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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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  • 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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  • Cordless Nailers: Comparing Gas- and Battery-Powered Nail Guns

    There’s no question that cordless nailers have come a long way from the late 1980's, when Paslode introduced the first cordless framing gun. Despite technology advancements in almost every facet of the industry, there's still one dividing line in cordless nailing—compressed gas fuel combined with a battery—or battery-only power. Two very similar concepts with very different means for operation. Understand the differences before you buy.

    An example of gas-powered cordless nailers, the Paslode CF325XP Framing Nailer

    Gas-Powered Cordless Nail Guns

    Also known as fuel-powered or gas-cartridge nail guns, gas-powered nailers rely on combustion. These types of nailers were designed to mimic pneumatic nail guns, by using compressed gas fuel in combination with a battery.

    To shoot a fastener, you press the tool nose against the work surface, fuel goes into the combustion chamber, and mixes with air from the tool’s fan. When you pull the trigger on this type of nail gun, a spark plug near the battery lights the gas-air mixture. The combination of fuel and air forces the piston and the driver blade downward, which fires the fasteners.

    The first tool of this kind was invented by Paslode. They introduced the Impulse model in the late 1980s, and the technology behind it is still in use today. You can see this kind of system in several different nailers, including the Paslode CF325XP cordless framing nailer and the Grex GC1850 brad nailer, for example.

    As you might imagine, it requires more energy to drive a framing nail than it takes to sink a brad. This translates to the size of battery and fuel cell your tool may require. For instance, the Grex cordless brad nailer uses two AAA batteries to ignite its small, cylindrical finish fuel cell.

    An example of battery-powered cordless nailers, the Bostitch BCN680D1

    Battery-Powered Cordless Nail Guns

    In recent years, there's been a push to eliminate the gas fuel cell, and use a more powerful battery as the nailer's sole source for power. The battery powers a spinning flywheel, which drives the motor. As long as the trigger is pressed, the flywheel stays in motion, which allows for rapid or bump firing.  With the Bostitch BCN680D1 18-gauge brad nailer, for example, a 20V Li-Ion battery alone powers the tool.

    New innovations strive to make battery-powered tools increasingly lighter and more agile. Some battery-powered nailers even utilize similar design elements comparable to an air-powered nailer, to power the tool. The Senco Fusion finish nailer, for example, uses a permanently sealed air cylinder, which stores energy as compressed air. This type of nail gun works similarly to a pneumatic, but without the need for fuel, instead using the battery to do the heavy lifting.

    Bostitch claims that by switching to an all-battery-powered model, pneumatic tool users save up to 20 minutes a day in setup. They also state that gas-powered tool users can save up to $15 per week in fuel cells and cleaning/lubricating costs. That's something to take into consideration when high-volume production is a requirement.

    Associated Costs of Cordless Nailers

    Let’s look at an important aspect of comparison—cost. A lithium-ion battery will cost around $100, and a battery charger will run you about $50. If the tool comes without a battery, you’ll need to get one. Having at least one backup battery is highly recommended too.

    One thing many people fail to consider when purchasing a tool is the continued cost of ownership. Batteries have a limited lifespan, so eventually those will need replacing. A battery for a cordless tool will last approximately 3 years or 1,000 charge cycles. 

    For gas-powered nailers, expect to pay about $13 to $15 for a single fuel cell. While fuel cell life can differ depending upon size and application of the tool, most deliver 1,000 to 1,300 shots. Metabo HPT estimates that, for skid of 200,000 nails, you'll need about 200 fuel cells. That comes out to approximately $1,796.

    Example of gas-powered cordless nailers, an Aerosmith Track Pinner In Use

    Convenience of Cordless Nailers

    The obvious benefit of owning cordless nailers is that you don’t have to worry about getting a compressor or being tied to an outlet. That also eliminates a safety hazard in potentially tripping over air hoses or cords. There’s also no need to worry about choosing the fittings or hoses (or even tool oil) to work with your tool, so you can leave those out of the equation.

    A battery-only powered cordless nailer means a single power source, which is one less thing to worry about. The downside of course is that the tool's sole reliance on it will drain the battery quicker, unlike with a gas-and-battery-powered nailer. So, you should plan to keep at least one spare battery on hand at all times. Also, a large battery means added tool weight. If you’re working at challenging angles, such as overhead, you'll notice it.

    One other thing to consider, a gas-powered nailer can typically run longer than a 100% battery-powered model, since it has two sources of energy working together. For a quick overview, here are some of the pros and cons between both types of cordless nailer.

    Gas-Powered Nailer Pros/Cons:

    Pro: Gas-powered cordless nailers tend to run longer between re-charging than their all-battery-powered counterparts.

