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A framing nailer (sometimes referred to as a framing gun or a nail gun) is one of the essential tools on any home building site. A quality framing nailer will drive a number of nails into a framing assembly faster than a skilled carpenter can drive one framing nail with a hammer. This speeds up the process of framing a wall (or a house for that matter) exponentially.
Used properly, a framing nailer is a highly-productive woodworking tool.
Used improperly, a framing nailer can be a hazardous piece of equipment that can quickly cause a severe injury.
Types of Framing Nailers:
There are two predominant types of framing nailers: pneumatic framing nailers and cordless framing nailers. A pneumatic framing nailer requires an air compressor to deliver air to the tool via a length of hose. When the pneumatic framing nailer drives a nail, the compressed air from the hose drives a piston which in turn drives the nail into the wood.
The cordless framing nailer works much in the same way, but the pressure to drive the piston typically comes from a disposable compressed air canister that fits inside of the nailer. This canister, in combination with a battery to help activate the charge, drives a predetermined number of nails before it must be replaced with a fresh canister.
While the pneumatic framing nailer tends to be faster, one has to contend with the tether of a hose to the air compressor (not to mention that the air compressor has to have a big enough tank to keep the pressure-hungry framing nailer fed with air), while the cordless unit can require a couple of seconds of preparation time before it is ready to fire, and one has the added expense of buying compressed air canisters.
That being said, either type will sufficiently handle the workload one can expect to encounter on a framing job.
How to Use a Framing Nailer:
A framing nailer has a large cylinder that is directly above the nailer's tip (from which the nails are driven). The tip is a safety feature that must be depressed against the wood before the trigger will fire.
To fire the nailer, align the cylinder and nail tip in the direction that you want the nail to fire. Press the nailer into the wood to depress the nail tip before pulling the trigger. The nailer should fire a single nail into the wood with the head slightly depressed (about 1/8-inch). Should the nail need to be sunk into the wood a bit more or less, you can adjust the depth adjustment on the nailer (consult the operating instructions for the location and use of your nailer's depth adjustment).
As with using any power tools, always wear appropriate safety equipment, including safety glasses, hearing protection (as framing nailers can be rather loud) and wearing of appropriate clothing.
Keep in mind that the safety features of a framing nailer are not a hindrance, but a necessity.