The humble nail gun is an essential tool in the arsenal of the domestic contractor, being crucial for the effective and efficient erection and fixture of many different elements. But it is also a dangerous tool, and those using it for the first time will be understandably apprehensive. How should you approach using one correctly?
Types of Nail Gun
All nail guns serve the same purpose, but there are different types available that have different specific applications. The two main types of nail gun a home contractor or DIY decorator will encounter are framing nail guns and finishing nail guns; the former fires heavy-gauge nails for the purpose of frame construction as with stud walls, while finishing nail guns fire thin nails below the surface of a fixture, for the purpose of attaching skirting boards and coving.
The DeWalt nail gun set includes one each of the framing and finishing nail gun, owing to their practical utility for internal use. However, there are still more kinds of nail gun for more specialised purposes. For example, roofing nail guns are high-powered, and designed to punch wide-headed nails into shingle to hold tiles in place.
Essential Safety Preparations
Before you load and operate your nail gun, you should devote some time to ensuring your safety and the safety of others around you – as well as the safety of the job itself. Nail guns fire sharp projectiles at high speeds, and as such should be treated as nothing less than deadly.
For starters, anyone using a nail gun should ensure they are wearing adequate personal protective equipment, or PPE. Eye goggles or safety glasses are the most important item to wear, as they will protect your eyes from any debris, flying objects or misfired nails. A hard hat should also be worn to protect your skull, with work gloves helping to keep your hands safe when checking your driven nails.
Your environment should also be clear of any clutter or debris, to allow you a solid footing when operating the nail gun. Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of injury in UK workplaces, with RIDDOR reporting that 33% of all non-fatal injuries were caused by same-level slips or trips. A slip or trip could be deadly when operating a nail gun, so take care to ensure your footing is secure.
Safely Loading Your Nail Gun
If your nail gun is pressure or mains-powered, you should ensure no pressure or power is available to the gun when loading. This mitigates the risk of an accidental fire, or from injury when interacting with the loading and firing mechanism.
You should also ensure that there are no nails present in the gun before you load. Loose nails cannot be safely fired from the gun, and should be removed from the system before you add a new clip of nails to the gun.
Operating Your Nail Gun
When operating the nail gun, you should only remove the safety and engage the trigger when the gun is safely situated perpendicular to the target surface, with the nose pad pushed against it. Observers should stand behind you, and you should stand firmly behind the nail gun. Only fire when you are certain no one is next to or behind the surface.