    Con: You need two accessories (battery and fuel cell) to power the tool. Some people also find the odor of gas tools annoying, though some brands like Grex now offer odorless fuel.

    Battery-Powered Nailer Pros/Cons:

    Pro: Battery-only nailers eliminate the costs associated with gas fuel cells. Simply charge up and start working. Most battery-only nailers also eliminate the aggravating "ramp-up" time required by gas-powered tools, which equates to time saved.

    Cons: Battery-only nailers typically have a larger battery pack, since the tool is running exclusively on the energy generated by the battery. This allows them to go longer between charging, but adds weight to the tool. Some systems, such as Metabo HPT's MultiVolt, allow the user to switch between an electric power cord and battery.

    Which type of cordless nailer do you prefer? Let us know in the comments. Questions? Contact Customer Service.


     

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  • 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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  • How Screws Are Measured

    Screws come in a variety of types and sizes for an endless number of construction tasks—from woodworking to metal roof installations. But, choose the wrong length or width, and it can split the wood, or affect the soundness of a structure. As with staples, screw measurement is slightly more complicated than that of nails. Here are three essential measurements every tradesperson should know.

    Screw measurement has three main points

    Screw Measurement, In Three Parts

    There are three main screw measurements: gauge, length, and threads per inch (TPI). When shopping for collated screws at Nail Gun Depot, for instance, you’ll find screws labeled like this: Duraspin #8 x 1-1/4" #08X125CBACTS. So, what do the #8 and 1-1/4" mean?

    Screw Gauge

    The first number is screw gauge, which refers to the outside thread diameter. This is also known as “major diameter.” Screws with a major diameter less than 1/4” are typically labeled in sizes #0 to #14. Screws with a 1/4" or larger major diameter are labeled in fractions of an inch.

    For each gauge size, there is a decimal equivalent. Example: #1 = .073”. That number increases by .013” with each increasing size. For the #8 Duraspin screw (shown below), the decimal equivalent is 0.164”. Engineering Toolbox has a handy screw size chart that lists screw gauges and their decimal equivalents.

    Beyond major diameter, screws have other width measurements. The width beneath the threaded part of the screw is known as root diameter or “minor diameter." The measurement of the unthreaded part of the screw (if not fully threaded) is the shank diameter.

    Durasping Screw, Screw #8 x 1-1/4", #2 Square, Round Washer, Type 17 #08X125CBACTS

    Screw Length

    The next important aspect of screw measurement is shaft length. In the Duraspin screw mentioned above, the length is the second detail in its label—1-1/4". Shaft length is the part of the screw that drives into a surface. 

    The length measurement for a countersinking screw is the distance from the top of the head to the tip. This goes for flat-head, bugle-head, trim-head—and any other countersinking screw where the head can be driven beneath a surface.

    For a non-countersinking screw, it's the distance from the bottom of the head to the tip. So for hex-, pan-, button-, round-, and truss-head screws, length is measured from directly under the head to the tip. One exception: an oval-head screw, which can be partially countersunk, is measured from the widest point of the head to the tip.

    Below is an example of two non-countersinking timber screws from Simpson Strong-Tie. The first screw has a washer head with a low profile. The second screw also has a washer head, but a more prominent hex drive. Note where the length is measured on each.

    SDWS Log screw (SDWS221500)vand a SHWH Timber Simpson Strong-Tie Hex screw (SDWH271500G).

    Threads Per Inch (TPI)

    TPI is a measurement of the number of threads in a one-inch section of screw. The TPI measurement occasionally follows the screw gauge with a hyphen. For example, a screw labeled "#10-12" has a #10 gauge with 12 threads per inch. You may have heard the term "thread pitch," which refers to the number of threads per unit of measurement.

    Check out the detailed measurements, below, for the Senco Duraspin 08X125CBACTS washer-head screw. The #8 gauge screw has a major diameter of 0.17" and 8 TPI. The screw is 1-1/4" long, a measurement taken from the bottom of the head to the point.

    Technical information for Senco Duraspin

    If you're shopping for collated screws and need help, contact Customer Service for assistance.


     

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  • 6 Tips: Preserving Tool Battery Power in Cold Weather

    Cordless tools are more common than ever these days, and what’s more, they keep improving as manufacturers continue to innovate. You’ve probably noticed that Lithium-Ion battery power has surpassed NiCad (nickel-cadmium) and NiMH (nickel metal hydride) in cordless tools—and nearly everything else we use. But in cold weather, Li-Ion batteries seem to lose steam. We'll help you preserve power in your cordless tool battery with 6 easy tips.

