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How to Use a Nail Gun

by Staff Writer

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Nail gun

A nail gun can be used for almost any project in which you would use a hammer and nail. For large projects, such as framing a house or an addition or installation of fencing, an air gun cuts the time dramatically and increases consistency and stability. These powerful tools can be powered by compressed air, gas or electricity.

Using a Nail Gun:

  1. Load the nail strip into nail gun's magazine. Each manufacturer designs their tools differently, but access to the magazine is usually toward the back or bottom side of the air tool. Slide the strip of nails into the magazine and securely close the magazine.

  2. Put on safety glasses before you turn on the power to the gun. Nail guns are equipped with a contact trip trigger. This trigger must be compressed to force the nail into the surface that you are nailing. Turning on the power will not cause the gun to "shoot" nails.

  3. Practice shooting the gun on wood scraps before beginning your project. Air guns work by pressure, and the amount of pressure as well as the amount of time the pressure is applied create the power to drive the nail into the surface smoothly and evenly. A few practice shots will allow you to get a feel for the nail gun.

  4. Place the tip of the gun against the surface you intend to nail. Hold the handle of the gun so the finger of one hand can access the trigger easily. Your hands should be positioned to support the gun and keep it in place. Hold your body away from the gun, but close enough to provide stability. There will be a kick back when you fire the gun.

  5. Push the tip of the gun against the surface, exerting pressure on the gun. Do not exert pressure on the gun using your chest or stomach. This may result in serious injury. Pull the trigger and immediately release. Holding the trigger down may result in multiple nails shooting and possibly jamming the gun.

  6. Pull the gun away from the surface. The nail head should be flush to the surface. If the nail is crooked or only in part way, you may not have applied enough pressure when firing. This may also be the result of pulling the gun away too quickly.

  7. Disconnect the gun from the power source before reloading with a new strip of nails.

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