COMPONENTS & HARDWARE
Brad or finish nails?
Brad nails are formed from a fine
18-gauge wire, while finish nails are
made from heavier 16- or 15-gauge wire.
Finish nails are the correct choice
for fastening larger crown and baseboard trim, while brad nails are used
to install smaller trim to help prevent
splitting with less touch-up work after
the nailing is done.
The brad nail also has a smaller
head, which may not need to be concealed with carpenter’s putty; when
a nail is not puttied over, it’s called a
“shiner.” The brad shiner is so small, it
can be difficult to notice.
The driven finish nail is almost al-
Finish nailers: angled or straight?
ways puttied over to conceal the shiner
because it leaves a more visible hole
in the wood surface. Again, for larger
and heavier mouldings the finish nail
is the correct fastener to use because
it offers more support and withdrawal
resistance than the brads.
The angled magazine is popular for
its maneuverability into tight places.
The straight magazine finish nailers
are not as maneuverable, but they
do drive a slightly thinner 16-gauge
square-head nail, which may mean less
wood splitting with smaller mouldings.
The square-head nail is not as appeal-
When do I need a block out
ing as the true brad-head nail, but it
does a cleaner job on MDF mouldings
because the square-head helps prevent
the cratering (puckering), which may
occur with the true brad-head nail.
A block-out device (aka: nail guide assembly) is an assembly of parts that will
help prevent jamming problems when
FAQs on fasteners
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Fastening tool. Photo: Senco
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