    Dewalt DCN693M1Li-Ion Cordless Metal Connector Nailer at Nail Gun Depot

    Benefits of Lithium-Ion Batteries

    Lithium-ion batteries have many benefits over their predecessors; they store a larger amount of electricity, have a lower rate of self-discharge, and are more compact/weigh less than other rechargeable batteries. These cordless tool batteries aren’t delicate flowers, but they do have more basic requirements for maintaining optimal performance. You may have noticed, for instance, that your Li-Ion-powered tool is a little less forgiving in colder weather.

    Batteries are a collection of chemicals and other materials assembled to create a reaction that will then power your tool. And chemicals inside of them can be impacted by extreme situational changes. On the plus side, if you can call it that, Li-Ion is more stressed by extreme heat than extreme cold. Protection circuitry mainly prevents over-heating. but It's up to you to prevent over-cooling.

    Here’s a fact: When the temp dips below 40°F, Li-Ion batteries don’t fully hold a charge. And trying to charge them at that temperature can permanently affect run-time. So, what to do?

    Preserving battery power, as in a Senco Lithium Ion 18 V Battery

    How to Preserve a Li-Ion Tool Battery in Cold Weather:

    1. Store (and charge) batteries within the temperature range recommended by the tool manufacturer. While you can discharge a tool battery in extreme cold, charging it in freezing temps (32°F or colder) is a no-no. You may not see the damage, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening inside the battery.

    2. If a Li-Ion battery has fallen below 40°F, place it in a room-temperature area for an hour or two and let it warm up. What is room temperature? About 72°F, give or take a few digits.

    3. Optimal temps aren’t always available job sites. When not using the Li-Ion tool battery in cold weather, remove it and place in a pants pocket to transfer some body heat to the battery. Another option is to use a gel warmer in the tool bag while it’s in the work car/truck.

    4. Don’t let a Li-Ion battery completely discharge before re-charging it. Unlike older battery types, Li-Ion doesn’t need to be completely drained/re-charged. Li-Ion batteries suffer from little to no “memory effect,” or low-charge capacity when continually charged from a partially charged state.

    5. Once you start to feel power lagging, swap out the battery with a spare and recharge the first one. Having a few spare batteries on hand will keep you powered up. Yes, you should have a spare battery. And yes, we sell those at Nail Gun Depot.

    6. When it’s time to store the battery for an extended period, leave 40% to 50% life in it. This helps keep it stable and keeps the circuit protection operational. Store the battery in a cool (40°F to 60°F), dry area on a plastic or wood (not metal) shelf. 


     

    Shop Cordless Tools

    cordless nailerscordless staplers and accessories, and cordless screw guns

    Shop Batteries

    Metabo HPT (Hitachi) batteries, Dewalt batteries, Senco batteries, and Bostitch batteries

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  • 10 Surprising Facts About Wood

    Recently, we were asked what type of nailer to use with a specific wood. And it got us thinking—what about wood? We talk a lot about tools and fasteners, but not so much about the actual material we use to build, make and play. So we compiled 10 interesting tidbits about wood. After all, where would we be without pine for lumber, or the hickory bats used in America’s favorite pastime? So, let’s take a swing and learn a few things.

    A Wooden Bridge Over a Creek

    Here are 10 Cool Facts About Wood:

     

    1. Trees not only absorb water, they filter and produce it. A single tree can absorb up to 100 gallons of water and release it into the air—in a day.

    2. There are more than 23,000 types of trees. They’re broadly divided into two groups—hardwood and softwood.

    3. The terms “hardwood” and "softwood” can be a bit misleading, as they don’t necessarily refer to the strength of the wood, but rather how the tree propagates. Hardwood trees are deciduous, have enclosed seeds and lose their leaves in a season. Most softwoods are evergreen with their seeds residing in cones. 

    4. Cedar, pine, fir, and other softwoods make up approximately 80% of the lumber used in construction, including framing and roofing. (Shop our framing or roofing tools and fasteners here). Softwoods are fast growing, more easily worked, and feature a wide grain.

    Image of Wooden Flooring

    5. Often used for carving, oak is extremely durable but difficult to work. It has a high tannin content, which makes it resistant to attack by insects. Take a wild guess at America's national tree.

    6. Oak and southern yellow pine (SYP) are the two most common woods used in pallet making. (See our tools for pallet and crate assembly.) 

    7. A softwood, cedar is used to make roof shingles. Easily sawed and nailed, cedar is a good insulator and it's resistant to humidity.

    8. Some of the most common natural woods used in flooring include the hardwoods maple, cherry, and oak. Other popular choices are teak and walnut. Click here to shop flooring tools and fasteners.)

