastening process considerably faster and more convenient. With this particular innovation, Simpson Strong-Tie asserts the Quik Stik is essentially "eliminating the need for ladders, power nailers and compressor lines.” It's certainly a step up for those who do a lot of overhead fastening.

    The rafter and truss fastening system has been evaluated and approved for five different types of installations: offset from stud (underside of top-plate, bottom edge of top-plate), wide face of stud, narrow face of stud, and front corner of stud (compound angle). Click here to see more specifics about Quik Stik approved installations.

    Safety Improvements with the Tool

    One of the most obvious issues with rafter and truss applications is the reach factor. You’ll likely need a ladder to fasten those connections, and with that comes with risk of falling. This tool provides a minimum of 43” extension for screw driving, so for most wall heights, you can forgo the ladder. If you use a cordless screw driver with the Quik Stik, you don't have the hassle of a cord, giving you greater freedom and mobility.

    Another benefit of the tool is that, since you can work from the interior of a structure, you won’t have to lug a ladder outdoors—or have to contend as much with the elements. So there's less potential for slipping, tripping and dropping.

    Also, you don’t have the heft of a pneumatic tool, thanks to the extension tool’s weight. Not including the motor you choose, the tool weighs about 6 lbs. This means less strain from lifting a tool overhead, which could lead to inaccuracies in fastener placement. The Quik Stik has a comfortable, rubberized grip; it’s really a well thought-out solution for driving screws overhead.

    Special features onthe Quik Stik

    Unique Features on the Quik Stik

    You’ll notice the special positioning prongs on the head of the tool, which is over-molded with nylon. The prongs help securely grip the top plate while driving screws. The manufacturer has also included a bubble level that can be positioned along the handle or tool's head. The level may be angled, and even removed.

    On the head of the tool, there are bright-orange guidelines to help direct the screw to the optimal angle for truss and top-plate to rafter connections. An orange centerline guide on the Quik Stik's head is useful for locating 90-degree angles in vertical connections. Rocker arms on the head let you adjust for precision fastening.

    When you pull back on the tool's head, this exposes the screw, letting you see exactly where you're going and preventing mis-installation. And, should you need to remove a screw, set the driver motor to reverse and just unscrew the fastener.

    The Strong-Drive SDWC Screw, Compatible with the Quik Stik

    Quik Stik's Compatible Fastener

    As mentioned, the Quik Stik drives the specially designed Strong-Drive SDWC truss screw. The 6” screw is fully threaded, engaging the entire length of the fastener. A cap-head on the screw allows it to be countersunk into double top plates. The SDWC screw also has a type-17 point for easier starting and driving.

    The screws are code-listed under IAPMO –UES ER-262 and are tested in accordance with ICC-ES AC233 and AC13 for wall assembly and roof-to-wall assembly. With a bright-orange coating, the truss screw is easily visible and has a wide “tolerance” on angle installations, making it easy to install in a variety of positions.

    Those familiar with the Quik Drive auto-feed systems from Simpson Strong-Tie will be curious about fastener collation. The Quik Stik system drives one screw at a time, so you won't be able to use collated screws. But who knows; perhaps Simpson Strong-Tie has already considered a solution for that, too.

    Quik Stik Fast Facts

    • Applications: Rafter Assembly/Truss-to-Top-Plate Connections
    • Approved Installations: Offset from stud (Underside of Top-plate, Bottom edge of top-plate), Wide face of stud, Narrow face of stud, Front corner of stud (compound angle)
    • Fasteners: Strong-Drive SDWC Truss Screws
    • Screw Driver/Drill Motor: 1,200 RPM or Greater
    • Driver Bit: T30 6-Lobe
    • Attachment Weight: 6 lbs.
    • Driver Bit Included: Yes

    Are you ready to reach higher with the Quik Stik Rafter and Truss Fastening System? We’re certainly up to the task.


     

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Videos VIEW ALL
  • Metabo HPT's Revolutionary New MultiVolt System

    When a new tool hits the market, it rarely earns the title “game changer.” Well, the MultiVolt system from Metabo HPT lets you choose corded or cordless power—within the same tool—creating a whole new game entirely.

    The first of its kind, the revolutionary system even won the Pro Tool Innovation Award. Now available at Nail Gun Depot, the MultiVolt platform offers unheard-of flexibility, portability, and safety in using a tool in various work spaces. Metabo calls it, “The future of power tools,” an assertion that seems pretty on point.

