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View Full Version : brads/nails vs. screws



budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 11:56 AM
ok well i accidentally found some of my christmas presents and the one that stood out was a 2gal. air compressor with nail gun. I honestly think that a screw would hold the wood sooo much tighter than a small little brad or nail. Would i be better off returning this combo because i have a drill bit and i have good screws and i need the wood to be as tight as possible while the glue dries.

Who here uses brads/ nails instead of screws? Do the brad/nails hold the wood pretty tight or are screws just amazingly better? Any help is greatly appreciated!

DBfan187
12-22-2007, 11:57 AM
I use brads, love them.

JimJ
12-22-2007, 11:59 AM
Brads work fine.

Heck, for the BIB's I didn't use anything beyond lots of clamps because I didn't want a lot of tiny little holes to fill.

Flipx99
12-22-2007, 12:00 PM
I use brads as it makes the builds go faster.

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:00 PM
I use brads, love them.

but i also bet you have a pretty nice table saw and your cuts are **** near perfect so you could use nothing and it would still be nice? I have a table saw without the extender and therefore i can only make cuts up to 11.5" i have yet to make a box using my tables aw because it is so small. I really need the extender! maybe my mom will get me that as well for x mas.

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:02 PM
just thinking are brads better than clamps? would i be better off returning the nail gun and buying clamps instead?

DBfan187
12-22-2007, 12:05 PM
but i also bet you have a pretty nice table saw and your cuts are **** near perfect so you could use nothing and it would still be nice?
I don't have a table saw unfortunatley. :crying: Also my cuts are far from perfect. lol

JimJ
12-22-2007, 12:06 PM
Brad nailing is a heck of a lot faster than just clamping it, because I had to wait a day before moving the clamps and securing another piece...when I put the trim pieces on, I'll brad nail them because it's quick and works just as well for my application...


I really need the extender! maybe my mom will get me that as well for x mas.

Extender? You can build a table and a longer fence out of wood, that's what I've done...usually get Lowe's or Home Despot to rip it once just so I don't have to handle a full sheet when I get home...

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:07 PM
I don't have a table saw unfortunatley. :crying: Also my cuts are far from perfect. lol

oh wow. ok well that help out a bunch. where do you think brads come into play compared to a couple of clams?

I guess the brads are A LOT faster and maybe not quiet as good at sealing as the clamps would be.

miker
12-22-2007, 12:07 PM
Wayyyyy faster.... Less hassle, less worry about hole matching up, and cracking the wood...

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:10 PM
Brad nailing is a heck of a lot faster than just clamping it, because I had to wait a day before moving the clamps and securing another piece...when I put the trim pieces on, I'll brad nail them because it's quick and works just as well for my application...



Extender? You can build a table and a longer fence out of wood, that's what I've done...usually get Lowe's or Home Despot to rip it once just so I don't have to handle a full sheet when I get home...

i can build a fence (the piece that the measuring clamp slides on?) out of wood? I guess i could to that. How tough is that task?

Canaan
12-22-2007, 12:13 PM
I use 16ga 1 5/8" nails on most of my builds. But on larger builds, I shoot a few nails in to hold the pannels then come back w/ screws in a few places.

Either way, an air nailer REALLY speads up a build.

JimJ
12-22-2007, 12:13 PM
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/6489/bib1rj6.jpg

Clamp farming.

I don't recommend this, if you're covering or painting the cabinet at all...way too time-consuming.

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:15 PM
^^^^ hahahaha ohh ok i thought that you were talking about the thing i need for my table saw.

helotaxi
12-22-2007, 12:16 PM
i can build a fence (the piece that the measuring clamp slides on?) out of wood? I guess i could to that. How tough is that task?

Usually you buy a precision fence and rails or the like when you build a bigger table.

Brads are nice and I use them a decent amount for rough work but for finish work I'll usually use a biscuit jointer and glue/clamp the joint. The biscuits hold the alignment while the clamps are applied. No holes to fill and no worries about hitting a brad with the router when I do the roundovers.

