Usually, you don’t load individual nails in a nail gun. These guns use long strips of nails or nails in plastic carrier coils. Some strips have nails without heads, so the nails are placed closer together and reloading the gun is less frequent.
Nail-gun nails are classified according to their gauge or thickness. You might think that a larger gauge means a thicker nail, but it’s actually the opposite. For example, an 18-gauge nail is actually thinner than a 16-gauge nail. 16-gauge nails are commonly used for cabinetwork, while 18-gauge nails are more suitable for small trims and moldings.
Some nail gun nails have ring shanks and heat-activated glue that help them hold materials tighter. This glue appears as a discolored part on the nail’s tip. Friction and heat is produced as the nail gun launches a nail. The heat melts the glue along the shaft of the nail. As the nail is driven into the wood, the glue sets inside it, so the hold becomes tighter. The ring shank also increases the tightness of the hold.
Nails vary in size depending on the type of nail gun they are used for. Small nails without heads are typically used by pin nailers, brad nailers or bradders. Some nails with larger heads are used by roofing nailers to reduce the risk of the nails tearing through the material. Nail-gun nails can also be galvanized or non-galvanized. Non-galvanized nails are usually called “bright” nails. Galvanized nails are coated with zinc. This protects them from rust and corrosion.
Choosing Your Nail
Choosing the right nail to use depends on the size of the wood or other materials you’re working on. For instance, if you are nailing two-by-four pieces of wood, you should use nails that are three and a quarter inches in length. You should also drive these nails in a slightly slanted manner so that the tips of the nails will not stick out the back of the wood. For narrower pieces of wood, use shorter nails so that the wood will not split apart.
Foot and hand injuries are common accidents when using nail guns. Always be careful when loading and shooting nails to avoid these injuries.
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