Completing carpentry projects is easy with a nail gun. It eliminates the use of hammers and nails. The use of a nailer speeds up the completion rate of the projects with a consistent and neat finish. No one is downplaying the use of hammer and nails, but with a nail gun, there is a lot of ease and convenience.
Electricity, combustible gas, butane cartridge and compressed air are some of the power sources of nail guns. If you are using it for the first time, continue reading this article to learn how to can use a nail gun safely and correctly.
Take Your Safety Seriously
Always Read the Manual
When you buy a new power tool, the first thing you have to do is to read the manual. Many people take this for granted. A nail gun is one of the causes of injuries when you visit hospital emergency wards.
Use the Sequential Firing Mode
Small and large nail guns have two firing modes – sequential and bump.
Sequential Mode – The sequential firing mode means the user of the tool has to complete some sequence of steps before the nail gun can fire the nail. This process means you have to depress the safety nosepiece and then pull the trigger of the nailer to fire the nail. Using these two steps guarantees the safe usage of the nailer.
Bump Mode – The bump mode allows you to switch from sequential to bump mode. With the bump mode, you can hold the trigger down, then, point the nail gun to a spot and each time you depress the safety tip, a nail is fired. You may have seen where professional roofers are using the bump mode to nail shingles one after the other within a minute. If you are not a professional construction worker, avoid using the bump mode. The speed is not what DIYs and craftsmen can handle. It could cause injuries for inexperienced people.
Protect Your Eyes and Ears Properly
Large nail guns are very noisy. They are as loud as a gunshot. This is why you must use earplugs to protect your ears. It is normal for nail guns to misfire and when that happens, the flying material can injury your eye. It is important to use goggles when working with a nailer.
Disconnect Power Source
Before loading nails or removing a nail jam, ensure that you disconnect the power source of the nail gun. While newer nail guns are safe to use, there is misfiring sometimes when the nail jam is being removed or when the gun is being loaded. The best way to prevent accidents is to cut off the power source. Ensure that a corded nailer is unplugged. If it is a pneumatic gun, disconnect the air hose. There are nailer that are powered by butane cartridges. Just remove the cartridge before loading the gun or removing the nail jam.
Free Your Hand and Body Out of the Line of Fire
Keep your hand and body out of the line of fire. The commonest nailer accident happens when you hold two pieces of wood together and firing the nail gun near your hand. The nail can come out from the other side of the wood and injure your hand. Use clamps to hold pieces of wood together before firing the nail into the wood. Also, make sure that no part of your body is on the other side of the wood when firing the nailer.
Don’t Use the Hose to Lower the Nail Gun
If you are climbing down scaffolding or ladder, don’t lower the pneumatic gun through the air hose connected to it. If you have the nail gun in bump mode and it swings and knocks ladder or scaffolding, this could make the nosepiece to depress causing the gun to fire a nail that could injure the user.
How to Use a Nail Gun Safely
Now that the safety issues have been sorted out, it is time to load a new nail gun and make it work safely
Materials and Tools Needed Before Loading a Nail Gun
Protective eyewear and earplugs
Nail coils or nail strips that fit your type of nail gun
Air compressor if you are using a pneumatic air gun
How to Use a Nail Gun Safely
Step 1 – Loading the Nail Gun
While there are slight differences in nail guns, the most common type is the slide type of nail gun. Pressing the release and sliding the magazine is the only way to load the gun. You cannot pull it down but it can be pulled far enough to drop in strips of nails by having its tips pointed down. Ensure that it is well secured into place by pushing the magazine back into place.
Coil type is the second type of nail gun. The coil type works by holding coils of nails instead of strips of nails. This nail gun is mainly used by professionals like roofers so that the gun won’t be loaded too frequently. If this is the type of gun that you have, it means the cylindrical case that holds the nails need to be opened and you have to make the coil of nails to face down in the case. It is important to position the first nail of the coil into a slot that is feeding the nails into the gun. Then, close the case. If you are having difficulty closing the case, it means the nails are not well-positioned. At this point, you will need to go through the manual and try again.
Step 2 – Connecting the Source of Power
You can connect the nail gun to its source of power after loading the nail gun. The source of power could be through an electrical cord, battery, an air hose or butane cartridge.
Step 3 – The Tip of The Nail Gun Can be Positioned to Shoot a Nail
The nail gun should be perpendicularly held to the surface of the wood. This ensures that you don’t shoot at an angle. Firmly press the gun against the wood so that it can depress the safety nosepiece. Pull the trigger as you are holding the nail gun steadily.
Step 4 – Adjusting the Depth of the Nail Gun
You will have to check the owner’s manual to see how to adjust the depth of a nail gun. This is not important if you are framing a wall. In this case, you can just load the nailer and start firing without considering the height but if you are working on a cabinet, the nail gun head should flush well with the wood’s surface. This is why height adjustment comes in. Adjust using a knob or button conveniently placed close to the trigger.
Step 5 – Removing Nail Guns as Needed
Nails will normally jam if they hit something hard like hitting another nail or a knot. It is easy to know when the nail gun jams because it would stop firing when the trigger is pulled. What you have to do is to connect to the power source and release the magazine. Releasing the magazine is important so as not put pressure on the other nails. Next is to flip and open the safety cover that is in front of the nail gun. Use a pair of pliers to remove the jammed nail. Make sure you close the cover. Now, insert the magazine again, connect the power source back and start firing the gun again.
Following the safety measures is an important part of using a nail gun. Don’t overlook the safety procedures if you have to use the tool without any accidents.