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Q & A: Nailer Blowout



Nailer Blowout


I am building an entertainment center with a solid-oak face frame, and an MDF-core plywood and oak veneer carcass. When I was nailing the face frame to the carcass, the nails kept coming out the sides, even though I was holding the nailer straight up and down. Can you help me, please?


The type of blowout you describe is often caused by the orientation of the growth rings in the face frame material. If the growth rings are almost parallel with the direction of the nail, the nail may follow the rings. To avoid blowout, tilt the gun so the nail cuts across the growth rings, and has less tendency to follow the growth rings.

Most nails used in pneumatic nailers have a wedge-shaped point that pushes the wood grain aside. Turn the nail-tip wedge perpendicular to the length of the growth rings so it cuts through the fibers. Most 15-gauge nailers should have the handle parallel with the face frame, and 16- and 18- gauge nailers should have the handle perpendicular to the face frame.

If the air pressure to your nailer is low, the nail will have a greater tendency to deflect. When driving nails into dense wood, I prefer to keep my air pressure set to the highest level recommended by the manufacturer.

This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April 1999, issue #72.

April 1999, issue #72

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