Understanding Your Framing Nailer 

 September 22, 2020

By  Hanel

The days of using a hammer and nail are over. They take too long to install the nail and users are more likely to injure themselves because of it. That's why you need a framing nailer. Framing nailers make the process easier by quickly drilling a nail into the desired area.

Continue reading to learn more about framing nailers. It will help you later on when you have to make the buying decision on your own. Each framing nailer is different, so you'll have to choose carefully based on the specs of each device to ensure you receive the best one for the project.

What Is A Framing Nailer

A framing nailer is a certain model of air gun. When you have to nail multiple large pieces together, framing nailers can help you complete this task with no issue. Framing nailers are a specific type of air gun. All of the power nailers assist the carpenter's objective by reducing the need to use a hammer.

But framing nailers are needed for high-powered, quick projects. This is different than smaller model power nailers that are for precision work. Whether you're creating a dog house or a house, framing nailers will take hours off your project completion time and saves your muscles from receiving soreness.

You'll often see framing nailers used for larger DIY projects such as sub-flooring, deck building, fencing, and framing. These nailers are also great because they allow the user to complete projects that involve plaster.

Hammering can damage the plaster, while the framing nailer helps you keep the plaster on allowing you to finish the project successfully.

Different Nailer Firing Methods

Understanding that your nailer has different firing methods will help you find a tool to complete DIY tasks and prevents accidental firing. Understand that these manufacturers have completely different names for their device's firing methods.

On most of your nailers, the firing method depends on two controls: a safety tip that's distressed on the work surface and the trigger.


Also known as bump firing, contact nailers allow users to drive nails into a piece of wood rapidly. As long as the user holds down on the trigger, each bump of the safety tip on the work surface fires a nail.

Contact nailers have a fast firing speed, but require skill and precision to control. There is a high risk of misfiring and injuring yourself in comparison to other nailing methods.

Single Sequential

This form of firing stops users from bump firing which saves them from firing accidents. You have to operate the safety tip and the trigger in a sequence to fire out the first nail. On the other hand, you can keep your safety tip pressed against the work surface. Then you can release and reactive the trigger for every extra nail.

Full Sequential

For beginners and people wanting a safe framing nailer, this is the method you should choose. Full Sequential prevents bump firing and requires complete activation of the trigger and the safety tip. To fire additional nails, you have to release the tip and trigger and reactivate them in the right sequence.

While it takes longer to fire nails than other firing methods, this is the safest one on the list. Small nailers that are trigger operated don't use safety tips. They tend to use single or dual triggers to fire a nail.

Tools that have a single trigger option can fire nails with a single push. Most dual-trigger tools require the user to pull the triggers in the correct sequence. Some of the nailers offer optional accessories or multiple settings that allow you to choose the firing method that's most beneficial and useful for the task.

Choosing The Right Nail For Your Nailer

Nails that are used in power nailers are combined with wire, plastic, or paper. Most of them have clipped heads which allow the nails to stay closely together in one solid line. Others stay secured together because of the through long strands of flexible wire.

Most nails have an added layer of lubricant adhesive. Once the nail comes in contact with the nailing surface, the compound lubricates and heats the nail. When the compound begins to cool, it adds and bonds the nail to its nailing surface, which increases the holding strength.

Before spending money on a nailer, see what project it's going to be used for. There are nail guns for every project imaginable. It's up to you to see which one will complete your project while delivering optimal results. Once you measure the scope of the project, get a nailer that's able to finish it within a respectable time frame.

Nail Types

While there are multiple different types of nails you can have for your nailer; there are only two main types of nail guns that are available.

Stip-style nail guns use nails on a long stick or slender strip that slides into a magazine on the tool. Strips of wire, plastic, or paper can hold the nails together. This set up helps when distributing the weight of the nails instead of placing and concentrating the device in a roll, which gives the tool more balance than coil style nailers.

Coil style nailers tend to use long, flexible nail strings that are joined by wires. It uses a round magazine that can store the nail right on the coil. Coil style nailers have the advantage of fitting into spaces that strip-style nails are unable to.

Also, you'll get to hold more nails with this type, reducing the need of constant reloading. Here is a table displaying the different types of nails you’ll encounter.

Framing Nail

The framing nail is the heaviest nail that's on this list. It's used for the wood framing in the building. This requires 3 ½ nails to add and join the 2x4s forms of nails. All framing nail models have a sequential tip or switchable contact.

