Photo: courtesy Cody Bollerman
Hitachi NR83A2 3¼-inch Full Round Head Framing Nailer
When it comes to rough carpentry work on the bigger jobs we do, our framers and roof team have really come to appreciate the Hitachi NR83A2 3¼-inch pneumatic nailer. The guys use it for nailing off in tricky areas—high up, tough angles, etc.—and when there’s a lot of nailing to be done. It’s also super handy when you’re working with heavy or awkward wood members: If you need to use your strength in one arm, nailing with the gun means you just press down on the tip of the head and pull the trigger to tack the piece into place. Easy.
But keep in mind that this isn’t a finish gun for finesse. We mainly use it on framing, roofing, stairs, and fencing. It’s more of a workhorse, and it definitely boosts efficiency. In one minute, you can get in about 20 nails versus the one nail you’d place in the same time if you were manually hammering. Also, due to the pressure, you can shoot through wood knots and pull together unmatched carpentry.
Framing a house by hand takes either more workers or more hours to complete than if you use the pneumatic nailer. I’d say that using the strip nailer versus hand-nailing cuts framing time by about 70 percent. And shear wall is a nightmare to do by hand once you get used to this nailer. The pneumatic nailer effectively replaces a worker on a shear-wall job. All you need to do is snap a line where your studs are, set up the compressor, and one guy can do the shear wall once the sheets are tacked in place. And that speed also makes it safer: less time spent on roofs working at awkward, difficult angles.
Two things to watch out for with the nailer: If you’re not careful and don’t adjust the gauge/air pressure, you can nail too deep into roofing plywood, etc., and have issues with inspectors. Make sure you adjust the gun after a couple of shots, if needed. Another thing is that nails occasionally get lodged in backward or slide down the chamber and block it. This can be a headache, as you have to be careful about getting them out.