View Full Version : brads for frames

Nov 15th 2011, 02:34 PM
I just got myself an 18 gauge brad nailer to put together my next batch of frames. I was playing around with it yesterday using the 1 1/2" brads that came with it and had blowouts galore. I use a jig to assemble frames and ended up nailing half the frames to the jig :lol: . Any tips (other than get shorter brads, I picked up some 1.25" and 1" to try next time)?

Also, I got to wondering... Does anybody assemble frames just placing the brads/nails laterally? This may be hard to explain, but I'm thinking one through each endbar lengthwise at the bottom to catch the bottom bar tabs. Then one through each endbar lengthwise at the top to catch the topbar. I'd probably go ahead and put the traditional extra nail in the endbar under the ear of the topbar as well. Seems it would use fewer nails, and perhaps offer more holding power (since apparently the shear strength is what you're looking for out of a nail). I'd still glue everything, of course.

Please comment. I don't want to assemble hundreds of frames just to find they all fall apart in 6 months.

Thanks, Dan

Nov 15th 2011, 03:20 PM
I still nail most of mine the old way but I have tried using a brad nailer, but mine shoots staples as well which is what I used.
One of the commercial beeks in the area builds and sells frames with a single nail laterally as you describe, one on the top on each end and one on the botoom on each end (without glue). They do add the single nail on each end through the end bar into the top bar for the additional strength against the shear you mention.
I would think you would be OK, especially if you are using glue as well.

Nov 15th 2011, 05:22 PM
Glued first, then shot laterally through the 8 end bar ears will do the trick. 3/4" is long enough. I am now using the same length staples in the same fashion and is even stronger.

This nailing direction does not lend itself though to jigging everything standing up and nailing straight top and bottom with longer nails or staples. Blowouts happen if you cross nail with long ammunition. Had one come very close to educating a finger.

Nov 15th 2011, 05:58 PM
I use a brad nailer,1 1/2 on the top bars and 3/4 on the bottoms and under the top bar, glue also. But, I did cut a piece of wood to lay on the top bars and bottom bars to rest my nailer on to keep it 90 degrees to the bars. I don't know what jig you are using, but I do 10 at a time with my jig. Wood grain in the end bars sometimes causes a blow out whether you are square or not. I just cut off the blow out with some small diagonal wire cutters.

Nov 15th 2011, 08:20 PM
Thanks guys.
Rast- I like the tip about using wire cutters to nip off the blowouts. That's the "duh" kind of thing I might not have thought of.

Crofter- I was thinking of using just one 1.25" nail in the top, and one 1" nail in the bottom of the endbar to laterally go almost all the way through and catch both "ears" of the endbar in one shot. Maybe that would require fancier shooting than is realistic. If that doesn't work, I'd have to reconsider if it's worth giving up the jig.

Either way, I love the brad nailer. It makes putting frames together fun.

Nov 16th 2011, 06:12 AM
Dan, you can give it a shot but there is a lot of variability in the grain direction and hardness that certainly will tend to redirect the end of the brad before it gets all the way across ear to ear on the endbars. I had some yellow pine ones that would have made that idea hopeless. Others are nice mellow white pine and the nail redirect is not an issue.

I would advise anyone getting a power nailer to consider one that will handle both brads and staples. The brad is good in shear, but if the design puts the force on pull out, the staple has much more resistance to pull through. There is virtually no head on a brad.