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 12:17 PM
thanks guys this is very informational for me

hempy
12-22-2007, 12:25 PM
Clamp farming.

Indeed.

But why would you wait 24hrs to unclamp a workpiece? It sets in about 30 mins, and unless you have some self-stressing joint like an arc or bend, it should be fine to move on after about a half hour.

JimJ
12-22-2007, 12:29 PM
Because I'm a nitpicky SOB and wanted to make sure that the joint is cured before I unclamped...

helotaxi
12-22-2007, 12:41 PM
^^^Nothing worse than assuming that the joint is set only to have it pull apart when you unclamp it too soon. The joint is garbage at that point. It will never set right unless you disassemble it, remove the glue and re-glue/clamp.

mlstrass
12-22-2007, 02:00 PM
Only issue I've ever had using a brad nailer is long panels that are warped as they won't pull the wood in tight enough. Otherwise for smaller boxes they are 100x faster then screw & glue, and it's the glue that holds the box together, not the brads or screws...

budahbuddy803
12-22-2007, 09:19 PM
Only issue I've ever had using a brad nailer is long panels that are warped as they won't pull the wood in tight enough. Otherwise for smaller boxes they are 100x faster then screw & glue, and it's the glue that holds the box together, not the brads or screws...

this is true, but when i use screws i get the wood tighter than i can get it when nailing. Its like a super tight bond instead of just a loose one.

BrianChia
12-22-2007, 11:55 PM
Brad nails can make it MUCH faster but only if your cuts and your wood is straight. If everything is lined up properly then nails and glue will work. If it's just a little off, however, the nails won't pull in tightly like screws or clamps can. Clamps are optimal but with some joints it can be difficult to clamp effectively also. Also if you are doing dry fit testing then screws have a clear advantage over both. But if you are doing a basic proven box that you want to finish quickly and you make sure your cuts all line up, then nails and glue works fine.

BassAddictJ
12-23-2007, 12:11 AM
good thread

PSturmer
12-23-2007, 12:39 AM
i dont know how you guys use a nail gun. but i use put 45'' clamps on and then a bar or quick grip on and then pop some nails in. after i take the clamps off it is not even close to the strength a screw has.

brokeitagain
12-23-2007, 04:08 AM
I drill,countersink,glue and screw . i did a box today at the local audio shop, because the owner fired his builder, he insisted i use the brad nailer and liquid nails, i am begining to wonder if that is one of the reasons a few of their boxes have been blown/rattled apart.
Screws have far better holding power until the glue fully cures, i will continue to use screws and titebond II until something better comes along

audioarsonal
12-23-2007, 09:04 AM
I use a brad nailer along with glue if it's not going to be used for serious bass,hella faster!But if its for serious I pre-drill,counter sink,glue and screw.

miker
12-23-2007, 12:36 PM
Counter sink? Please explain!

jnralp00
12-23-2007, 12:49 PM
counter sink so the head of the screw is actually hidden in the wood. You can buy a bit to do this. :fyi:

miker
12-23-2007, 02:04 PM
counter sink so the head of the screw is actually hidden in the wood. You can buy a bit to do this. :fyi:

So basically, drilling out a hole the size of the head? Is only cosmetic?

