Building Skills: Tips for better driving and for a finished look.
I own half a dozen pneumatic nailers in various gauges. They’re my go-to tools for slamming nails into framing lumber and for installing trim quickly and without leaving what my old helper Rob used to call “elephant tracks” from my hammer on the wood. But I still pull the hammer out of my tool belt to hand-drive nails on occasion. Sometimes it’s the best or even the only way; for example, when working with hardwood trim, a nail gun can get you into trouble. More than once, I’ve had those thin pneumatic nails follow the grain of, say, really expensive quarter-sawn white oak, and blow out through the face of the jamb to which I’m nailing casing. With a hand-driven nail, I’d have noticed the angle of the nail changing as it began to follow the grain and would have been able to prevent that disaster.