Add A Pin Nailer

You already know how much you need pneumatic tools in your  operation, whether it be on a jobsite or in a home shop, the day of pounding things together with a hammer and nail are done. Not only is it slow but it requires a surprising amount of physical energy and has the added downside that it moves the pieces around.

There are few things more frustrating that getting everything right where you want it and having the fastening operation change the relative position of those pieces. One bad operation and the whole project can be destroyed. When using a power nailer, you can position the piece and with a little care, it will stay right where you put it.

That is all stuff that you already know, but if you only have one air nail gun, you are missing another advantage of using a cordless nailer, the fact that you can use smaller fasteners when the job calls for it. If you are using relatively small pieces of wood, a sixteen gage nail just plain be too big for the operation. This is especially true when you get closer to the edges of the piece. A cordless 18 gage brad nail gun that shoots an smaller nail can make your life a lot easier when it comes to this.

compressor and toolsWhen I was first starting out as a professional carpenter, we only had sixteen gage finish nailers. You would just switch out the length of nail depending on the task at hand. While that was a huge step up from the days when I helped my dad and we drilled and nailed everything by hand, there was one problem I still faced. When nailing the trim around doors or windows, it was not uncommon for the wood to split right at the inside of the miter. When I was nailing by hand, that’s because the head on the nail would split the wood when it was set, and with the air nailer  the diameter of the fastener was just too big for the situation.

Once I purchased a brad nailer, this problem went away.

There came a time when I added an even smaller pin nailer to my arsenal. But that is a truly specialize tool. Vital for situations where it was useful, but pretty useless for anything else.

Compact Router Tips and Tricks

If you are one of the truly router addicted types, like me, then you own several. You might have a full sized 1/4″ collet monster left from the days when you were just getting by and picking up your first woodworking tools. (And just keep around for the sake of good feels.)

Now you have a 1/2″ collet router you use for the jobs around the shop you still need to do free hand, or at least find easier to do that way. Along the way you realized that one, having a big router that you moved in and out of that high buck router table just wasn’t a very tenable situation in the long run and two, the first one you bought really wasn’t the right one for the table anyway.

So you went out and got a three-and-a-quarter horse behemoth with a wide throat so you could handle the door sets you bought and couldn’t use. Then, perhaps, you bought a router lift and now your router table is a serviceable stand in for a shaper, and that’s one less tool you have to buy and fit into you too darn small woodshop.

palm router projectBut if you haven’t made the plunge yet, you still need one more router in your shop. You need to look for the best palm router combo you can get your hands on and buy it. Sure you’re going to need another set of bits, but the first time you get that trim router in your hot little hands you are going to wonder how you ever got along without one.

Sure the big router you got was just what you had always wanted. You did your research and found the one with the best stats for the best money. When you got it home and made a ffew passes in the shop, you felt just like one of the big boys. Well, you are one of the big boys now, you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

The fact is that a good laminate trimmer is the right tool for almost any job around the shop or on the job that you would need a handheld router for. Of course, it will never match up to the router table for raw power, but most anything that needs that kind of power you shouldn’t be using a hand held router for anyway.

I’m sure you realize that with the improvement in small routers, you can get a palm router that has all of the features of a much larger unit. Variable speed, soft start routers that spin up to 20,000 rpm are available. And router bits really aren’t that expensive when you buy them in sets from someplace like MCLS router bits.

The first day you spend hours edging wood pieces with multiple profiles, or have to hold the router at an odd angle in order to dress up an edge on a piece that’s already assembled, you will quickly see how superior a small router is to a full sized one for these types of tasks. Not only are they easier to hold at odd angle and much less fatigue inducing, they are also much easier to control. Doing good work while only holding the router with one hand is possible, which opens up a whole world of operations that you might not have considered when having to hold on to the big router with both hands.

Get a small trim router today, or at least as soon as you can. There is not one chance in a thousand that you will regret it.

Wood Day

One of the great things about owning a small shop wood planer is that you are not limited by what wood you can find down at the local big box store.

I would say down at the local lumber yard, but the wood that you can find there is so limited to start with that it doesn’t even bear mentioning.

You can go to unlikely sources, like mills in your area or even your local backyard lumberjack and find rough boards that you can smooth for your projects. Or if you are brave enough, even find some used lumber from and old farm or bridge and mill it.


Imagine being able to find beautiful but not yet milled slabs like those in this picture and being able to take them back to your little shop and turn them into paneling. Just a quick run through your machines and there you go.

Dimension the boards with a table saw and run them through your planer. Then a couple of operations on the router table and you have a beautiful supply of random plank paneling that you can display on an accent wall or in your den, secure in the knowledge that no one else has anything like it.

Not only will you have pride of ownership, you will have the immense satisfaction of knowing that you did it all yourself. And had a great time doing it.

Next, find a tree in your yard, cut it down, have a portable mill come in and make planks and dry them yourself. Then the satisfaction you feel will be magnified exponentially.

If you were really into it, you would buy a mill set up for your chainsaw and do the whole nine yard yourself. But that might be just a bit over the top…

Good Evening Kandiohi

Kandiohi? What’s up with that?

It is a wonder what trivia ends up catching hold in your brain. `There actually is a Knadiyohi County. It’s in Minnesota and apparently it is a wonderful and beautiful place to be.

Still, one has to wonder why that particular place would be lodged there in my old noggin. Is it the word itself? Is it that I heard something else about it that caught my mind? Perhaps the name waskandiyohilake attached to a story or in a book. Jonathan Kellerman perhaps.

It seems that I have come to the place in my life where the idea of some idyllic backwoods eden has the power to stick itself in my mind. Is it a factor of age? Is it that boredom or the waxing of the years has brought me to the point where I have finally done enough that I know now that I need to get on with the things in my life that I have always wanted to do.

A bucket list is something that hangs over your head once you know about it and have it take up residence as an actual thing that needs to be done. The trick is to make it into something that can actually be handled. Whether that means moving things down on the list or coming up with a plan that will make the actuality of the things on the list a reality.

I ramble I think I’ll jump in the truck again and just go for a ride. That little slice of bucket-ness I can have at least for now.


Good Morning Vietnam!

Love that movie. Of course it has nothing whatsoever to do with what this blog will be about.

Except that that’s kind of what this blog will be about, since I intend to use it as my personal playground/diary/soapbox – the one place in the world where I get to say whateverthehell I want to say.

There are just too damn many places in the world where I can’t do that, so if I want to talk about my beater cars, dream about that big engine I’m going to build, crow about some new tool I just bought or just bitch about what I think is wrong with the world, that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s the plan. If you have a better idea, just let me know.

Unless it has something to do with jello molds and ivory soap. Then I don’t want to know and you can just keep that stuff to yourself.

Nevermind. I need to go jump in my truck and go out to pound some nails, or do all those damn things that carpentry has become these days that have nothing to do with pounding nails.

Some days I miss the old days.

Until next time heres some tunes to get us by.

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