    9. Native to North America, the Douglas fir is the traditional choice of Christmas trees. Other popular types include Scotch pine, cypress, cedar, and Colorado blue spruce.

    10. A 12-ton Norway spruce was used for the 2018 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. After the holidays, the wood will be cut into pieces, kiln dried and milled. The finished beams will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

    Closeup of a Christmas Tree and Light

    Need a fun project for using leftover pallet wood? Habitat posted some steps for making a pallet Christmas tree. If anyone decides to try it, please post about it, below!

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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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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  • The Year in Review - Our Top 10 Blog Articles of 2018

    Nail Gun Network's Best of 2018

    As the year begins to wind down, it's time to reflect, and review the stuff our readers found most interesting. Below are our Top 10, most-read articles of the year. If you missed any, just click the links to get caught up! And thank you for being a loyal reader.

    1 The Difference Between Siding VS. Framing Nail Guns

    There’s no denying our article on these the two large-bodied nail guns drew a lot of interest. Siding and framing nailers may look similar, but they do serve different purposes—and take different fastener lengths. In February, we explained why the two are occasionally interchangeable, and why it’s sometimes better to invest in the right tool for the job.

    2 Hitachi Power Tools To Become Metabo HPT

    Next on our list was the announcement that Hitachi’s huge re-branding, announced in March. After being acquired by an investment firm, they sought to differentiate themselves, changing their name to Metabo HPT, as well as ushering in a new logo. While the name and face have changed (and part numbers, FYI), be assured their product quality will remain the same.
    Many fans of Hitachi had feelings about the change. If you did, share them in the comments!

    3 Do Systainer Air Compressors Stack Up To Competition?

    In March, we looked at how some of the new Systainer air compressor systems stacked up, and you took notice. Both Cadex and Rolair came out with their own competing takes on the sleek setups. Making air compressors more rugged and mobile sounds like an all-around good idea. In this article, we looked at the cost and convenience of upgrading and whether was a “square deal.”

    4 Easy Tips To Install Shiplap

    And you thought the trend of applying rustic wood siding to walls (and ceilings!) had already sailed. Turns out the popular home design treatment is still cruising along. After all, the look has a timeless appeal, and with the right tools, installing shiplap makes for a very doable home improvement project. In this August blog article, we offered up some tips for completing your own ship-shape shiplap project.

    Framing Nailer And Tools of 2018

    5 Installing Subfloors: Nails Vs. Screws

    For subflooring applications, we weighed the pros vs. cons of using one fastener over another. We compared aspects of speed, cost, durability and holding power. The battle of nails vs. screws continues, though a relatively new nail-screw hybrid may throw an interesting wrench into the debate.

    6 How to Load: Top Vs. Bottom-Loading Staple Guns

    Early in the year, we covered a seemingly simple topic—how to load your staple gun. For wood and upholstery professionals, the pneumatic staple gun is the tool of choice, but staples are some of the most confounding fasteners. The where and why of loading isn’t always so obvious, especially to the first-time staple gun user. In this post, we supplied simple step-by-steps for getting your stapler ready for work.

    7 Is Hitachi's Cordless Pin Nailer A Game Changer?

    Before shaking up the industry with their massive re-branding, Hitachi introduced an exciting new tool for the year—the 100% battery-powered NP18DSAL 23 gauge cordless pin nailer. The ability to drive 3,000 pins per charge at a rate of 2-3 pins per second was news. We were intrigued by the tool’s features, including its no-push sequential firing. Apparently, so were our readers. Did you invest in the Hitachi (we mean Metabo HPT) nailer? If so, let us know in the comments.

    8 Under Pressure — PSI, CFM & Air Fittings Explained

    Do you know how your air compressor works? Or what the PSI of your tool means? We're not here to judge. We see the acronyms all the time, but don’t always have time to investigate. In our July article on common air compressor and air tool specs, we did so. Because the more you know…

    9 Paslode Hardienails: No Studs Required

    Fiber cement siding is not a new application. In fact, it’s been around for more than 100 years. But a durable new fastener, made of stainless steel, may significantly upgrade the installation process. And the bonus part—you don’t need to fasten the nails to the studs, relieving siding installers from several time-consuming parts of the process.

    10 Top Cold Weather Nail Gun Accessories

    Our final top-10 post of 2018 happens to have very good timing. Last winter, we suggested some must-have tools and accessories for working in cold weather. Let’s face it—just because we feel like going into hibernation mode, doesn’t mean work comes to a grinding halt. With the right tool oil, fuel cell and hose, you can maintain the same level of efficiency. In this article, we offered up some tips on how to keep your tools up to speed, even when the Fahrenheit takes a dive.

    Planning any big (or even small) projects this winter? Let us know!

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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