IgnoreMe
12-23-2007, 03:51 PM
Only issue I've ever had using a brad nailer is long panels that are warped as they won't pull the wood in tight enough. Otherwise for smaller boxes they are 100x faster then screw & glue, and it's the glue that holds the box together, not the brads or screws...

exactly why i want a good wood to wood contact...which i will never trust nails/brads to do.

baseballer1100
12-23-2007, 04:02 PM
I love my narrow crown stapler.

bjfish11
12-23-2007, 06:55 PM
exactly why i want a good wood to wood contact...which i will never trust nails/brads to do.

x2

budahbuddy803
12-23-2007, 07:00 PM
x2

so you think i should return my air compressor and nail gun? because i kind of think that way also.

brokeitagain
12-23-2007, 07:09 PM
Return it and get a good set of drill bits and a countersink, i use corner clamps when i dont have an extra set of hands.Lowes has decent ones for $8 a piece
If you get enough money back get your self a nice cordless drill too

bjfish11
12-23-2007, 07:14 PM
Its personal preference, but I use screws over brads. Brads is a little quicker, but I feel screws give it much better holding power while the glue dries. And you dont have to mess with clamps...

brokeitagain
12-23-2007, 07:20 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/brokeitagain/045325166345.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/brokeitagain/00926144000.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v238/brokeitagain/6280DWPE_L.jpg

These are the tools i use for assembly, i like the 14.4v drill because its a bit lighter, i have an 18v dewalt but it weighs a ton when you are assembling these things

miker
12-23-2007, 07:21 PM
Screws pull and hold, brads hold? Clamps pull and hold?

EDIT: You will want higher than 14.4v....

brokeitagain
12-23-2007, 07:23 PM
Clamping takes forever if you dont own alot of them. I do use a brad nailer to attach 45* corner braces to hold them while glue dries

miker
12-23-2007, 07:26 PM
Clamping takes forever if you dont own alot of them

Hmm, I take forever anyway:) I clamp and screw, or nail... I do it in sections... Let the glue dry over night.

ballstothewall
12-23-2007, 08:49 PM
Clamping is necessary to make something quality out of wood. :) Then you need to wait atleast a couple of hourse before you can take the clamps off and move it.

tsenfw
12-23-2007, 08:52 PM
I glue, clamp, brad nail, and then move the clamps to the next area to nail. I think the box came out pretty **** tight.

brokeitagain
12-23-2007, 09:09 PM
EDIT: You will want higher than 14.4v....

Why? is there a reason to need that kind of power for mdf?
A 5/64'' drill bit and drywall screws put up that much of a fight?

Chevyaudio
12-23-2007, 09:15 PM
I use brad nails and clamps...clamp the wood down tight, and then throw some brad nails on it just to make sure it holds if I take the clamps off too soon.

budget76
12-24-2007, 12:34 AM
I will never use nails, no matter how much faster. I'm sure they work, but I would only use them if i'm keeping the wood clamped overnight. Then there'd be no point to use anything, glue is all the strength.

I used countersunk screws and liquid nails, but i'll use wood glue on all future builds. Much nicer to work with than a cauking gun. The screws are what pulled my wood together nice and tight, not my hands. Especially when I had a couple 1/16'' gaps that needed constant pressure to be pulled together until the glue dried.

to the OP, If you can't return the compressor, which may be more useful than you realize, pick up a cheap air tool set with a drill, sander to make the compressor more useful to you.

IgnoreMe
12-24-2007, 03:39 AM
hell yea. i wouldnt be getting rid of the air compressor. but i would get rid of the nailer.

btw 14.4V is fine.

also i have recently started using these deck mate screws http://www.deckmatescrews.com/ . you can torque the **** out of them without stripping. in fact i can "countersink" these screws using the bit that comes with the box, without needing a countersink bit. just keep torquing them down until they sit flush. hell i have gotten them to sit 1/4" under the surface of the wood without splitting the layer beneath. good ****, and saves time to get the same look at countersinking.

jdc753
12-24-2007, 08:37 AM
Personally I don't see how you can even talk about returning tools, thats like blasphemy right there lol. I guess unless you stick to purely box building and don't see doing anything else then its ok to return but tools are exactly that tools and its never bad to have too many of them.

I personally use screws, just due to the weight of the material, 3/4 mdf is pretty beefy stuff to be using brads, if you go by the idea that its purely glue then I guess you can sleep at night but I would much rather have a structural sound product before the glue is taken into consideration.

