Pin nailer

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Established Member
20 Nov 2007
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Hi all,

I’m getting my “workshop” up and running and starting to build some cabinets, project 1 is some bookcases for the kids.

Anyway I’d like to buy a nail gun for attaching backs and pinning on mouldings etc, but am completely confused by

1st fix 2nd fix

Can anyone tell me the tool I’m actually after ? I own Makita cordless tools so if there’s one in that brand I’d be keen but not adverse to a corded of any brand (I don’t make enough stuff to spend a lot)

Budget I think will top out at £100

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Smaller the gauge, bigger the nail.

First fix is the bit between the doing the foundations and putting up plaster when constructing a building. Any nail gun designed for this isn't going to be a lot of use when making furniture.

Second fix is from plastering to completed building.

I have a Ryobi One+ 18g nailer, works well but now, I rarely use it. I'm using clamps and weights more. Occasionally for securing backs to things but less and less now. It's on amazon now at ~£130 but that's without a battery/charger.

Cordless are going to cost a bit more.

Air nailers are cheap(er) and you can always use the compressor for other things too.

First fix means before plastering. Second fix is after plastering. So first fix is bigger rougher work such as studwork, door linings, and so on. Second fix is skirtings, architraves, trim, cupboard fixtures & fittings and so on. A first fix nail gun would smash a bookshelf to pieces in a few seconds.

What's wrong with a pin hammer and some pins/ brads? Are you going into production?
I'm guessing at "making cordless" being a automiscorrect for "Makita cordless"? Makita do make some cordless nailers but they are all £300+ without batteries.

They do a 23 gauge pin nailer which uses tiny itty bitty nails which are for holding bits of trim in place while the glue dries and are pretty much invisible... so long as they sink below the surface which doesn't happen all the time.

I think they do a 16 guage one too which would handle skirting and such like. That could be one for bookcase backs (although 18 guage would be slightly better IMO) if you had to use one. But, unless you're banging out bookcases, I'd opt for predrilling and screwing over banging in nails. The reason being nails can and do follow their own path (the grain) and can blow out the sides. I guess you could predrill and nail but screws just give you that extra holding power, can be removed easily if needed and are just more controllable.

Pretty much any cordless nailer is going to run you over budget. The Ryobi 18g one is good for the money but that'll still take you over 200 with batteries and then there's the cost of nails of various lengths on top.
For cabinetry and smaller finish work anything bigger than 18g is no use, and even 18g is too big for a lot of things.

It’d mean running an additional battery system but the Ryobi 23g pin nailer gets surprisingly decent reviews and is significantly cheaper than the Makita version. No idea about long term durability though.
I've edited the original post to correct my fat fingered typing on the phone ! And thanks for the terminology masterclass, it's one of the dangers of google / youtube that people use varying words to describe the same / similar things.

Yes so it was Makita, but £300 is way outside of my budget, so I'll carry on digging, but now better informed so thank you all. The compressor has occurred to me but i'm not sure what other uses i'd have for it, plus not keen on adding more noise to the "workshop" (it stays in inverted commas as its a garage with my tools in it!)

And Mike yes you've got a point on the pin nailer, but weirdly i get a lot of enjoyment out of adding to my tools - sometimes with not a great amount of justification :)

thanks again

LarryS":1r8629qd said:
would this do the job ? Conscious its only 18ga which may be too big ?


If thére is a screw fix close enough to collect and return, give it a try.
Keep the receipt as electric nail guns usually fail very quickly
Regarding attaching the backs to cabinets; I always pre-drill and screw these on.
The remedial work required to reattach a relatively thin flexible back on to a fitted unit is huge and their potential for coming loose is very high.

People have a tendency to shove things to the back of a cupboard/wardrobe/bookcase which when they hit the back panel can pop pin nails straight out. You could glue the back on as well but then you have to deal with the inevitable squeeze out and make sure that the gluing surfaces don't get any finish on them so the glue will stick.

Screwing them on takes a little longer but it is soon done once you fall into a rhythm and IMO the confidence in the finished product is worth it.
Well, I glue and pin back panels in place using a hammer and pins. It takes seconds and I've never had one come adrift in god knows how many decades I've been faffing about making stuff.
I used Paslode for a while but they were just so unreliable.

Then I went to Bostitch compressor & guns for pinning nailer and brad nailer (I think they are the terms). Not that expensive but haven't missed a beat, and a huge saving on gas cylinders. And reliable, I've just finished tongue & groove panelling in a largish outhouse using the brad nailer, not one single jam! Same for the pinner in my kitchen. I would certainly recommend.

