I am building an entertainment center with a solid-oak face frame, and an MDF-core plywood and oak veneer carcass. When I was nailing the face frame to the carcass, the nails kept coming out the sides, even though I was holding the nailer straight up and down. Can you help me, please?
The type of blowout you
describe is often caused by the
orientation of the growth rings in the
face frame material. If the growth
rings are almost parallel with the
direction of the nail, the nail may follow
the rings. To avoid blowout, tilt
the gun so the nail cuts across the
growth rings, and has less tendency to
follow the growth rings.
Most nails used in pneumatic nailers
have a wedge-shaped point that pushes
the wood grain aside. Turn the
nail-tip wedge perpendicular to the
length of the growth rings so it cuts
through the fibers. Most 15-gauge
nailers should have the handle parallel
with the face frame, and 16- and 18-
gauge nailers should have the handle
perpendicular to the face frame.
If the air pressure to your nailer is
low, the nail will have a greater tendency
to deflect. When driving nails
into dense wood, I prefer to keep my
air pressure set to the highest level recommended
by the manufacturer.
This story originally appeared in American Woodworker April 1999, issue #72.