Nail Notes

When I started this test, I couldn't help but wonder just how much use I'd actually get from the tools that were limited to 1-1/2-inch nails. Making sure the correct fastener is installed in framing hardware is the biggest problem faced when using metal connectors. Many people think (as I once did) the 1-1/2-inch "Teco" is a universal joist hanger nail. This is simply not true. When you read a connector catalog and it says that a hanger should be installed with 8d, 10d, or 16d nails, they're talking about full-size common nails (2-1/2-by-.131-inch, 3-by-.148-inch, and 3-1/2-by-.162-inch, respectively).

Unless a 10d x 1-1/2-inch nail is the specified fastener for a connector, the use of 1-1/2-inch nails will not produce the load capacity listed for that hardware. In some cases, 1-1/2-inch nails are acceptable for use, but at greatly reduced load ratings. So on my jobsites, the 1-1/2-inch nailers have extremely limited usefulness and could lead to confusion and improper installations. (Can you say "construction defect claim?")

In most cases, a 2-1/2-inch nail of the appropriate diameter will meet the penetration requirement of a common nail and may be used in lieu of a common nail for face-mount hardware without reducing the hanger's load capacity. This isn't true for slant nail hanger applications, among others. Some connectors may still have you swinging a hammer for the longest nails.

There are a great many connectors in use, so it is important to always review information specific to the hardware you're using and check the bulletin relating to your specific brand of nails, not your nailer. Contact the connector manufacturer if you are unsure. They have experts who will walk you through any installation, free of charge.

–Michael Davis

Sources Of Supply

F33PT: $289
MCN150 Strapshot: $229

GR150: $199
GR250: $229

Hitachi Power Tools
NR65AKS: $399

Max USA Corp.
HN65J: $899

F250S-PP: $369

Rap-A-Nail RNS-150: $239
Rap-A-Nail RNS-250: $279

HN150: $229
HN250: $259