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Demos & Comparisons
Demos & Comparisons
  • Degrees of Difference: Framing Nail Gun Angles

    Clipped head, wire coil, plastic strip. Framing nail guns come in a wide range of types and collations. Ever wonder what's the deal with all the framing nailer angles? Never fear. From 15-degree to 34-degree nailers, we've got the angle on framing guns.

    The first thing to know is that the angle degree refers to the nail collation, not the slant that the nail is driven. Nails are driven straight or perpendicularly into a surface. The second thing you should know is that the framing nailer degree you need may depend on the geographic location of your project. More on that later. 

    Hitachi NV83A5

    15-Degree Framing Nailers

    There are two main kinds of framing nailer—stick and coil collation. All framing nailers in the 15-degree group are wire-coil collated. This means that their nails are held together by two thin wire strips and slanted at a 15-degree angle. The nails themselves have a fully round head and the collation is circular in shape. More often than not, the full-round-head nail that these nailers drive is the preferred head shape for building code.

    The main benefit to the coil-style framing nail gun is that it can access floor joists, wall studs, and the tight corners often found in framing applications. The other benefit is the amount of fasteners the magazine can hold. The Metabo HPT (formerly Hitachi) NV83A5M (shown above), for instance, holds 200-300 nails. That means less stopping to reload, which is great for extended work. A bonus benefit, the wire coil collation is not as harshly affected by moisture, as is the case with paper collation. If you work in a wet climate, that's a definite plus.

    The downside? Holding all of those fasteners adds weight, which can be strenuous for large projects, especially when working overhead. Another thing to consider is that full-head wire coil nails are mainly sold in 3,000-count quantities.

    Stats: Full-round head nails. Wire coil collation.

    A 21-degree framing nailer, the Dewalt DWF83PL Framing Nailer

    21-Degree Framing Nail Guns

    This type of framing nailer magazine angle typically varies between 20-22-degrees, depending on the manufacturer. Generally, a three-degree variance allows the user some leeway in angle choice. Similar to the 15-degree coil nailers, the 21-degree framing nailer drives a full-round head nail. The difference at this angle is the collation type, with nails held together by plastic strip, as opposed to wire coil.

    These framing nail guns can hold approximately 60 to 70 nails, so not as many fasteners as the 15-degree nailer, meaning more reloads. Their increased magazine angle, however, gives better access to tight corners. Check out the Dewalt DWF83PL (above), for example.

    The plastic strip that holds the nails together breaks apart when the nail is fired. You can expect there to be small pieces of plastic flying out, so you definitely need protective glasses during use. There will also be small pieces of debris littering the work area, which might require cleanup.

    Stats: Full-round head nails. Plastic strip collation. 

    A 28-Degree Angled Framing Nailer, the Bostitch F28WW

    28-Degree Framing Nailers

    On the other hand, 28-degree framing nailers are collated by wire strip. The nails come either as full-round offset head, or clipped-head. To save magazine space, and thus create a more compact tool, the nails of 28-degree framing nailers are “nested” closely together, so their heads overlap somewhere.

    The Bostitch F28WW framing nailer (above) holds 100 nails and drives 2" to 3-1/2" framing nails that are wire strip collated. Some building codes do not permit clipped head or offset-head type nails, so check first before buying.

    Stats: Full-round offset or clipped-head nails. Wire strip collation. 

    Example of a 30-degree angle framing nailer, the Senco FramePro 325XP

    30-Degree Framing Nailers

    These framing nail guns come angled from 30- to 34-degrees. The angle of the degree being the greatest, they provide the greatest access to tight angles in framing applications. A popular framing nailer in this segment is the Senco FramePro 325XP, shown above, which drives 2" to 3-1/4" paper collated strip nails.

    Initially, 30-degree framing nailers were made by Paslode. This degree of nailer was created to fire their RounDrive offset full-round head nails. The nails are collated by paper strip. A popular model, the Paslode F350P PowerMaster Pro (below) has a two-strip, 88-nail capacity magazine.

