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Having both refinished and laid my share of flooring, going from a manual nailer to a pneumatic is a bit of a jump – but a welcome one. As anyone who has done flooring knows, the two tools work in basically the same way, but with one exception. With a manual flooring nailer, the very act of beating on the rubber ram cap drives the ratcheting mechanism which sends the cleat into the wood until it’s all the way in. With most decent floor nailers, the ratchet will then reset when the nail is at the correct depth. Porta-Nails’ 470A Flooring Nailer is a pneumatic model which uses 89-90 PSI of air pressure to drive the nail into the flooring with a single, less-aggressive strike.
While it is not everyday that we need to install tongue and groove flooring, we recently had an opportunity to put down about 2000 square feet of 6â€ wide cypress. The cypress is a lot softer then say oak or bamboo but the process is the same for all kinds of both pre-finished and post-finished nail-down flooring. To do this project we probably should have used a pneumatic floor nailer, but since we fell into a really good deal on a pair of Bostitch MFN-201 Manual Flooring Cleat Nailer Kits, we went this route.
The new Duo-Fast FloorMaster 250BN Flooring Nailer is a lightweight 16-gauge angled finish nailer designed for blind nailing tongue and groove flooring. This nailer has a 45-degree angled no-mar tip that makes for precise and quick toe nailing. The kit includes some other goodies like swappable bump and sequential triggers and a standard flat tip so that you can be use this nailer as a regular 16-gauge finish nailer.
The Model 50M is a manual, single-blow nailer designed to use 18 gauge cleats. It is recommended for use on 3/8″, 1/2″ and 5/8″ tongue and groove flooring, as well as some 3/4″, exotic and solid wood flooring. The 50M uses a thinner 18 gauge cleat that is less likely to split the tongue on thinner woods and provides a reliable bond to the underlayment. This is a very robust nailer and it should do an incredible job at smaller jobs. We don’t recommend it for larger work over 300 sq. ft. as it will invariably produce lots of arm strain due to its reduced handle size and greater amount of required exertion over a pneumatic model.