Power fastening tools like electric nail guns are a vital part of any craftsman’s repertoire. And it’s essential to know the best practices for using them so that you can get the best results. Let us walk you through how to properly use a nail gun: the ultimate guide so you can feel confident about your nail gun before you even power it on.
Read Your Safety Manual
A crucial step in properly using a nail gun is reading through its safety manual carefully. While this may seem like a no-brainer, many DIYers and artisans skip over this step. But nail gun injuries contribute to tens of thousands of hospital visits each year. So, knowing how to use your tool safely can ensure that you avoid injury and complete your project. Your guide will walk you through your nail gun’s different settings, safety procedures, and best practices, so you can feel confident about using your tool correctly.
Load Your Nail Strip
Next, you’ll want to load the nail strip into the magazine of your gun. While each tool’s manufacturing is different, access to the magazine is typically toward the back or bottom side of the device. Once you find the magazine, you’ll insert your strip of nails into the tool. Make sure that your nails are facing out toward the front of the gun. After that, your nails should slide easily into place. Be mindful that the tool should be entirely powered down before you attempt to load it. Once you’ve packed your strip, double-check that the magazine is closed and secured.
Keep Your Gun in Sequential Mode
Anyone planning to use a nail gun should be well acquainted with the settings on their tool and the purposes each of them serves. Typically, there are two primary settings on a nail gun:
- Bump Mode – this setting is usually reserved for professional carpenters and contractors. There are no safeguards in this setting, which allows for the rapid-fire nailing required to complete jobs as quickly as possible.
- Sequential Mode – this setting is best for amateurs who are not under stringent time constraints, as it has several safeguards in place and requires the user to carry out a sequence of steps before a nail will fire.
For artisans and DIYers, your gun should always stay in sequential mode. The sequential model has a built-in safety system that the bump setting doesn’t. Before you can fire off a nail, this mode requires that you depress the gun’s nose piece before pulling the trigger. This mode’s extra step will help protect you from misfires that can lead to serious injury.
Wear Protective Gear
There are numerous safety precautions you should take when using a nail gun. One of the primary measures you can take to ensure your safety is investing in some protective gear for your eyes and ears. Because nail guns fire at such a high velocity, it isn’t uncommon for misfires to happen, causing materials to break off and fly in your direction. So, it’s wise to have a pair of safety goggles handy. Additionally, nail guns are particularly loud, and because you’ll be working in such close proximity, earplugs are also a must. It’s also wise to purchase some thick, protective gloves, as in the event of a misfire, they can help you avoid a more severe injury, should your hand get in the way.
Point the Gun Away From Yourself and Others
Nail guns are powerful tools with the capacity to fire sharp objects into materials at incredible speeds. So, it should come as no surprise that a part of using them responsibly is making sure that the nose of your gun always points away from you and any other people in your vicinity. This simple safety precaution can offset severe injury and ensure that you complete your project without incident. Additionally, keeping your hand clear from the line of fire is also critical.
Position Your Tool Properly
After you’ve set your gun to the proper mode, it’s essential to understand how to position it properly over the surfaces you plan to nail. Handle the gun so your finger has easy access to the trigger. Position your hands to support the gun and keep it in place. Then, hold your body away from the gun and be prepared to sustain a little kickback once the gun fires.
Fire Your Nail Gun With Accuracy
Before you fire your gun:
- Make sure that you push the tip of it against your desired surface.
- Carefully apply pressure to the gun as it fires.
- Pull away from the surface.
The application of pressure in this stage is significant, as it will ensure that the nail smoothly and adequately fires into a surface.
Never Lower Your Tool by Its Hose
People often use nail guns for roofing and other projects that require the use of a ladder. So, it’s typical that you’ll have to carry your nail gun down with you once you finish your project. When you do this, you’ll want to be sure to never, ever lower the gun to the ground by its air hose. Lowering your tool this way makes it more susceptible to swinging back and forth, which can cause it to hit something and misfire. So, it’s better to ensure that it’s in sequential mode and hold it closer to your body with the nose piece pointed away from you. This tip for using your nail gun might seem a little less obvious, but it’s crucial all the same.
Disconnect Your Gun From Its Power Source Before Reloading
Lastly, you must completely disconnect your gun from its power source whenever you need to replace your nail strip. Disconnecting your tool before you replace nails is integral to your safety and its ability to work correctly. Taking a little extra time to power down your gun will prevent it from firing off while you’re replacing your nails and ensure that your gun doesn’t get jammed.
Knowing how to properly use your nail gun is essential to your safety and ensuring that you can use it as efficiently as possible when working on a project. Hopefully, we’ve been able to provide a more in-depth look into this powerful tool with our ultimate guide to how to properly use a nail gun.