    The Paslode F350P PowerMaster Pro, a 30 degree framing nailer angle

    The collation for this degree of framing gun is paper strip, with most nail magazines designed to hold two strips of nails, for less reloading. Paper strip nails are easier to store and leave less mess than plastic collation, but are prone to failure if introduced to moisture. 

    Stats: Full-round offset or clipped-head nails. Paper strip collation.

    Final Note(s) on Framing Nailer Degree

    In construction, some areas of the country may require a specific framing nail collation or nail head type to pass building code. In places that see more dramatic weather activity (hurricanes, for example), the codes often call for a full-round head nail, which has a greater pull-through resistance. Always check with local building regulations to determine the nail type you need before buying.

    Make sure the nails you buy fit the manufacturer’s wire gauge and length specifications. Some nailers claim you can only use the brand’s specific nails. There may be some truth to this, depending on the type of driver blade the nailer has. Drivers come in round, crescent or T-shaped driver types. Typically speaking though, most nail guns will run other brands of nail with no issue, assuming the nail collation and size matches the tool's required specifications.

    Another thing to consider before shopping framing nail guns, is ease of finding the correct collated fastener for your nailer. Look to Nail Gun Depot for the best deals on collated nails, from 20-degree to 34-degree framing nails.


     

    Shop Nail Gun Depot:

    15-Degree Wire Coil Framing Nailers

    21-Degree Plastic Strip Framing Nailers

    28-Degree Wire Strip Framing Nailers

    30-Degree RounDrive Paper Tape Framing Nailers

    30-Degree Paper Tape Framing Nailers

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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.

     


     

    Shop Nail Gun Depot:

    All Collated Gun Nails

    Coil Framing Nails

    Plastic Strip Framing Nails

    Paper Stick Framing Nails

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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.


     

    Shop Cordless Nail Guns at Nail Gun Depot

     

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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.

     


     

    Shop Power Tools On Nail Gun Depot

    Shop Metabo HPT MultiVolt Tools & Accessories

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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.


     

    Shop Collated Screws

    Senco Duraspin Collated Screws

    Quik Drive Collated Screws

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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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  • Fasten-Ating Facts: 6 Stainless Steel Fastener Myths

    With nature's most recent onslaughts, we're reminded of the need for fortitude in our structures, and dependability from the fasteners that secure them. Stainless steel fasteners outlast the elements better than other fasteners, and offer corrosion resistance where others don't.

    In addressing 6 myths about this durable metal, we uncover the qualities that make stainless steel fasteners among the most reliable you can buy.

    Families of Stainless Steel Fastener

    Myth 1. Stainless Steel Fasteners are coated.

    Stainless steel is a solid material throughout. In fact, it’s a self-healing metal, which means that if the surface is scratched, the metal naturally creates a transparent, protective layer. The process is known as self-passivation, and the protective layer is chromium oxide. This outer layer keeps the metal beneath from corroding.

    Some stainless steel fasteners are treated to a passivation process. The can involve putting fasteners through an acid bath that removes iron from the nail's surface, followed by an oxidizer to force conversion of chromium into an oxide form. This is done to mimic the nature self-passivation process in order to immediately enhance the corrosion resistance of the fastener.

    Myth 2 - Stainless Steel Doesn't Stain.

    The name “Stainless Steel" is actually a bit deceiving. Grease can leave its mark, minerals like calcium carbonate can build up (think of an old shower head), and hydrochloric acid, for example, can eat away at steel.

    Keep in mind that while stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, it’s not corrosion-proof (no metal is). Once it oxidizes, stainless steel does corrode, but at a much slower rate than other metals.

    Stainless Steel Fastener Myths

    Myth 3. Stainless Steel is a “pure” metal.

    Like many metals, including brass and bronze, steel is not an element itself. Rather, it’s an alloy or mix of metals. Regular steel consists of iron + carbon, often with other elements added to achieve desired characteristics. Steel is a strong material, but it’s also prone to rust.

