Duo-Fast DF350S Round Head Angled Framing Nailer Review
Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Nailer
The Duo-Fast DF350S Framing Nailer that was supplied to us for testing came in a large cardboard retail box along with some safety glasses and a user manual. The Nailer came fully assembled other then there was no included air fitting installed. The only reason that we point this out is because it turned out to be a slight inconvenience to us. Just when we were getting ready to run some tests, we turned on our compressor, got the hose out and then low and behold, there was no fitting on the nailer. Now we can guess why there might not be an included fitting, since there are a few different quick coupling systems out there, but in our experience about 85% of the users out there use a universal 1/4″ quick connect coupling. Needless to say we had to run down to our local Home Depot and pick up the required 3/8″ to 1/4″ adapter and a 1/4″ swivel style universal quick coupler.
The overall body of the Duo-Fast DF350S is made of aluminum with a black over-molded rubber grip on the handle area of the nailer. The exhaust cap on the back of the nailer directs the air out the top away from the user. Since the cap is made of solid metal, it is designed to actually be used to tap lumber into position when needed. The firing mode selection involves removing the trigger pivot pin and then either raising or lowering the trigger to a different position that allows for the switch between sequential and bump firing modes. There are small graphics molded into the trigger that makes it easy to figure out what mode the nailer is in. We like to this style of using a simple switch to swap between modes, and the trigger selection worked very easily and effectively during our use of the tool. There is a tool-less depth of adjustment knob that makes it easy to set how deep the nails are being driven. The magazine is made of an extruded piece of aluminum and the nails are inserted on the top side of the magazine. The magazine will hold a total of 70 nails (two strips). we had two favorite features on this tool. The first was the installed rafter hook that is both removable and also switchable from one side of the nailer to the other. There is nothing more handy then being able to safely hang the nailer by the hook rather then having to balance or wedge it somewhere while you get your next framing member into position to nail it. The other feature that we really liked was the dry fire lockout which lets you instantly know when you are out of fasteners and keeps you from blowing divots into the wood for several shots before realizing you’ve drained the magazine.
Testing and Use
Testing the Duo-Fast DF350S nailer was a joy. The nailer has a nice balance to it and while it does weigh about half a pound more then one of our other favorite lightweight framing nailers, the Hitachi NR90AE, we still really enjoyed using it. What makes this nailer so likable is some of the handy features that it comes with that we already pointed out. The ability to be able to knock around a piece of lumber with the back of the nailer is a huge help and the rafter hook is a life saver. We actually used this nailer out on a construction project where it was handled just about every day during the construction of a new 2200 square foot raised beach style home. Since we made good use of it though all phases of the construction, we shot just about every type of fastener imaginable in through it.
Just a quick note about fasteners, the folks over at Duo-Fast thought it best to send us a box of their 20 degree 3-1/4″ full round head paper collated bright framing nails to use in the Duo-Fast DF350S (which we greatly appreciated). These nails were fantastic! No little piece of plastic would come flying out of the nailer when we would shoot nails in place. There is nothing worse then nailing something at about head level and having one of those little pieces come flying back to hit you in the face. Anyone that has used plastic collated framing nails knows exactly what I am talking about! Just as an experiment, we cycled a few sticks of the paper collated Duo-Fast nails in some of our other framing nailers that were designed for 21 Degree fasteners and that worked flawlessly! Actually when we compared the 20 and the 21 degree nails we had on hand, there was no real visual difference in the angle. It seems to us that the 20 and 21 degree nails can be used interchangeably. And this is exactly what we did. We used the Duo-Fast DF350S to shoot some 2-3/8″ galvanized ring shank to attach wall sheeting on the outside of the beach house. We also used 2-1/4″ inch ring shank to install roof sheeting, 3-1/4″ galvanized ring shank for installing deck board and of course we used thousands of 3-1/4″ round head framing nails.
In all of our use of the Duo-Fast DF350S, we never had a single jam, no matter what nails we were shooting. The other thing that we noted is that this nailer was always able to drive the nails flush into whatever material we were fastening. We nailed regular kiln dried white and yellow pine lumber, pressure treated lumber and LVL’s all with equal success. The only issues that occasionally came up was when we tried to toe nail studs, the spurs that protrude off of sides of the nose were not quite as aggressive as some of the other nailers we have tested. What would happen is the tip would slip and we would not get nicely placed nail shots. Otherwise, the compact size of the body of the nailer did allow it to fit in between normal 16″ on-center stud spaces with no problems.
Duo-Fast DF350S full round head framing nailer is a well-designed tool that has a number of features that most professionals will definitely appreciate. The rafter hook, metal exhaust plate and dry fire lock out are all things that make this nailer a great performer which is why we gave this nailer a 8/10 on our Performance rating. For our Value rating we gave this nailer an a 7/10 since it does well to compete with other pro-grade framing nailers and would be worth considering if you are in the market for a new round head framing nailer.
The company, originally called Fastener Corporation, was founded in 1937 and It started out as a small manufacturer of hand-held staplers and related fasteners on the north side of Chicago. Products were sold under the Duo-Fast brand name. In 1947, Fastener Corporation, in collaboration with a major automobile manufacturer, developed the world’s first pneumatic stapler. Not only did this stapling tool eliminate the production bottleneck in the carmaker’s upholstery trim shop, but it also led the way for new generations of air-driven staplers that played a major role in the economic boom of the late 1940s through the 1950s. New markets opened up for Fastener Corporation in 1964 when the company introduced its first pneumatic strip nailer (CN-135). Within the next five years the company introduced additional strip and coil nailers, all of which led to a new period of growth and development as Duo-Fast pneumatics quickly gained the wide-spread acceptance of homebuilders and manufacturers alike. The Duo-Fast brand name became so well recognized that it was adopted as the corporate name In 1974. In 1999, Duo-Fast Corporation was acquired by Illinois Tool Works, Inc., a diversified manufacturer of engineered components and systems, including many specifically for the construction market. Today, Duo-Fast Construction draws on the global resources of its parent company to provide innovative tools and fasteners to residential construction professionals!