    Metabo HPT System's 36 V Battery

    The MultiVolt Battery

    At the heart of the system is the 36V/18V battery (372121M), which powers any of the tools—from circular saws and slide grinders to rotary hammers and impact wrenches. The 2.1 lb. lithium-ion slide-type battery can also be used with 18V Hitachi and Metabo HPT tools. It’s backward-compatible, so the cordless Hitachi/Metabo HPT tools you already own aren’t suddenly obsolete.

    This innovative battery has a high-cell-capacity battery of 21700 cells, which is 46% greater than standard Li-Ion batteries. That amounts to 1440W, thoroughly increasing tool power and run time. When using the 36V tools, the battery delivers 4 amp-hours of run time; with the 18V tools, it delivers 18 amp-hours.

    Unlike with earlier Li-Ion batteries, a four-stage gauge on this one tells the percentage of battery life remaining. Purchase the battery alone or with a rapid charger (UC18YSL3B1), which powers up the battery in 52 minutes or less. Confident in its durability, Metabo HPT guarantees the 36V battery with a two-year warranty, and the charger one-year.

    The 36V AC Adapter for the Metabo MultiVolt System

    The MultiVolt Adapter

    The system’s ET36A AC adapter is the muscle, and it’s got brains to boot. If you’re working without access to a power outlet or the battery is running low, simply insert the ET36A adapter. It slides into the tool just as the 36V battery. 

    The MultiVolt adapter produces a max of 2,000 watts, comparable to traditional 15-Amp AC tools. A 20-foot cord on the adapter can connect to extension cords and generators with little or no reduction in power, thanks to brushless technology, which we’ll touch on later.

    In describing the award-winning adapter, Pro Tool states, “As we see more corded tools fall to the wayside as cordless tools meet or exceed their power level, more Pros keep asking for hybrid power options. Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) answers the call with their ET36A MultiVolt adapter.”

    The only limitation (aside from a cord) we see with the MultiVolt Adapter, it is not interchangeable with other Hitachi/Metabo HPT 18V cordless tools, whereas the 36V MultiVolt battery can be used with 18V cordless models.

     

    Metabo HPT MultiVolt System 36V circular saw

    MultiVolt Tools at Nail Gun Depot

    On the home front, we’re excited to be carrying the MultiVolt AC adapter, 36V/18V battery, the battery & rapid charger set, and tools including—the 7-1/4” Circular Saw (C3607DAQ4M) and the Reciprocating Saw (CR36DAQ4M).

    With the 36V reciprocating saw, you can expect a curved wood blade, 1-1/4” stroke length, slim profile and orbital action. A 4-stage selector on the saw ranges from 1,700 to 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute). The 36V Circular Saw comes with a 24T blade and blade wrench, and features fast braking, bevel adjustment, and a dust blower. Both saws are available from us with a battery and charger, and feature brushless  technology.

    What does a brushless motor add to the equation? It makes the tools ultra efficient, delivering more power, greater durability, and lessening maintenance issues.

    Will you invest in the new MultiVolt lineup—or stick to your (18V or corded) tools? Let us know in the comments.

     


     

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  • The First-Ever Grex Cordless Pin Nailer

    The most anticipated tool of the year goes to the 23-gauge Grex cordless pin nailer. See the Grex 23-Gauge GCP650 Cordless Pin Nailer here, before it hits store shelves later this month.

    When it arrives, regular pricing will be set around $438.

    Grex GCP650 23 Gauge Cordless Micro Pin Nailer

    More About the Grex GCP650

     

    For woodworkers, a 23-gauge headless pin nailer is THE tool to have. This micro-pinner operates at nearly the same muscle as its pneumatic counterpart, but with cord-free convenience. As you might expect, the nailer is compact and easy on the user at under 4 lbs, but here's the rubthe GCP650's motor capably drives 2" pin nails into solid oak or maple. It's the only cordless nailer in its class that can say that.

    Adapting to different wood densities and nail lengths is no problem, thanks to a power adjustment knob on the tool. A fine, narrow nose makes for precise fastening and a stepped magazine grants access to tight corners. The tool also has a built-in edge guide, so there's less stops to adjust. Considering you can get up to 50,000 shots per charge, that's quite a workout, but one this Grex cordless pin nailer can handle--hardened steel design, excellent balance and an auto-lockout features help extend tool life.