    In 1913, Harry Brearly discovered that adding a specific mix of chromium to steel made it resistant to the effects of certain acids. The element chromium is added (at least 10%) to regular steel to make it stain-resistant.

    Myth 4. All stainless steel is the same.

    There are more than 100 grades of stainless steel, each sub-classified into its own “family."

    The most common kind of stainless steel is grade 304, part of the austenitic family, which contain 15 to 30% chromium. Grade 304 stainless steel contains 18% chromium, 8% nickel and a mix of other elements. This versatile material is known as 18/8 stainless, and is typically less expensive than higher-grade stainless steel, as it has less built-in chemical resistance.

    You may also be familiar with the second most common type of stainless steel. Grade 316 stainless steel has a greater portion of nickel--and the addition of molybdenum. Molybdenum is resistant to chloride, making it suitable for areas with exposure to harsh chemicals, salted roadways or coastal environments.

    Myth 5. Stainless Steel is stronger/weaker than regular steel.

    Stainless steel has a low carbon content and can’t be hardened by heat treatment, as regular steel can. So regular, untreated steel isn't as hard as stainless. However, in its hardened state, regular, heat-treated steel is in fact harder than stainless.

    Grades of Stainless Steel Nail

    Myth 6. Galvanized fasteners are just as good as stainless

    Even a well-coated steel nail will corrode before a stainless one. When it corrodes, this can affect the fastener's holding power.

    An added risk, there's the potential that the tool driving the fastener (or other abrasion) will chip the corrosion-resistant coating and prematurely begin the oxidation process. Furthermore, the tannins in certain woods (redwoods and cedar, specifically) and the metals used to treat lumber can react to the galvanized coating in fasteners, expediting corrosion.

    In many applications, including exterior construction, and in climates with humid, marine or extreme weather conditions, stainless steel is simply the optimal choice for fastener. Stainless steel fasteners aren't just used in construction; many boat and automotive upholsterers use stainless steel staples. To learn more about the differences between galvanized and stainless steel fasteners, see our article Everything to Know About Galvanized Nails.


     

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    Stainless Steel Nails

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  • How To Find The Correct Air Staples For A Staple Gun

    Why can’t I order staples for my pneumatic stapler by dimension?

    Unlike nails, staples are often sold by series, which doesn't tell you much about size. Furthermore, staples are not "one-size-fits-most," contrary to most categories of collated nails. Staples are instead measured not only by leg length and wire gauge, but also by crown width.

    Pro Tip: If you’re having trouble deciding on a staple gun, see “Choosing A Staple Gun For Your Project.”

    BeA Heavy Wire Stapler

    Crown Size

    The crown is the bridge, otherwise known as the horizontal part of a staple that joins the legs. Crown sizes are typically segmented into wide, medium and narrow designations. This can become tricky, as some manufacturers measure the inside of the crown, while others measure the outside (or exterior) of the crown.

    Staple crown type can vary by application. For example, some staples come with a flat top, while others have a round or "U-shaped" crown. However, we'll take a closer look at the various crown types in a later article.

    Leg Length

    While a staple series is typically determined by gauge and crown (which we'll cover later in this article), leg length can vary significantly - even within the same series of staple. See the different leg lengths for the 7/16” crown staple, for example, below.

    Staple with measurements

    There are a couple rules of thumb with regard to staple length:

    1. Leg length requirements vary by application type, as well as the base material you are driving the staple into. The staple has to be able to fully penetrate and clasp to form a tight bond.

    2. The longer the staple legs, the greater the hold or withdrawal strength.

    Pro Tip: Never try to force a staple into the wrong tool. Not only can this create a jam, but it could break the staple or damage the tool.

    Getting To The Point

    Most staples have chisel points, which taper to a point on both legs. This lets the staple legs drive directly into the base material.

