How to use brad nailer

Is it tricky to use a brad nailer? Hopefully, by the end of this read, you will have a bit of clarity in terms of using a brad nailer. So basically, a brad nail is just like a finish nailer but it is just a smaller version of that. But it can be used to trim a woodworking project or to attach moldings that are small.

Since the brad nailer is a bit smaller, it can go through the trims that a standard finish nailer cannot go through. This means that if the standard is used, the wood might split. So in instances such as that, the use of a brad nailer comes in a handy. But keep in mind that these two tools do not repel each other, in fact, they can be used together. Just think about them as having a complementary relationship.

Read also our guide about the difference between brad nailer vs finish nailer.

So when a brad nailer comes to mind, immediately think about delicate trim or thins strips of wood and you will be good to go. The catch is, a brad nailer can be a bit tough to nail through. Especially when we are talking about manufactured wood products like medium density firewood (MDF) or plywood. Also, it can be hard to get through that of hardwood.

With that said, let us talk about the things that a brad nailer can do for us.

What is a Brad Nailer?

The wire that is used by a brad nailer is an 18 gauge wire. Obviously, this wire is thinner than common wore sizes like that of a 16 or 15 gauge nail that is for finish nailers that are either pneumatic or powered by a battery. Accordingly, the head of a brad nailer is also thinner, which is actually great because it means that you will just be left with a small nail head once it is driven through the wood.

At the same time, if you are already finished with your woodwork, you do not have to use a lot of wood filler. Some people even do not have to fill the hole as it looks nice already. More than that, its usual lengths are ⅝ in. for up to 1-½ in. Further, they tend to have a lot of holding power.

This is because of their narrow diameter and the short length. Practically speaking, you really cannot hold two blocks of wood together using this type of nail. So just use it for some delicate work. Just like what we said earlier, stick with trimmings and other finishing jobs if you want to make use of a brad nailer.

Styles of Brad Nailer

In general, there are four types of brad nailers and these are the following:

  • Pneumatic
  • Cordless brad nailer
  • Straight clip
  • Angled brad nailer

Definitely, there are still other types but let us just stick with these four popular ones. Let us first discuss the pneumatic one. So the pneumatic kind is the most common type of brad nailer. This is used by utilizing a hose that is attached to an air compressor in order to power the said tool.

On the other hand, a cordless brad nailer is a bit more beneficial and less of an inconvenience because it makes use of a compressed air canister and a battery that is rechargeable in order to power the brad into the wood that you are currently working on. At the same time, it is more portable so you can practically take it anywhere with you.

Moving forward, the straight clip type of brad nailer has an added feature, and that is a magazine. In turn, this magazine will hold all the clips before it is driven into the wood. This is great if you really do not have much space in your tool box for excess nails.

Lastly, the angled brad nailer can be used in relatively tight spaces. Surely, if you are a very handy person, there will be times when you have to work in closed areas and it might be hard to power such a straight tool. This is the time when this certain type will come in handy.

There you have it, the four most common types. It is actually best that you have all of them because even though their main purpose is the same and that is to drive a brad into a thin piece of wood, their purposes and circumstances are actually different. Most definitely, you will find a lot of different uses for them based on your current situation in your woodwork.

Safety Tips

Of course, as we are talking about a construction or woodworking tool, there are certain precautions that will surround the use of such. But you do not have to worry a lot because in general, a brad nailer is safe when you compare it against other tools like that of a finisher and a framer. Again, this is because the nails that it has run much smaller.

But again, it is better to be safe than sorry, right? So just like any other power tool you should exercise diligence in maintaining some safeguards. First off, do not forget to wear glasses or goggles. Next is to not wear loose clothing while you are in the woodworking area. Also, to protect your ears as brad nailers tend to have loud air compressors especially when you are in an enclosed space, you can wear earplugs or ear muffs.

A little tidbit is that brad nailers do not really produce too much noise because they have smaller compressors compared with other tools. But again, the case is different when you are in such close quarters that the noise might echo and just circle around the room. Remember, safety first!

Tips and Tricks for Using Brad Nailers

Here are some tips and tricks on how to effectively use a brad nailer.

Tip to Not Split the Wood

As we have mentioned earlier, a standard nail might split in places where a brad nail can go. However, splitting can also occur especially if you put the nail at the edge or too close at the end of the board. In order to avoid this, you can adjust where you put the nail, probably a bit further across the board. Also, know the type of wood that you are currently working one because some types of wood tend to split easier than others. Therefore, if you already know that the current wood is prone to splitting, you can be more careful in your application of the nail.

Tip to Prevent Unsunk Nail

This is actually a usual problem for brad nails. Due to their thin design, it is a bit harder to pound it all the way through. That is if you are using a standard hammer and regular force. If you force it, they tend to bend and you are left with a bent nail on your board. So instead of working with a bent nail, the best tip is to just remove it altogether.

Start fresh, but this time sink it all the way through in a forceful but gentle manner. How to go about it? Use slow but firm movements. Slowly but surely is the name of the game here. You might be pounding a lot of times compared to a normal nail, but this is a brad that we are talking about, so you just have to work around its gentleness.

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