All You Need to Know about Using Your Brad Nailer for the Right Project
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What’s the difference between a brad nailer and a finish nailer?” Or better yet, have you wondered, “What do you use a brad nailer for?” If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’re not alone.
In fact, even some of the experts muddy this explanation with various opinions, but these simple examples should help clear things up and help you choose the right tool for your next project.
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What Is a Brad Nailer?
A brad nailer is a smaller variation of the standard-size finish nailer. This tool is typically used for projects with smaller pieces, such as attaching small moldings and trim to a woodworking project.
The brads used in a brad nailer are typically thinner and smaller than finish nails, making this tool the idea choice for these smaller trim projects that a finish nailer might split.
What Do You Use a Brad Nailer For?
Nails are classified by diameter. The higher the number, the smaller the nail actually is. Brads are made of 18-gauge wire while finish nails are typically made of 15-or 16-gauge wire.
The size of the nail and the speed at which it is directed into the wood make it the perfect option for nailing small, fragile pieces of wood without cracking or splitting them.
As such, brad nailers are best for delicate projects, such as building cabinetry, securing final trim work, and attached window and door casings. This tool can also even be used in small arts and crafts.
Additionally, because the brads are so small, it is typically not necessary to apply any wood putty to the application site, which saves time. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that because the brads are shorter and thinner, they do not have the amount of holding power that larger finish nails do.
What Different Styles of Brad Nailers Are Available?
Traditionally brad nailers are pneumatic, meaning that they require a hose attachment to connect to an air compressor to power the tool. However, more recently, some manufacturers are seeing the advantages of having cordless brad nailers available.
This variety uses a combination of a rechargeable battery paired with a compressed air canister in the tool to provide the power to drive the brad into the wood or other material.
Additionally, until more recent adjustments have been made, brad nailers were primarily of the straight clip variety. This means that the magazine that contains the clips of brads runs perpendicular to the driving cylinder.
However, some manufacturers are now offering options that include an angled nailer, making it easier to fit into tight spaces.
No matter what style you use, it’s important to have the appropriate style brads. Look in the user manual or consult your local hardware store expert to determine precisely what style you need.
Why Should You Use a Brad Nailer Instead of a Finish Nailer?
Because the two tools are so similar, it may be tempting to think that they are interchangeable. While a brad nailer and a finish nailer are consider complementary, they still aren’t the same thing. And it’s important to use them appropriately for that reason.
One of the biggest benefits of brad nailers is that these tools use the thin gauged, small headed brads, which in turn means that you won’t have to use wood putty to cover your holes in most cases.
That may not seem like a big deal to you, but consider this…If you use a finish nailer for a project with light trim, you increase your chance of breaking and splitting the thin pieces of trim you’re trying to install.
This in turn will result in more time wasted having to replace broken trim as well as increased costs due to having to purchase new and replace the existing trim.
A brad nailer should also be used when attaching wood trim to wood. The structure of the wood itself facilitates a more secure attachment without the larger head found on finish nails.
What Is the Best Way to Use a Brad Nailer?
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Now that you understand why or when to use a brad nailer, it’s also important that you know how to use this tool. When beginning your project, it’s important to begin by attaching the brad further in toward the center of the trim or board to avoid splitting the ends of trim pieces.
Spending some time getting to know the different types of wood you’ll be using will also help you get a better feel for how to work with it and the nailer.
Keep in mind that brads may periodically not go all the way through the wood and may end up bending if you try to hammer them. Instead simply remove the brad to continue on with your project.
With the vast number of tools available on the market today, knowing which one to use when can be a challenge.
Follow these tips to use your brad nailer for the right projects and safely and effectively complete your wood-working projects. Be sure to comment below with any remaining questions that you have.