    Another variation is the divergent-point staple, where the tips taper to opposing points. This forces the legs to bend outward in different directions. Divergent point staples are more difficult to pull out, providing greater holding power.

    Wire Gauge

    As with nails, staples are categorized by different wire gauges or thicknesses. Gauge is determined by the wire diameter, a standard set in the early half of the 20th century by American Wire Gauge standards. It might seem counter-intuitive, but the thinner the wire, the higher the gauge number. The smallest gauge staple wire we carry here at Nail Gun Depot is a 23-gauge staple for upholstery applications, while the largest is 9 gauge for wire fence building.

    Generally speaking, the thicker the wire gauge, the more rugged the application. For finer applications, like fastening upholstery to a furniture frame, a thinner gauge staple is preferable.

    What’s In A Staple Series?

    Finally, let’s talk staple series. Is there a rhyme or reason for the different series numbers?

    In short, yes, it’s true that tool manufacturers want you to use their staples -- and they do make proprietary fasteners to drive the point. Most staple series are determined by the staple's crown size (width) and gauge (thickness).

    One way many manufacturers make staple shopping easier, they may designate a particular "series" of staple that is compatible with their tool. Each staple series makes it easier to find the exact staple you need, without having to know all of the dimensions—or how the crown is measured.

    In order to consistently get the right staples for your tool, rely on the staple gun itself. More often than not, staple dimensions are printed on a staple gun's magazine.

    Types of Air Staple

    Finding The Right Fasteners

    To help you find the right series, we’ve created the Fastener Finder tool on Nail Gun Depot. Just choose your stapler brand/model from the drop-down menu, and we'll do the rest.  Even if you’re using an older model of air stapler, we can help identify the correct staples for your tool.

    Have other questions? Contact us here.

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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  • 10 Tips For Air Tool Safety

    Almost everyone who works in construction has a horror story that involves a power tool. You may have read our January 2014 blog post about a carpenter who accidentally fired a framing nail into his heart. Luckily, he survived the incident, but not without becoming a cautionary tale in Vice magazine.

    According to OSHA, nail gun accidents alone account for tens of thousands of serious injuries each year, and they account for more construction-related injuries than any other power tool. And those are only the reported ones.

    Just because you’re working on a weekend project, or using a lightweight power tool, doesn’t reduce the risk for injury.

    Nail Gun Safety

    Before You Pull the Trigger

    What are the best ways to prevent air tool accidents? Job one is to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. In fact, you should do so before even firing the tool, which we admit is hard to do when a brand new air gun is burning a hole in your tool bag.

    You’ll notice the larger part of a tool’s manual is comprised of warnings; exclamation points in rounded triangles, circles with diagonal slashes through them and occasionally curious illustrations. You’ll see “no horseplay” a lot in user manuals. The warnings are easy to gloss over, but heed them. A power tool mishap can simply ruin your day, or it can shorten your career. Before becoming a statistic, familiarize yourself with the following safety tips.

    Senco Safety

    10 safety tips to follow when using an air tool:

    1. Read the manual.
    2. Wear protective gear, including safety glasses, shoes, gloves, hard hat, face shield, ear plugs, and whatever else the task requires.
    3. Use the right fasteners for the tool. This can prevent damage to the tool as well as accidents down the line.
    4. Maintain your tool, hoses, and compressor. Occasionally inspect tools for damage, replace worn parts and use air tool oil, if need be. RolAir has some great tips for maintaining an air compressor.
    5. Store tools in a dry place and clear off any debris after using. Moisture, dust and fumes can damage tools. Read our blog on How To Avoid Destroying Your Pneumatic Nailer for more information.
    6. Keep a clean work area to avoid tripping and combustion. NEVER blast away debris from a workspace or from skin using a compressor. It can propel metal particles, fragments or chips. Air driven under the skin can cause an embolism. If you clean an object with a compressor, OSHA has specific regulations for protective gear, chip guarding and air pressure (below 30 PSI).
    7. Always use the correct air pressure required for the tool. Check the user manual for guidelines, or learn more about PSI here.
    8. Opt for Sequential over Contact fire. Reserve rapid bump firing for high-volume, high-speed applications. See our video on safe trigger use. Also, respect the rebound. After driving a fastener, allow the tool to recover before for making contact with the surface again.
    9. Keep your finger OFF the trigger until you’re ready to drive a fastener. Always refrain from pointing a tool at anyone.
    10. Turn your tools off when not in use. That includes air nailers, staple guns, air compressors, etc.

