Safe usage of a nail gun?

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  • radhak
    Veteran Member
    • Apr 2006
    • 3061
    • Miramar, FL
    • Right Tilt 3HP Unisaw

    Safe usage of a nail gun?

    Hi Everybody,

    I wonder if I could request all of you to come up with some directives on how to safely use a compressed-air driven nail gun? As you might know from my other posts I now have a new toy (P-C 6 Gallon Comp + 1 brad nail gun + 1 finish nail gun) that I want to start using today. I would have gone with just the instructions on the manual when I realized that I have access to a great resource for advice : you all here

    My first takes after reading the manual(s) were :

    a. It says 'dont use a extension cord. better use a longer hose'. But how long a hose is safe?

    b. If i need to use the gun indoors, can i leave the compressor in the garage and allow the hose to snake in?

    c. Can I join two 25' hoses for longer reach?

    d. Do i load the gun with the nails, then attach the hose, or vice-versa? Intuition says the former...or is my intuition wrong?

    e. Manual says to release the compressed air after each use, and to drain the water. So if i use it in the morning, with the intention of using it again in the evening, should i still decompress-drain and repeat?

    f. Can i use the nail gun upside down? (as in using for putting the quarter-round moulding agaisnt the baseboard, an upside gun might give me a better angle)

    g. Manual says don't use it on a ladder etc. But there would be times when I need to use it on a ladder or elevated surface (like nailing edging to the storage shelf in the garage). Is that a total no-no, or can i do it and still be safe? Maybe disconnect the hose, and connect it when i have climbed the ladder?

    As you can see, i have more questions than seem right for a new owner of a dangerous looking equipment. But hopefully your replies help others like me too.

    Thanks in advance.
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
    - Aristotle
  • DUD
    Royal Jester
    • Dec 2002
    • 3309
    • Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA.
    • Ryobi BT3000

    #2
    I use 2 25 foot hoses when I need to go longer than 25 feet. You can sit the compressor anywhere You have available electricity. I load my gun and then connect the hose, but when I run low on nails, I just reload. I release the hose and coil it up, but I usually drain the tank only once per week. Hope this helps. Bill
    Last edited by DUD; 11-01-2006, 04:33 PM. Reason: mispelled
    5 OUT OF 4 PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND FRACTIONS.

    Comment

    • DaveW
      Established Member
      • Jul 2004
      • 415
      • So Cal.

      #3
      I've used the nail gun upside down before without issues (granted - I don't have a finish nailer yet - only a brad nailer).

      Also, make sure you keep your fingers away - there's plenty of people who've posted about brads that have hit a knot and shot out the side - I think there have been a few people who had them make a u-turn...

      Comment

      • Tom Miller
        Veteran Member
        • Mar 2003
        • 2507
        • Twin Cities, MN
        • BT3000 - Cuttin' it old school

        #4
        Hose length -- I don't think safety is an issue here. For a nailer, you really don't need to worry about pressure drop through the line, like with a high-flow-rate tool. If I had a couple 100' hoses, I wouldn't hesitate to put them together. Since the little compressors draw a lot of current, "no extension cords" is good advice.

        Also, I wouldn't hesitate to snake the line in from another room, so that the room I'm in is quieter.

        Use the gun in any orientation you want; just watch out where the air outlet port is pointing. These are usually rotatable, so you can always have it pointing away from you. They get your attention, otherwise.

        I'm a weekend warrior, and probably don't drain my tank more than a handful of times a year.

        Regards,
        Tom

        Comment

        • Tom Miller
          Veteran Member
          • Mar 2003
          • 2507
          • Twin Cities, MN
          • BT3000 - Cuttin' it old school

          #5
          Originally posted by DaveW
          Also, make sure you keep your fingers away - there's plenty of people who've posted about brads that have hit a knot and shot out the side - I think there have been a few people who had them make a u-turn...
          Hey, thanks for reminding me -- time to trot out the ol' "blowout" pic:


          Click image for larger version

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          Dotted line shows intended path (straight down). No knots in this piece of pine, but if you follow the growth rings from the entrance point to the exit....

