Review: Stinger CH38 2.0 Cap Hammer Stapler
National Nails improves on an already great tool 10 years after version 1.0 was introduced.
The Stinger CH38 cap hammer stapler was introduced in 2007 and instantly became my go-to tool for installing housewrap and roofing underlayment. Unlike pneumatic cap fasteners that drive medium wire/crown staples or nails, the Stinger is a hammer tacker/stapler that staples on plastic caps. My two tools have performed almost flawlessly for 10 years but over that time National Nails received feedback from contractors, examined broken tools, and did some additional testing that prompted improvements. Some improvements were incorporated into production runs over the past 10 years and others were added with the July 2017 introduction of a fully updated version – Stinger CH38-2. Like the original, the CH38-2 drives 3/8 in. hammer-tacker type wire staples through mechanically advanced plastic caps.
The big advantage of the Stinger over regular hammer tacker staplers – it helps prevent punctures and holes in housewrap and underlayment that can let water leak in. The Stinger does this in two ways:
The cap spreads the staple’s holding power over a larger surface area so it holds housewrap and underlayment in place without tearing through the staples or tearing holes around the legs in windy conditions.
The cap protects the membranes from being cut by the front edge of the stapler.
And the light-weight, small size and freedom from hoses makes the Stinger easier to handle and use than pneumatic cap fastening tools.
So what’s new on the CH38-2?
- Several hidden features that you wouldn’t notice unless you dismantled the tool and matched it up to the original model:
- The metal handle inside the tool body is stronger to help resist stress cracks with heavy use and hard blows.
- Improved welds on the cutter that breaks off the caps from the string.
- Improved welds on the finger operated trigger that advances the caps.
- Larger contact foot with an eased front edge – this is the spot just behind the nose of the stapler on the bottom of the cap track. This helps reduce the chance for tearing housewrap and underlayment when whacking the tool against the surface.
- The spring in the cap lid that helps keep it locked when the lid is closed is attached to the lid so it won’t pop out like the original.
- Cotter pins with downturned legs are used to retain the joint pins. The original tool used ‘E’ clips that could pop off.
- Refinements to the staple track and staple spring pusher were made to reduce jams.
Two changes on the CH38-2 that you will notice right away are the color – the updated model has a black cap lid instead of the original light green; and the handle now has molded finger grips. The grips make it easier to hold your finger position especially when using gloves. The only downside I see with the molded grips is the finger positions make it a little harder for users with smaller hands to reach the trigger for optimal leverage.
And another improvement is to the staples included in the StingerPac (StaplePacs come with cap coils and staples for the CH38-2). The new glue holds the staple sticks together better so they are less likely to jamb in the tool or crumble into pieces when the box is tossed around.
Expect to pay $50 – $60 for a new CH38-2. You can find out more about National Nails’
Stinger family of cap tools at www.stingerworld.com
When installing housewrap and roof underlayment make sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions. Some companies have very specific requirements for cap fasteners used to fasten their membrane that the CH38-2 may not meet for a complete installation. Still, I use the CH38-2 to tack the sheets down while rolling out housewrap or underlayment; then I go back over the membranes with a pneumatic cap tool like the Stinger CN100 cap nailer or Stinger CS150 cap stapler that have longer and larger diameter shanks and legs.