    Construction Safety

    Besides ensuring your tool is in working condition, make sure you are, too. Don’t overreach, and avoid alcohol or other substances that can cloud judgment or impair movement. Want to see more? Our friends at Senco have even more great safety tips for using power tools.

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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  • Choosing a Laser Level: Red vs. Green Beam

    If you work in any form of construction, electrical installation, heating and air conditioning installation, even laying tile, you undoubtedly understand the importance of using a laser level on the job site. But, have you noticed the steady transition from red to green laser beams?

    The fact is, green is simply easier to see, but naturally, there’s more to it than that, so let’s have a closer look. Manufacturers, such as the German brand Stabila, have been utilizing green laser technology for a while now. Always innovative, the company uses "Green Beam" technology to enhance the quality of their lasers, as with the LAX50G cross line laser. The tool provides a 30m measuring range, and razor sharp, bright green lines — that are four times brighter than conventional red laser beams.

    So, should you go green or opt instead for red? That depends on several factors, like working conditions, distance requirements and budget.

    Worker Applying Tile Stabila

    Getting The Facts Straight

    You may recall from high-school science class that wavelengths for visible light range approximately from 400 nanometers to 700 nanometers (nm). Visible red light possesses the longest wavelength (about 625 to 740nm), violet is at the other end (380 to 435nm) and green lies right in the middle of the color spectrum at 532 nanometers. Not only is green the easiest color to see, it’s easier to see over a distance, which is important when using a laser level.

    So why are most laser beams red?

    Lasers work using diodes, and in the case of the red diode, they’re simpler to make, more readily available and cheaper than green diodes. When comparing the same laser product, the green laser option has historically been about 25% more expensive than its red counterpart.

    Green Beam Light Comparison Stabila

    Another downside of green lasers, their diodes use more energy. Because they have a higher output, battery life is depleted within a shorter time span. In the first iterations of green lasers, a red diode was actually used, and changed to green light through color conversion. Needless to say, it was an inefficient process.

    Green Beam Technology

    Manufacturers have since improved the technology behind green lasers, to increase battery life and monitor laser temperature. One result is Green Beam technology, which emits a fine green laser line that is four times brighter and 30% sharper than a conventional red line laser.

    Worker Drilling Stabila

    Compare these specs for the same tool with a different color laser; the Stabila LAX300 (red beam) and LAX300G (green). For the original LAX300, the battery run time is 20 hours with a visible measuring range of 20m (65’). For the 300G, the battery run time is 15 hours, but with a longer visible measuring range of 30m (98’). The main difference in the two, of course, is the brightness.

    When To Go Green

    Knowing how effective Green Beam lasers are, why would you choose a red laser? Stabila helps answer this question with the following distance diagram.

    Stabila Distance Diagram

    Essentially, if you’re budget-focused and working mainly indoors (within a range of 66'), a red beam laser is sufficient. For outside work, or when longer range is required (within a distance up to 98’), a green laser is the optimal choice.

    The bright light of the sun can wash out red laser light, so if you plan to work outdoors with a laser level, keep that in mind. Another point to consider, as distance increases, accuracy decreases. For long distance use, Stabila suggests using a laser receiver.

    We say, if you’re looking for an easier-to-see, crisper laser line, go green. Even if the initial cost is a little greater with a Green Beam laser level, it will pay off in the work with clearer lines, greater ease of use and convenience. Not to mention less squinting.

     

    ~ The Nail Gun Depot Team

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