          Glad I wasn't holding on to the side!


          Regards,
          Tom

          Comment


          • LCHIEN
            LCHIEN commented
            Editing a comment
            YES! Don't put your hand within a brad's length of there you put the gun, brads have been known to make U-turns because of grain.
        • Hellrazor
          Veteran Member
          • Dec 2003
          • 2091
          • Abyss, PA
          • Ridgid R4512

          #6
          A. I have 5 50' hoses plus the 20' on the compressor and yes I have used them all at once.

          B. I do that all the time.

          C. Yuppers.

          D. Its safer to load first. Not that I follow my own advice. I usually load my finish, stapler,etc with the air disconnected. I load my framer as I go.

          E. I try to clean my pancake compressor out once a month.

          F. Yes.

          G. Pfft.. thats lawyer junk. Use it wherever YOU feel safe.

          As Dave mentioned, BEWARE of knots. I've had 16d framing nails bend in a U already. It doesn't happen often, but you should be prepared. Keep your free hand far enough back on a piece of wood so you know it can't say hello.

          Comment

          • mschrank
            Veteran Member
            • Oct 2004
            • 1130
            • Hood River, OR, USA.
            • BT3000

            #7
            I wandered off while writing this, so Mike (Hellrazor) beat me. Since it looks like we agree, I'll leave my comments....

            Originally posted by DaveW
            Also, make sure you keep your fingers away - there's plenty of people who've posted about brads that have hit a knot and shot out the side - I think there have been a few people who had them make a u-turn...
            I would like to emphasize what DaveW said....DAMHIK.

            Regarding your other Q's:
            a. I don't think there is a safety issue with longer hose, though there might be a performance issue at some point.

            b. If i need to use the gun indoors....Yes

            c. Already answered above

            d. Do i load the gun with the nails, then attach the hose, or vice-versa? Intuition says the former...or is my intuition wrong? I'm not sure it matters...but I think your manual probably mentions that you should only attach the gun after the hose has pressurized...double check me on this.

            e. Manual says to release the compressed air after each use, and to drain the water. So if i use it in the morning, with the intention of using it again in the evening, should i still decompress-drain and repeat?Answered above

            f. Can i use the nail gun upside down? (as in using for putting the quarter-round moulding agaisnt the baseboard, an upside gun might give me a better angle)Yes, the air pressure easily overcomes gravity.

            g. Manual says don't use it on a ladder etc. But there would be times when I need to use it on a ladder or elevated surface (like nailing edging to the storage shelf in the garage). Is that a total no-no, or can i do it and still be safe? Maybe disconnect the hose, and connect it when i have climbed the ladder? Pretty sure the lawyers made them add this one. Just my opinion, but I feel much safer using a gun on a ladder than finish nails and a hammer. Just be aware of where your fingers are in relation to the trigger and watch where the hose is on your way up & down. I'd go up with the hose connected to the gun, otherwise you're trying to hold two things (gun & hose) plus keep a grip on the ladder.
            Last edited by mschrank; 11-01-2006, 05:26 PM.
            Mike

            Drywall screws are not wood screws

            Comment

            • jackellis
              Veteran Member
              • Nov 2003
              • 2638
              • Tahoe City, CA, USA.
              • BT3100

              #8
              This is gonna sound trivial but remember to wear safety glasses or goggles or a face shield and keep the gun pointed away from animate objects (people, animals, etc.). I used an electric stapler for the first time a few months back. It's actually been recalled by Arrow because the trigger safety is defective so you can easily shoot staples unintentionally. Scared the **** out of me, but also made me a lot more careful.