Only place I can really think of brads being used is for crown molding or half round on baseboard and such where its just really small stuff and you don't want to split it by using anything larger than a brad.

skadude016
12-24-2007, 08:48 AM
Screws pull and hold, brads hold? Clamps pull and hold?

EDIT: You will want higher than 14.4v....

you dont need higher than a 14.4v I have used 12v and it works fine :)

audioarsonal
12-24-2007, 10:01 AM
I have found a craftsman 19.2v impact will also countersink pretty well without breaking the heads off.But normally I'll use a drill/counter sink bit then screw the wood together with a dab of glue in the screw hole just for insurance.

helotaxi
12-24-2007, 10:03 AM
I only use brads to hold stuff straight until I can get the clamp in place or for sticking in the 45 deg corner braces while the glue dries. I use screws exclusively (no glue) when building amp racks and assembling stuff in the car so I can get it back apart at some point. For screw work, DeWalt makes an all in one quick change drill with countersink and screwdriver bit. Chuck the housing into the drill (I use a 12V Ryobi FWIW) and drill the pilot holes with countersink and then without messing with the chuck or using more than one hand, flip the thing around and have a screwdriver ready to go.

Whenever I'm working plywood, there's no beating biscuits or dowels and clamps.

miker
12-24-2007, 02:51 PM
you dont need higher than a 14.4v I have used 12v and it works fine :)

Did I say "NEED" no, I said want...

Sure a 14.4 or 12 will work... But seriously... It's so much better when using a 18.2v...

bjfish11
12-25-2007, 10:05 AM
The 14.4 Dewalt I use, is MORE than enough for building boxes. Im sure a 12 V would work fine as well....

helotaxi
12-25-2007, 10:12 AM
Did I say "NEED" no, I said want...

Sure a 14.4 or 12 will work... But seriously... It's so much better when using a 18.2v...

Until you've been using it awhile and then its weight gets annoying. You don't need a ton of torque to drill or drive screws in predrilled holes and the extra weight doesn't get you anything other than tired.

ballstothewall
12-25-2007, 10:30 AM
Theres no need for an 18v when putting screws into plywood, it just is extra weight. A good 14.4 with two batteries will be a lot easier to use.

audioholic
12-25-2007, 01:46 PM
When Im assembling a box, I have like 4 or 5 drills sitting around (one for pre-drill, one for clearance, one for countersink, etc) so I dont have to swap out bits all the time. Heck one of them I use is an old 9v and it works just fine.

I love my brad nailer, but I wouldn't use it on any serious box I build. I use it for amp racks and such, not to mention household projects. And imo no shop can be called a 'shop' with an air compressor. :p: Keep it.

miker
12-25-2007, 01:54 PM
So "shops" shouldn't have air compressors?;) I think you mis-worded that.

Also yeah w/ the drill thing... it's a pain in the *** to switch from a tiny bit to a philips head one...


I agree w/ you guys for the most part on a lower voltage drill.. Yeah.. For small holes, and screwing screws into pre-drilled holes.. Yeah.. 12v is fine. Though you won't get very far when drilling larger holes... Anyway... It's good to have a higher voltage drill... They should make drills that take variable voltage batteries..

Seriously though, keep the compressor, and nail gun... You could go buy your own drill for fairly cheap...

helotaxi
12-25-2007, 03:45 PM
http://www.dewalt.com//ProductImages/PC_Graphics/PHOTOS/DEWALT/ACCESSORIES/LARGE/2/DW2735_1NPP.jpg

That there makes the drill/countersink/drive a quick operation with a single drill.

DBfan187
12-25-2007, 07:05 PM
I have that.

teamsubgopoof
12-25-2007, 10:26 PM
i agree with Jim to a point.....

brads and clamps are fine...

but if your building a box that is going to have alot of pressure and a chance of flexing...

i'd still counter sink a few screws down each side and fill the holes