If you drive nails by hand, you simply put your hammer in the toolbox at the end of the workday. Air nailers and a compressor require a few more minutes of maintenance, but pneumatic tools are certainly worth the effort because they remove a great deal of the drudgery from door, window, and molding installation.
A hissing sound while the compressor is off means there’s a leak somewhere. Check the hoses and connectors until you find the culprit. Disassemble the joint and clean away dried pipe dope with a stiff wire brush. Apply fresh dope or wrap Teflon tape onto the male threads and reassemble the joint. If the hose leaks somewhere along its length, replace it; fix one spot, and you’ll probably soon find another leak.
If you have both a finish nail gun and a brad driver, you’ll probably discover that the smaller fasteners demand less air. That could mean resetting the pressure gauge at the compressor every time you switch guns. You can get around this problem by purchasing an in-line pressure regulator valve and adding it to your brad driver’s intake. Suppliers typically call this a cheater valve; it’s available with or without a gauge. By adjusting the knob, you can set the pressure to the exact amount you need. Once set, you can switch guns back and forth without adjustments.
Leaky connections are more than annoying. By wasting air, a leak causes the compressor to cycle on needlessly, eating up electricity, generating noise, and shortening its life. Fortunately the fix is fast and easy. Disassemble the joint, clean the threads, and add new pipe dope or Teflon tape. Tighten securely for a long-lasting fix.
Fine-Tune Air Pressure
An in-line valve allows you to fine-tune air pressure right at your working position. It’s especially handy for reducing airflow to a tool with a lower demand, such as a brad driver, so that you can swap back and forth with one that requires more air — such as your finish nailer — without resetting the compressor’s regulator valve.
Swivel Exhaust Port
Many brad nailers allow you to swivel the exhaust port, directing the blast away from your body and face. Make it a habit to adjust the direction whenever you switch working positions.
Drill a Pilot to Avoid Splits
For short lengths of molding, drilling a pilot hole gives high assurance against splits. Although drilling takes some time, it’s faster than cutting a piece of replacement molding and coping its end. As a rule of thumb, the more work you put into a piece of molding, the more it makes sense to drill pilot holes.