              Comment

              • sweensdv
                Veteran Member
                • Dec 2002
                • 2862
                • WI
                • Baileigh TS-1040P-50

                #9
                Originally posted by radhak
                Hi Everybody,

                I wonder if I could request all of you to come up with some directives on how to safely use a compressed-air driven nail gun? As you might know from my other posts I now have a new toy (P-C 6 Gallon Comp + 1 brad nail gun + 1 finish nail gun) that I want to start using today. I would have gone with just the instructions on the manual when I realized that I have access to a great resource for advice : you all here

                My first takes after reading the manual(s) were :

                a. It says 'dont use a extension cord. better use a longer hose'. But how long a hose is safe?
                Any length is safe as long as the hoses are coupled properly.

                b. If i need to use the gun indoors, can i leave the compressor in the garage and allow the hose to snake in?
                Yes.

                c. Can I join two 25' hoses for longer reach?
                Yes.

                d. Do i load the gun with the nails, then attach the hose, or vice-versa? Intuition says the former...or is my intuition wrong?
                Your intuition is right on. It's also a good idea to disconnect the air hose when reloading the nailer.

                e. Manual says to release the compressed air after each use, and to drain the water. So if i use it in the morning, with the intention of using it again in the evening, should i still decompress-drain and repeat?
                That really isn't necessary and would be over kill. The amount of moisture build-up in your tank will have a lot to do with your local weather conditions. Experimentation will be your best teacher for what's right for your individual circumstance.

                f. Can i use the nail gun upside down? (as in using for putting the quarter-round moulding agaisnt the baseboard, an upside gun might give me a better angle)
                Absolutely, you may have to adjust the air exhaust direction so you don't get a blast of air in your face everytime you shoot a nail.

                g. Manual says don't use it on a ladder etc. But there would be times when I need to use it on a ladder or elevated surface (like nailing edging to the storage shelf in the garage). Is that a total no-no, or can i do it and still be safe? Maybe disconnect the hose, and connect it when i have climbed the ladder?
                You will only be as safe as you make your work area. The manual has that in it because some in house lawyer said to put it in there.






                10 characters
                _________________________
                "Have a Great Day, unless you've made other plans"

                Comment

                • jessrice
                  Established Member
                  • Jan 2006
                  • 161
                  • .

                  #10
                  I think the most important mentioned and that i follow are the safety glasses and keeping your hands out of the way. These rules are even more so important as the type and size of nailer gun gets larger.

                  Since i have started building my shop, i have went through 24000 framing nails, 12000 sheathing nails, 5000 staples, and 9000 siding nails. Really i have about a 1/4 box or so left of each, but will probably use those soon as well. anyway, i have some experience.

                  For saftey glasses, with the small pin nailers and brad nailers, where the nails are glued together, I am more concerned with the dust from the exhaust port kicking up particles or the nail breaking off a portion of the wood and causing a projectile.

                  When it comes to the coil nailers and framing guns, the nails are collated together with either wire or plastic. The collated pieces come flying out of the nailer and sting like you wouldn't expect. The first time it happened i thought for sure an actual anil must have hit me. The plastic tends to leave little welts and the metal little cuts. Plus you still have the worry of the dust port or chipped wooded becoming a projectile. This normally happens with out of place nailing, upside down/odd angles, or when someone else is using the gun and you are holding the material

                  Keeping your hand out of the way is also more important as nail gun size goes up. I have pierced my fingers several times with an 18 gauge brad nailer, from the brads hitting harder wood or a knot and going off track. It hurts, but you can keep working.

                  Not so with the big boys! I have had siding nailers hit the heads of the sheathing nails underneath and u turn out when trying to get seams lined up along edges. I have also seen seathing nails miss the studs and come through the sheathing, plus a few feet.

                  I have had a few scary occasions with my big Hitachi framer when i only meant to shoot one nail, but the gun recoiled into the stud behind me, making the gun bump forward and shoot another nail. On some of these only the saftey prong caught the edge of the stud and sent the nail flying right past my hand holding the stud then another 50 feet.

                  But to put it in perspective, the biggest injury i have had from the shop, is from being over tired and hitting my thumb with a 24oz framing hammer! I am still waiting for the nail to finish growing out and fall off and that was 8 weeks ago!

                  Just use common sense and you will be fine!

