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Thread: Pin/Brad nailer

  1. #1

    Pin/Brad nailer

    What is the difference between a brad nailer and a pin nailer? Sometimes they seem to be synonyms, other times not.

    Also, I recently bought an my first pneumatic tool -- an extremely cheap compressor/brad(pin?) nailer. When I use it, I keep marring the surface of my wood with the safety trigger. Is that normal? Am I doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    WNY, Buffalo Area
    The quick answer is that it comes down to the nails that each uses.

    A brad nailer, typically shoots 18 gauge square nails. These have a small head and have a "T" profile.

    A pin nailer, typically shoots 23 gauge headless nails. These nails are commonly referred to as "pins", hence the Pinner or Pin Nailer.

    just as an extra a finish nailer will typically shoot either a 16 gauge square nail very similar to the t shaped brad, or 15 gauge round nails.

    Pins are used for things where the larger head of a brad would be too noticeable.

    If your nailer is leaving marks on the work surface, depending on the model, there may be a depth of drive adjustment that might help. Also you may be able to dial down the air pressure that you are feeding the gun.

    Hope this helps.
    We create with our hands in wood what our mind sees in thought.
    Disclosure: Formerly was a part-time sales person & instructor at WoodCraft in Buffalo, NY.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Santa Rosa, CA
    I agree with Sean completly on the description of pins vs. brads vs. nails.

    Another thing you might try for the marring problem is don't press the gun so hard against the surface. You only need enough pressure to depress the safety.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Porter ,
    Sean did well with the description of pin and brad, and John is right about the pressure pushing down is causing the marks.
    Don't feel bad, to this day it sometimes occurs with me, even on guns with no safety. The problem I believe is that we do so want the wood pieces to be held together tightly, so we push down with the gun point for added pressure. Sometimes this helps but marrs the wood. I reality, we need squeeze out the crack/gap/space between the pieces with hand/finger pressure, clamps or what ever works.........Then, ever so gently , like the kiss of an angel, pull the trigger . Honest!
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Long Hill Township, NJ
    Was watching NYW with my wife last night.
    Norm was building kitchen cabinets, and was using a pin-nailer to hold the bead detail inside the door opening while the glue set.

    My wife looks at me and says - "that's cool" - do you have one of them?

    I reply "No" - I have a brad nailer but no pin nailer.

    Sher replies - "you need one of them".

    My wifes the best!

    She's coming to the New Jersey Woodworker Show in mid-February. I might need to remind her of that comment. . .


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    The descriptions have been perfect.

    I have both... the only thing I can emphasize is that the nailers have to be tight to the wood, or the pin/brad can be left above the surface, but neither has to be pushed into the wood. My brad nailer has a rubber guard to avoid damaging the wood, My pin nailer has a very small head to fit into tight grooves in moulding you are trying to hold, but that small head can leave a dent by itself if you push at all hard - think of how hard you would push with an ice pick or other sharp point if you had to touch the surface but didn't want to leave a mark.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

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