Finish Nail

Finish nails are great all-around nailers for indoor trim and other jobs. They use slimmer and more light gauge nails usually at around 14 to 16 gauge. The nail type is used with moldings with doors, windows, and chair rails and other items.

The nailers are made in both cordless and air compression. All of the models offer a sequential trip or switchable content, and the nail has a tool free depth and drive adjustment.

Brad Nail

Brad nailers are used for light duty projects. They are different than finish nails because the nail isn't completely angled. While brad nails are small and leave a small hole on the objects they're piecing; they do hold up well in comparison to other nailers.

Sliding Nail

These nails take at least one or multiple pistons that draw in the air when delivering the upstroke. On the downstroke, it pushes it out and allows the nail to drill through tough plys of wood.

Pin Nail

Every pin nailers can shoot the same level of ultrathin fasteners. It used when installing small to medium sized molding on furniture, interior millwork, and cabinets.

Pin nails are finesse tools. A large part of their success comes with their ability to deliver and create pins when needed. Most pin nailer models have a dual trigger arrangement to prevent the user from misfiring accidentally.

Thus, pin nails are great tools because they are small and can make precise cuts through wood without breaking the stock.

Difference Between Framing Nailer And Nail Gun

Understanding the difference between the two is easy. The nail gun refers to the complete part of the tool. Nail guns are used to drive the nails through the wood. Because of this fact, they replace hammers because nail guns are easier and take only seconds to install a nail in one area.

The framing nailer is more of a specific part. It's a nozzle that can be attached to the nail gun and helps when placing large wood displays for others to see. Your nail gun needs a framing nailer to make it easier for you to handle more complex DIY projects with ease.

Why You Need A Framing Nailer

You don't just need a framing nailer because of its ability to finish tasks; you need a framing nailer to help drill down nails more efficiently than through traditional methods. Here's a few specs and features that you should see to help you understand the importance of framing nailers.

Metal Plates

Anyone who has been out on the field for a good amount of time knows that you won't always have the tools needed for their project. Fortunately, manufacturers have created their air deflectors compartment out of metal and not plastic.

This is a great advantage as it allows you to prevent air from getting onto your nailer and causes it to rust, or show gaps in its performance. The best framing nailers consist of metal housings that can take enough damage to the back without breaking. Thus, metal plates are great if you want your nailer to last longer.

Nail Loading

It doesn't matter if you want read loading or top loading nails, you don't want the nail pusher to start to "fly" when adding a new magazine of nails onto the nailer. This prevents it from damaging the nail's plastic coating and causing jams due to its misalignment.

Nail Depth

This is the ability to control how deep you can drive your nails. This feature matters more on finish nailers. The depth adjustment is easier on some nailers than others. Look for a nailer that allows you to change the depth of your nail installment to produce better results.

Jam Clearing

There will be occasions where your nail gun will jam. When this problem occurs, you want to make sure it has easy access to the nail feed. This prevents your nailer from slowing down when a jam occurs. We recommend that you safely use your nail gun throughout its operation to stop any jam clearing from happening.

Swivel Tube

For pneumatic nailers, you'll want a swivel tube that doesn't let your tubes get tangled. Swivel tubes help the nailing process by reloading nails faster and helps you utilize pneumatic nailers for when you need them the most.

Nail Size Adjustment

There are a variety of nail sizes to choose from. If you think that you'll have to use multiple nailer sizes for your project, then it's best to get a nailer that accepts a wide range of nail sizes. This ensures that you'll have a fully functional nailer that can switch out nails depending on the project.

How To Use A Framing Nailer

Framing nailers contain large cylinders that are placed right above the tip of the nailer (Area where the nails are driven). The tip also serves as a safety feature that has to be depressed against the wood before the trigger begins to fire.

After that, you'll want to press the nailer through the wood to decompress the nail tip. The nailer will fire a single nail into a piece of wood. Notice, the head will become decompressed at around 1/8 inches.

If the nail needs to be sunk inside of the wood, you can change the adjustment of the nailer. Check the operating instructions for your nailer's depth adjustment and use depth adjustment for your nailer.

Safety Concerns And Tips When Using Framing Nailers

Here's a list of tips you should follow when using your framing nailer for the first time:

  • Check your nailer and replace or repair the damaged parts before using them.
  • Don't add alterations or forcibly change your nailer.
  • Make sure to wear safety glasses and other protective material that's specified in the nailer's instruction manual.
  • Keep your feet, hands, and other body parts away from the fitting area. Use clamps if you need to secure the work pieces completely.
  • Remove the tool from the power supply or the air compressor before conducting any maintenance, working to clear a jam, or making quick adjustments.
  • Don't point the nailer at an animal or a person.
  • Keep others out of your work space when using a nailer.