                  Jesse

                  Comment

                  • LCHIEN
                    Internet Fact Checker
                    • Dec 2002
                    • 20983
                    • Katy, TX, USA.
                    • BT3000 vintage 1999

                    #11
                    Originally posted by radhak
                    Hi Everybody,

                    I wonder if I could request all of you to come up with some directives on how to safely use a compressed-air driven nail gun? As you might know from my other posts I now have a new toy (P-C 6 Gallon Comp + 1 brad nail gun + 1 finish nail gun) that I want to start using today. I would have gone with just the instructions on the manual when I realized that I have access to a great resource for advice : you all here

                    My first takes after reading the manual(s) were :

                    a. It says 'dont use a extension cord. better use a longer hose'. But how long a hose is safe? No limit, most of the air used to punch the nail is from the reservoir in the handle, a long hose is just more air storage, Too small a hose can limit how long it takes to recharge the air gun, you can hear the air rush in. But Air compressors draw a lot of power usually 10-15 Amps so long extension cords are undesirable.

                    b. If i need to use the gun indoors, can i leave the compressor in the garage and allow the hose to snake in? sure

                    c. Can I join two 25' hoses for longer reach? sure

                    d. Do i load the gun with the nails, then attach the hose, or vice-versa? Intuition says the former...or is my intuition wrong? i'd load staples then attach the power source...

                    e. Manual says to release the compressed air after each use, and to drain the water. So if i use it in the morning, with the intention of using it again in the evening, should i still decompress-drain and repeat? I would drain it after a days or several days of use. The danger is letting the water sit for a long time, rusting you tank from the inside out.

                    f. Can i use the nail gun upside down? (as in using for putting the quarter-round moulding agaisnt the baseboard, an upside gun might give me a better angle) Sure

                    g. Manual says don't use it on a ladder etc. But there would be times when I need to use it on a ladder or elevated surface (like nailing edging to the storage shelf in the garage). Is that a total no-no, or can i do it and still be safe? Maybe disconnect the hose, and connect it when i have climbed the ladder? I think they're trying to cover their butts. That would be a good idea about connecting once you get up there.

                    As you can see, i have more questions than seem right for a new owner of a dangerous looking equipment. But hopefully your replies help others like me too.

                    Thanks in advance.

                    Also you should watch out for blowouts as someone pointed out - a nail can literally make a 90 or even 180 degree turn in wood with steep grain. Make sure you don't use your free hand to hold on anywhere within a three inch distance from the nailing point. Doesn't happen often but I bet it happens to anyone using a nailer sooner or later.
                    Last edited by LCHIEN; 04-22-2020, 11:10 AM.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                    Comment

                    • LinuxRandal
                      Veteran Member
                      • Feb 2005
                      • 4889
                      • Independence, MO, USA.
                      • bt3100

                      #12
                      Originally posted by radhak
                      Hi Everybody,

                      I wonder if I could request all of you to come up with some directives on how to safely use a compressed-air driven nail gun? As you might know from my other posts I now have a new toy (P-C 6 Gallon Comp + 1 brad nail gun + 1 finish nail gun) that I want to start using today. I would have gone with just the instructions on the manual when I realized that I have access to a great resource for advice : you all here

                      My first takes after reading the manual(s) were :

                      a. It says 'dont use a extension cord. better use a longer hose'. But how long a hose is safe?
                      You can get to a point, where you need to add an auxillery tank right before the gun, so the compressor, isn't always playing catchup. Never seen it reached though, ESPECIALLY NOT in a home shop!
                      Originally posted by radhak
                      b. If i need to use the gun indoors, can i leave the compressor in the garage and allow the hose to snake in?

                      c. Can I join two 25' hoses for longer reach?
                      I am combining these as one question for ONE reason, Safety. Yes, you CAN combine hoses, BUT do not just use a release coupler and fitted end. When you combine hoses, you should use something that THREADS onto both. I have seen a roofer, who used a gun, higher then he should have, because he just coupled the female end into a quick coupler. He got it caught up and yanked, and it was going through some bushes, it was released and projected toward his face (wish I did, but glad I didn't have a camera). If you have a longer hose, or two shorter hoses, go with the longer, and roll up the excess, for safety. (I realize you do loose some air pressure for extra length and curves, but nail guns don't require the air of other tools).