My investment in cordless has been 18V Dewalt and I obviously looked at Dewalt nailers. Sure, they are good but very expensive and very heavy. I think the advantage of air guns is there is nothing to them and therefore are very light to handle.
Another vote for air powered. I already had a compressor so it was a no brainer for me. I've got a makita 18g and a 23g pinner. I find the pinner very handy if you're fitting some awkward to clamp mouldings. Last thing I used it on was an old fire surround that had lots of little trim pieces that had come loose or fallen off - wipe of glue and a couple of pins and its a near invisible repair.
I’ve got a combination 18g nailer/stapler from Aldi and a Bostich 23g pinner. All air powered. For wardrobe/shelf backs I tend to glue and staple them in, staples being much stronger than nails. I rarely use the 18g brads but the 23g pins are useful from time to time as they are virtually invisible if sunk below the surface. Great for shelf lippings while the glue cures.
thanks all, really appreciate the input. Air powered i'm not so keen on due to space (a lack of) and a concern about noise, but i'm going to do some more digging / youtube investigations

I have a couple of air nailers, 18g and 23g, the 23g is good for holding small trims while the glue sets and the 18g more for where some fixing strength is needed. My old compressor was very noisy so I bought a small & light quiet one from Aim tools, which I hardly notice is running. It's good for the nailers and car tyres but would be no use for spraying. ... -xdw550-9l
LarryS":obx57ldb said:
thanks all, really appreciate the input. Air powered i'm not so keen on due to space (a lack of) and a concern about noise, but i'm going to do some more digging / youtube investigations


I had air nailers and pinners and they worked ok. However, like you, I lacked space and the compressor I bought stated it should be kept away from dusty environments so a woodworking shop was hardly the place for it. I found I used it so rarely that it really was a pain hauling it out of the studio each time I needed it, waiting for the compessor to come to readiness for the sake of a couple of pins to hold something in place till glue cured. The Stanley one I linked to in my previous post is ready to use the second I plug it into the mains, no noise, no waiting, no worrying about dust getting where it shouldn'y and sits in a nice little case which can be kept anywhere when not in use.
Just to add another vote for the ‘simple’ electric nail gun - I’m also a beginner/novice but borrowed my brother in law’s Stanley gun a few months back and was pretty pleased with the results. It’s capable of up-to 25mm nails and some reasonably chunky staples etc. that would suit arts & craft type projects (fabric seat covers, picture frames etc.)

What I actually ended up doing for another project recently was buying my own gun after a little rummage through the online reviews I took a chance on theTitan-ttb517stp model from Screwfix.

It’s a physically larger animal than the Stanley and there’s definitely a knack to getting the nail sufficiently driven home (hand placement + level pressure above the head (hammer) ) but it’s surprisingly competent - can also confirm that it does indeed have both the physical recess/capacity & the actual markings for upto 32mm brad nails which is a nice bonus :wink:

It won’t win any design awards, is not a smooth or really pleasant tool to use for any length of time but for change out of £40 (once you’ve bought a few boxes of nails) it’ll get through all the jobs a home workshop/DIY user could ever need I should think.

Hope it helps

Just to add a quick ‘explainer’ I wrote for a vid I haven’t made yet...

First fix (aka framing nailer - American??)
2.8mm thick nails from ~50mm - ~90mm, usually paper-collated. Construction use, stud walls ('framing') etc...

Second fix (aka 'finish' nailer)
16g (1.2mm) 32 - 63mm long, stripnails, can be straight or angled. Used for e.g. skirtings and architraves i.e. where the nails are visible and the 'finish' is important.

Pin gun (aka brad gun or bradder)
18g (1mm) 15-50mm long, stripnails. Mouldings and general purpose pinning e.g. while glue sets.

Also 21g (0.8mm) 'veneer pinner' and 23g (0.6mm) 'headless pinner' 15-30mm long for very delicate work, fine mouldings etc...

For the method of firing, there’s air powered (compressor) gas (eg paslode) mains electric, and battery/cordless. It gets a bit confusing because eg the gas powered guns also need a battery for ignition, and the battery/cordless guns are mostly air powered - they just have a tiny compressor inside that runs off the battery...

Personally I would run - don’t walk, run - away from anything branded Tacwise; I’ve wasted too much time, energy effort and money on their products over the years. I might still have one of their nailer/staplers somewhere - you’re welcome to it if I can find it, but I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

I also glue & staple the backs on cabinets, unless it’s at the base of an alcove shelf ie an unsupported bottom edge, in which case I’ll put in a couple of screws as well.

I have a Maestri mains electric 18g nailer/stapler that’s bulletproof, but not cheap. Also a 21g spotnails pin gun that’s decent, though I wish I’d bought the 23g. Also have the Ryobi Air Strike cordless 16g nailer (not impressed) and the narrow crown stapler, which is much better ; apparently the 18g Ryobi cordless is much more like the stapler, so may be worth a look.

If budget’s a concern then don’t discount the idea of eg the Aldi cordless mailer/stapler; I don’t have one, but the guys I know who do, reckon it’s decent.

And I guess the take-away from this is that if you’re doing a variety of work, you’ll need a variety of nailers; one size won’t fit all, though an 18g nailer/stapler is probably a decent starting point.