Tip: Every nailer has certain requirements for the fasteners to be used. Use only manufacturer specified nailers and make sure the comply with every building codes and regulations for the project you're planning on finishing.


Here's our recommendation for the best manufacturers of the framing nailers:


Bostitch is a nailer manufacturer that had its origins since 1896. Since then, the company has made their reputation by inventing the first coil nailer for basic and complex DIY home projects.

Most of Bostitch's products have their signature orange and black coloring and are guaranteed to help users complete many household tasks faster and more efficient than the competition.


NuMax is a company that creates home improvement tools, high-quality nailers, and DIY accessories. The company is known for its trustworthy products that are backed by their limited warranties. This means that you'll have a fully functional nailer that can be replaced in the event it malfunctions.

Porter Cable

Porter Cable is one of the leading power tool manufacturers in America. It started in 1906, where it was started to make breakthrough innovations such as the portable band saw, belt sander, and helical-drive circular saw.

This company is known for their high-quality products. Each of them is made to help users fire nails safely and effectively. Because of this, Porter Cable is useful for long term projects where a sturdy nailer is needed. Buy from them if you want your device to work correctly and nails targets with the utmost precision.


Also, Freeman is a great company to buy your first nailer. They have products that have a mixture of durability and function. Each of their nailers was designed for the user to remain safe while cutting through multiple objects at ease.

Maintenance And Cleaning

We know how useful a nailer can be for a DIYer. While you can use hammers to insert a nail through wood, you won't complete the job as fast as you would with a nail gun. Here are few maintenance and cleaning tips that every DIYer should know before using a nailer.

Tighten Bolts And Screws Monthly

Every month, you tighten the screws and bolts of your nailer. Each time you use the nailer it starts to vibrate, and the screws and bolts tend to loosen up over time. You should also immediately check your nailer once you're done unboxing it to see if the screws will remain tight.

On some occasions, screws and bolts tend to loosen when being shipped. If you notice any bolts and screws becoming loose during operation, quickly turn off the nailer and inspect the situation. Take a minute to tighten them accordingly and resume using the nailer.

Remember, your nailer is a dangerous tool if the bolts and screws aren't placed on correctly. If a bolt or screw breaks off, you'll lose control over your nail gun and perform less efficiently. Keep them locked in place to ensure that you don't accidentally harm yourself or others when using the nailer.

Lubricate And Clean The Air Fitting

While you will need to oil the nail gun, it's important to lubricate the nailer's air fitting. All you have to do is place 5 or 6 drops of oil in the air fitting each day. Multiple o-rings are inside the air fitting, and you must use your finger to lubricate the rings appropriately.

Tip: Don't leave nails inside the gun or have your nail gun powered during this process. You want to make sure that your nail gun's power is shut off before placing your finger on the air fitting. This prevents damage and ensures that you can clean the air fitting with no issue.

Air Tool Oil

If you plan on nailing throughout the day, you'll have to oil your nailer so that it continues to work properly. As a rule of thumb, oil any moving parts so that your nail gun is lubricated and ready to continue aiding you in your project.

Inspect The Battery

For users with cordless nailers, check the battery once every few months. Try to look for an expiration date to see how long your battery will last before needing a repair. After the expiration date is passed, the batteries will begin to lose their charge capacity.

Inspect your battery on a routine basis. If you notice your nail gun not holding the charge that's required, then feel free to get a new battery or replace the tool altogether.

To simplify, here are the maintenance procedures to keep your nailer in near-perfect condition:

  • Daily: Clean feed system, Lubricate air fittings, oil the moving parts.
  • Monthly: Tighten bolts and screws
  • Occasionally: Periodically, you'll have to check your battery and replace when needed.

Also, if you find a part of your nail gun that's broken, replace it as fast as possible. With the correct maintenance, you'll keep your nailer working for multiple years without paying extra money for repairs.


Knowing about the mechanics of a good nailer helps you become a more informed buyer. But, there's still a few things we have to discuss that exceeds the space of this post. We invite you to look into our buying guide to find the best nailer tools that are available.

Each of them are known for utility, durability, and additional features to help you in your garage. Check out the buying guide to help you on your shopping journey and buy a nailer that suits your personal and project goals.

Share a comment if you have any questions or concerns using framing nailers.


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