                      Originally posted by radhak
                      d. Do i load the gun with the nails, then attach the hose, or vice-versa? Intuition says the former...or is my intuition wrong?
                      Loading a gun with the air attached, is like loading a firearm, with a hair trigger, cocked, and having a seizure at the same time. Follow your intuition!
                      Originally posted by radhak

                      e. Manual says to release the compressed air after each use, and to drain the water. So if i use it in the morning, with the intention of using it again in the evening, should i still decompress-drain and repeat?
                      You will have to be the judge of that, based on how the compressor is operating, (holding air, or have an air leak somewhere), if your living in an area where drive by shootings are common, I wouldn't leave it pressurized, but otherwise in this example, use it, go eat (errands, etc), come back finish, and shutdown and drain it.
                      Originally posted by radhak
                      f. Can i use the nail gun upside down? (as in using for putting the quarter-round moulding agaisnt the baseboard, an upside gun might give me a better angle)
                      The only things to worry about when using it upside down are:
                      Anyone directly in its line of fire ?(always plan like it will shoot through)
                      Am I balanced enough, that my digits are NOWHERE near the gun or where it might blowout?
                      Originally posted by radhak
                      g. Manual says don't use it on a ladder etc. But there would be times when I need to use it on a ladder or elevated surface (like nailing edging to the storage shelf in the garage). Is that a total no-no, or can i do it and still be safe? Maybe disconnect the hose, and connect it when i have climbed the ladder?

                      As you can see, i have more questions than seem right for a new owner of a dangerous looking equipment. But hopefully your replies help others like me too.

                      Thanks in advance.
                      G is legalese, for: You might fall off the ladder and nail yourself, others, or other damage, etc.
                      Always safer to climb the ladder with it disconnected.

                      On a side note, besides the NORMAL quick disconnects, there are "safety" disconnects (which I use). They redirect the air, releasing the pressure, before you connect/disconnect the air hose. An example of these are HF item 92834
                      She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.

                      Comment

                      • LarryG
                        The Full Monte
                        • May 2004
                        • 6693
                        • Off The Back
                        • Powermatic PM2000, BT3100-1

                        #13
                        Intuition is not always correct!

                        Although it admittedly sounds counter-intuitive, the air supply should always be fastened to the gun before fasteners are loaded, otherwise the gun may accidentally fire while being loaded.

                        (Time passes ...)

                        Here's a direct paste from the Porter-Cable owner's manual:

                        "CONNECT TOOL TO AIR SUPPLY BEFORE loading fasteners, to prevent a fastener from being fired during connection. The tool driving mechanism may cycle when tool is connected to the air supply."

                        This is the way I was taught, the way I've always done it, and I have never had an accidental discharge while loading.

                        EDITED TO ADD: I just found online PDF copies of the owner's manuals from DeWalt and Senco, and they both say the same thing as P-C: connect the air hose first, insert the fasteners second.
                        Last edited by LarryG; 11-02-2006, 08:53 AM.
                        Larry

                        Comment

                        • cabinetman
                          Gone but not Forgotten RIP
                          • Jun 2006
                          • 15218
                          • So. Florida
                          • Delta

                          #14
                          In addition to all that's been said so far, your gun should be equipped with a safety device, like the point of where the nail comes out compresses when you push down to activate the trigger. DON'T ever assume it's always working. DON'T get in the habit of bouncing the nailer down with the trigger pulled to shoot a nail. ALWAYS position the nailer where you want to fire, press down, then pull the trigger. DON'T even think about locking up the safety for a fire at will tool. Had one helper do that and he stapled his thumb to a cabinet, right through the nail (ow, ow, ow). Had another shoot a brad nail 1 1/4" through his (you know what) pinning it to his inner thigh (oweeee, oweeee, oweeee).



                          "I'M NEVER WRONG - BUT I'M NOT ALWAYS RIGHT"

                          Comment

                          • linear
                            Senior Member
                            • May 2004
                            • 612
                            • DeSoto, KS, USA.
                            • Ryobi BT3100

                            #15
                            The gang has pretty much covered the bases, so I'll just contribute this:


                            --Rob

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