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  1. #1
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    Marvin Watkins (50)
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    2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    Guys,

    I am planning to put up some flat chair rail height molding. It is basically a 1x3 strip with a bead at the top and bottom... simple stuff.

    My question is, "Can I use a 2" 18 guage brad nailer to install it or should I invest in a finish nailer?" This is being installed over standard residential drywall.

    There you go... I will wait to hear what the sage oracles have to say!
    Marvin A. Watkins
    Hillsborough, NC

    Making sawdust when I can...

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    Ethan (42)
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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    An 18g Brad Nailer and a 16g Finish Nailer are two very different tools, though both do a similar task. The 18g Brad Nailer is a smaller and lighter duty nailer, while a 16g Finish Nailer is a larger and heavier-duty nailer (which is quite evident if you set the two nails next to one another).

    If the 2" length is satisfactory and this railing will never have a load placed on it, then the 18g Brad Nailer is a good choice and leaves a fairly small hole. However, if you need either the greater length (2-1/2") or a more robust nail that can hold up to more abuse then the 16g Finish Nailer is the way to go, but it will leave a much larger hole to be filled-in with putty.

  3. #3
    toolferone
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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    A 2" nail will put about 3/4" into the stud. I feel that is cutting it close. If the wall and the molding was really flat (they never are), you might be okay. Maybe a bit of construction adhesive would make up the difference. If you are looking for a reason to buy a new tool/toy, then I would skip the 16g a. and go for the 15g angled nailer. If you already have the 18, then the 16 is not a huge change and it being a straight nailer can be inconvenient. The 15g a angled will easily do what you need, and so much more. If you ever decide to do some larger crown or install other casing, the 15ga is the way to go.

    Of course we all love our own opinions

    Let us know which way you go.

  4. #4
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    Marvin Watkins (50)
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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    I think I see a new 15 ga angled finish nailer in my future.

    Thanks guys.
    Marvin A. Watkins
    Hillsborough, NC

    Making sawdust when I can...

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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    Be aware, though, that a 15g Nailer has a *much* larger nail head that will require considerably more putty and sanding to cover over -- really overkill by most standards for trim work. The 16g Finish Nailer is more than adequate for most trim work (which is what they were made for, hence their name) with 18g Brad Nailers suitable for lighter duty trim and for attaching trim such as quarter-round to baseboards.

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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    I will look at the nail size. Thanks again.
    Marvin A. Watkins
    Hillsborough, NC

    Making sawdust when I can...

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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    I have to respectfully disagree with Tom on one point, namely that there is little difference between an 18g and 16g nailer. A 16g nail is considerably larger than an 18g nail (and an 18g nail is considerably larger than a 21g, etc.). The remaining points we all pretty much agree on.

    My own arsenal consists of (most are Bostitch oiled-type):

    • 23g Pin Nailer
    • 21g Pin Nailer and Brad Nailer (very small brads)
    • 18g Brad Nailer
    • 16g Finish Nailer
    • 1/4" Narrow Crown Stapler
    • ~1/2" Crown Upholstery Stapler


    I will be adding a 15g nailer in the future, but the real reason to upgrade to a 15g nailer is when you are faced with a situation where you need tremendous pullout/tear-out resistance. Whereas the 21g-16g nails are typical finish nails (small narrow heads) the 15g nailer has a much larger nail head, and is a somewhat larger diameter nail.

  8. #8
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    Re: 2" Brad Nailer vs 2 1/2" Finish Nailer

    I agree with Ethan that their is a place for 18, 16 and 15 gauge nailers.

    For interior trim I use a 18 gauge nailer for very small moldings (shoe molding) and pretty much anything that is 1/2" thickness or less. If it is 3/4" or greater add a 1/2" for drywall and I believe the 3/4" from a 2" brad in the stud is simply not enough. This is where I use my 16 gauge angled nailer (yes Dewalt and Paslode at least make them in angled versions) and it is really my goto gun for interior trim. I've even used the 16 gauge for shoe molding in a pinch and it works fine. The nail head is considerably smaller than a 15 gauge and it is much thicker and stronger than an 18 gauge brad.

    That being said an 15 gauge nailer is on my short list for new tools, because one of my home projects this fall will be replacing much of the pine trim on our house with Miratec. This is where a 15 gauge shines, because of the stronger holding power and being on the exterior of the house it is very easy to cover up the larger hole.

    So in summary I use an 18 and 16 gauge for interior trim almost always. 15 gauge for exterior trim, hanging interior doors, stair treads, etc.

    If I was on a budget though I would buy the 18 gauge and the 15 gauge, and just deal with the extra filling from the larger nail holes.

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