I plan to do a bunch of crown molding and picture framing woodworking around the first floor of my house. I planned to buy a air compressor and pneumatic nailer to do the job, since there is a lot of work. Can anyone give me some advice on brand and size to buy?
I saw a Porter-Cable kit at Home Depot which included compressor, 5/8" to 2" nailer, hose, etc for about $250. Is this a good size gun? What about price for the kit? I saw a Porter-Cable gun which is available separately from the kit, but was 3/4" to 2 1/2", which I thought was a better size to have for the job I have to do (what would I nail with 5/8" brads?) Any advice anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!!
The PC nailers are very good tools and the nails are easy to find. I have two of these, a Framming and a Roofing nailer. I have three Stanley Bostic nailers. A small Crown stapler, a small brad nailer and a finish nailer. The finish nailer is the same size as you are looking at. I like the tools but have a hard time finding the right nail and staples.
On a Compressor. You need to match the CFM rating for the tools to the compressor. That is all I can tell you. there are lots of brands and lots of choices. Also check the range of the compressor min max on the switch. I had a compressor that had the right amount of CFM but it ranged from about 75 to 100 lbs. At the 100 lbs level the nails were set below the surface, At 75 the nails were above the surface. As I was about 50' from the compressor, it was always a guess when the pressure was too low to use and I would have to hit the relief valve to start it up again.
I scraped it an bought a 60 gal 5 hp unit that goes from 100 to 125 and no problem. Lots of air for all my tools and more for cleaning the shop and filling tires, and toys.
I bought the Porter Cable compressor kit a few years ago and would recommend against purchasing it. Not that it doesn't work just fine. The compressor is a bit noisy and underpowered. The nailer works OK. It is just kind of expensive for what you get.
Instead I would recommend purchasing a reconditioned Campbell Hausfield compressor directly from CH.
The oil lubricated twin tank contractors compressor is the one I would get because it is quiet and really durable. These are the most common ones I see trim carpenters use on job sites. I also see Speedairs and Hitachis but in my opinion they are a bit overpriced compared to the CH. Any one of the CH oilless compressors would work well too, especially if you plan at some point to use your compressor for spraying. No oil in your lines.
As for nailers, I've got the PC BN125 and a Senco SLP20 and a Senco SFN40. The Sencos win hands down. You can get a Senco on eBay for about 1/2 to 2/3 of the retail price. The SLP20 is a 18 gauge brad nailer that shoots up to 1 5/8 brads. This is about as long an 18 gauge nail as I would want to shoot into hardwood. The SFN40 is a 15 gauge angle finish nailer that shoots up to a 2 1/2 nail. I use this for trim and door installation and you really need the full 2 1/2 length for doors.
I bought that kit from Home Depot at the beginning of summer. It has worked great for me. I'm a cabinet maker and use pins of that size for all kinds of things. My father-in-law also used it to make my daughter a doll house. So far, not a problem. If you're looking to use something heavy duty you always should by the best you can aford. At the time I couldn't aford Senco. Senco has the best name in guns, but you can pay up to 3x's the price of a Porter Cable. If I'm running crown around a room I use a finish-nailer not a pin-gun. It has the extra strength & length. As far as the compressor goes, I don't use it all day every day, but I have no complaints with it. I got mine for $230 (my gun just shoots up to 1 1/2 inch pins) and I found it to be a good price. If you're not a pro using it hard-core I think the Porter Cable tools would be fine. Just my $.02. Good luck.
I bought the PC set your referring to about a year ago and have been pleased with it.
When I bought mine, I got the nailer that shoots the 1-1/2" nails which was a mistake. PC now offers the nailer that shoots 3/4" to 2-1/2" nails (FN250?). I would highly recommend this gun.
As for the compresser, it is very noisey as stated, but what oiless compresser isn't?
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