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Thread: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm building painting frames from pieces of maple moulding. I currently have a Paslode FS18-200 nailer/stapler and it has been leaving holes as large as staples even though I've been using nails. I think the problem is that it is a combination nailer, which is why it makes the holes. Anyway, now I don't know whether I need to buy a brad or finish nailer for these kinds of jobs. I want a nailer that leaves small holes that won't be seen when I stain it. Any Suggestions?


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Kingston, ON

    Default Re: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    Hi, OutinCalgary,

    I've both a 2" 18 gauge brad nailer and a 2" 23 gauge pinner that I use on all sorts of such work. The pinner leaves such small holes as to be nearly (but not completely) invisible when painted or stained, however doesn't provide much strength as the pins are of such small gauge. I'm not sure how large your frames are nor how much stress the canvas places on such framing, so if you could provide us that info it may help us with providing some suggestions.
    Marty Schlosser
    Maker of fine wood shavings in Kingston, ON
    and member of Kingston Woodworkers Association (

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Waubaushene, ON
    Real Name

    Default Re: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    I have a 15 gauge finishing nailer along with 18 gauge brad nailer and 23 gauge pin nailer. The only thing I use the 15 gauge nailer for is installing crown moulding. It shoots 2 1/2 inch nails that work better when aiming for the top plate . Other than that, a good 18 gauge brad nailer is probably my most used nailer. I've built entire cabinets with brads and glue. My pin nailer is useful, though not as much

  5. #4

    Default Re: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    If you are doing any quanitity of these a V nailer would be what you want. these are available as stationary machines as well as handheld. If small volume 23g pinner works well as a clamp to let the glue dry or if you need more strength 21g pins are available through speciality fastner suppliers.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    i'm not sure what you mean by "painting frames", ?picture frames that yu want to paint, ? frames applied to doors that you want to paint? ? window or door frames that you want to paint?

    Requirements are different for each of them..

    Picture frames, V-nails suck things in tight from the back, larger frames you can use face frame biscuits and a 23 ga pin to hold them in place. LV sells a v-nailer, but you might have to augment it tosecurely hold the frames, depending on size and shape

    Frames to be applied to doors, 23 ga, just remember to press em tight and then toe-nail them for max bite.. 15,16,18 ga is overkill into 1/8" doorskins 23 ga is what I'd use most times, but maybe not for exterior solid core doors.

    Window/door frames, 18ga is standard, and ya yer gonna have to fill the holes.

    I ain't familiar with that pasload model, but some of them have adjustments, or tip covers that preven large divits in the wood. Check yer instruction manual. There may be adjustments you ain't tuned into yet! Perhaps even dropping air pressure.

    And even with 23 ga pins, tiny as they is and with little mechanical strength, the holes may still flash out in the finish.

    Just gotta make it look good eh!


  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Brad Nailer or Finish Nailer?

    So I'm taking maple baseboards and layering them on top of one another to create a frame for a painting (similar to this but I'm using more intricate baseboards:
    I also plan on making a sideboard so it sounds like I'd get the most use from an 18 gauge brad nailer (with some wood glue). Does the 18 guage brad nailer leave large holes, or are they as big as the nailhead?

    Thanks for all the help everyone!


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