    The GCP650 is also flexible, operating in cold weather and at high-altitudes. Gas-powered operation not only makes the tool flexible, it's also easier on the wallet, costing less to own in the long-term than similar nailers. The 23-gauge micro-pinner runs on just  two AAA batteries and a fuel cell. So, you don't have to worry about outlets, compressors or regular maintenance.

    Bonus: GFC01 fuel cells don't expire and there's no fumes to contend with.

    The GCP650 headless pinner maintains its lightness thanks to "passive heat management." Other reasons to love it: a built-in edge guide, wide fastener window that reveals how many fasteners remain in the magazine, and the quietude factor, with no distracting fan noise. 

    Fast Facts:

    • Tool Weight: 3.75 lbs
    • Fuel Capacity: 1,300 shots/can
    • Battery Type: 2x AAA batteries
    • Battery Capacity: 50,000 shots
    • Max Cycle Rate: 60 shots/min.
    • Fastener Capacity: 100 pins (1 strip)

    Grex based the new GCP650 micro-pinner on their other high-performance tool, the 18-gauge cordless brad nailer (GC1850). Lightweight yet extremely capable, the 23-gauge cordless tool features an all-metal construction (minus the exterior housing) and is perfect for finish and trim work, light wood assembly, dowel and joint pinning, crafts, display and sign work, door and window casing, and cabinetry.

    Grex STAFDA Video with 23 gauge headless micropinner

    Watch a quick video of the Grex GCP650 23-Gauge Pinner from the 2018 STAFDA show.

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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  • New Fastening Tools At STAFDA 2018!

    While at the STAFDA (Specialty Tool & Fastener) show in balmy Phoenix last week, we got a sneak peek at these sweet new cordless and pneumatic nailers. Check out Nail Gun Depot’s YouTube channel for quick-videos from the show, or read below to see the innovative new products coming from Metabo HPT, Grex, Cadex, Fasco, and other top brands in fastening.

    Fasco America shows off the F70G Cordless Joist Hanger Nailer

    Fasco’s Faster Joist Hanger Nailer

    Fasten metal plates without being “tied down” by air compressor hoses. Fasco’s F70G Cordless Hanger Nailer is fast and powerful, driving two to three nails per second, from 1-1/2” to 2-1/2” in length. Already available at Nail Gun Depot, the joist nailer has a positive placement nose, non-slip grip, and single-shot actuation. Use it for fastening joist hangers, stud plate ties and post bases.

    Fasco F70G Joist Nailer Video

    Grex's Cordless Micro-Pinner

    Certain to stir up interest, the new Grex GCP650 23-gauge cordless pin nailer conveniently runs on a propane cylinder and two AAA batteries. Based on the popularity of its 18 gauge sibling, the GC1850, this Grex 23 gauge cordless should be a hit when it arrives in December. Already trusted for the performance of their corded 23-gauge tools, the cordless micro pinner features durable components, all-metal construction (minus the outside housing) and shoots 2” pin nails.

    Grex 23-Gauge Cordless Pinner Video

    Grex 23 Gauge Cordless Micro Pinner

    Metabo HPT’s Slick A5 PRO Nailers

    Continuously innovating, the brand formerly known as Hitachi Power Tools adds sleek framing and finish nailers to their A5 PRO lineup. Check out the NP50A 23-Gauge Pin Nailer, the NT50A5 2” Brad Nailer, and the NR90AC5 3” Framing Nailer.

    Each nail gun features dry-fire lockout and depth adjust. The 2” brad nailer has an integrated air blower and a “true” dry-fire lockout that lets you use the last nail in the magazine before shutting off, unlike other nailers which cut out with a handful of nails left.

    Metabo HPT A5 PRO Nailers Video

    Metabo Hitachi shows off NT50A5 Pneumatic Nailer

    Cadex’s 7 For 2019

    Cadex has big plans for 2019. Taking the sturdy V3 tool as a foundation, the company, known for precision trim tools, has spawned five different models: two L-series cleat nailers (one with a rolling base), a 20-gauge cleat nailer for thin floorboards (such as bamboo), an 18-gauge cleat nailer, and a 16-gauge brad nailer.

    But wait, there's more! Cadex will also release two cordless nailers, a 16-gauge finish and 18-gauge brad nailer with built-in light, 4 amp battery and no-mar tip. Cadex plans to drop all of the new nailers in early 2019, so stay tuned.

    Cadex Nailer Video

    Cadex Cordless Nailer

    So, which of these new tool(s) are you most interested in? Let us know in the comments!

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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