If you are a DIY enthusiast, and you love to take on woodwork projects and take care of the minor finishing needed around the house – a brad nailer just might be your best friend.
But before you start working with one, it is crucial to know how to use a brad nailer. Whether you have used one before, you should always follow the best practices of using them for making woodwork projects of the finest quality and also for your safety.
Here we will discuss everything you need to know about brad nailers.
What Is a Brad Nailer?
Brad nailers are a specialized type of nail gun that uses brads. They are the perfect tools for attaching small trims or moldings to any kind of woodwork around the house.
Moreover, brads are much thinner versions of nails that come in varied sizes. They are very lightweight but have significant attaching power. Because of the thinner gauge of the brad nails, they don’t leave big marks or holes in your wood.
Types of Brad Nailers
If you don’t already own one, you should learn more about brad nailers before buying one. A reliable branded device will last you a good portion of your lifetime.
Brad nailers generally come in 2 variants –
1. Pneumatic Brad Nailers: These use compressed air to fire the brads. A pneumatic brad nailer will also require you to have an air compressor. These are the most commonly available.
2. Electric Brad Nailers: The more modern versions of brad nailers are battery-powered electric machines. They have air compressors attached to the body.
Things to Know Before You Start
Before you start using your brad nailer, there are a few things you should always be mindful of. We will elaborate on the most important ones down below.
- Supported Brad Size: While most modern brad nailers support all sizes of brads, it is good to make sure that your device supports the size of brads you will need to use.
- Loading Brads into the Magazine: Brads come in tightly knit stacks similar to those of stapler pins. When loading them into the magazine, make sure the tail end faces the direction of the muzzle.
- Air Hose Fit: If you have a pneumatic brad nailer, make sure the air nozzle fits the air hose coming out of your air compressor. The fit should be completely airtight.
- Maintenance: Once every 500 brads are fired, you should drop 2-3 drops of pneumatic tool oil into the air nozzle and connect the nailer to the compressor. This will lubricate the mechanism inside well and keep things running smoothly.
How to Use a Brad Nailer?
If you follow the tips detailed here, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and keep your wood projects and your body safe from any harm.
Choosing the Brads’ Size
Using the correct sized brads makes a world of difference. A good rule of thumb is to use brads of double the length as the thickness of the trim or stock you are trying to attach.
Don’t try to put brads in near the edge of the piece of molding or trim you are using as it most likely will cause the wood to split.
Be Wary of Metal
Brads aren’t sturdy enough to penetrate metal. Never try to attach anything to metallic surfaces using a brad nailer. It will crumple up the brad and may cause a blockage.
Don’t Use Brads for Structural Work
Remember, brads are only for attaching lightweight objects. Don’t use brads for anything that needs to bear a considerable load – it won’t hold.
Understand the Required Air Pressure
For a brad nailer, the best air pressure setting range from 60 PSI to 100 PSI, depending on the material you are working with. Understanding when to work with higher and lower pressure is very important.
Understand the Depth Settings
The depth settings on a brad nailer dictate how deep you will be driving your brads in. As brads are generally used for thin plywoods or trims, driving the brads in too deep will cause them to penetrate through the ply.
You should tinker around with the depth setting and do some practice runs with scraps to get comfortable with the different depth presets.
Don’t Bruise the Wood
You can bruise the wood you are working with if you jam down too hard with the nailer. Instead, hold it down gently and only push until the safety is all the way in.
Don’t Angle Your Nailer Too Much
While you can angle the gun slightly, the best way to use it is straight down or forward. If you have to angle the brads for whatever reasons, make sure it is not more than 15 to 20 degrees.
If the angle is too large, the fired brad might bounce off the surface and fly through the room. Loose shooting brads can cause serious harm to other people or objects in the vicinity.
If you are trying to do a freestanding project with brad nails, be sure to use wood adhesives. Using adhesives, along with brads, will make the final product much sturdier.
Interior Trim Attachment Technique
When you are attaching trims to your house interior, make sure to drive the brads in the studs in the wall. You can use a stud finder to assist you with this process.
Working with Narrow Stock
Attaching trims or ply to a narrow piece of wood with your brad nailers requires a bit of finesse. Brad nails can sway in a V-pattern and curve out the sides of the wood.
To prevent this, you should always hold the nailer perpendicular to the piece of wood. This will ensure that there’s still wood in the direction the brads can sway.
Following proper safety protocols are extremely important. You should never try to skip any of these safety protocols because you are in a rush, or you feel confident with a brad nailer.
1. Always Wear Safety Goggles
You should always wear a sturdy pair of safety goggles whenever you are working with your brad nailer or any power tool for that matter.
2. Keep Your Hands Away from the Nailing Point
Ensure that your hand or fingers are not anywhere near the bottom, top, or side of the point where you are trying to nail. Keep your hands a few inches behind the point and keep a steady grip.
If you can’t keep a hold without your hands getting in the way, consider purchasing a clamp.
3. Check the Magazine
Before loading in different sized brads, make sure to look at the top of the magazine where it meets the firing muzzle to see if a brad is still loaded in.
4. Disconnect Air Compressor When You Aren’t Nailing
If you are loading new brads, cleaning your magazine, or doing anything other than nailing with your brad nailer, you should detach the air compressor hose.
Now that you know about all the tips and guidelines about how to use a brad nailer, you can get started on working with all the wooden applications around your house with confidence.