Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer Kit Review
You can plan on leaving your air compressor, drop cord and air hose in your truck when you start using the the new Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer Kit. Load in a fuel cell, the battery and a stick of nails and you are ready to go. Cord-free framing can’t be any easier especially for the tradesman, specialty contractor, remodeler and renovation specialist that is not concerned with production as much as precision, convenience and ease of use. An incredible 6000 nails per battery charge and up to 1200 nails per fuel cell combined with the recommended cleaning interval of 50,000 shots; means that down time is never an issue. The convenience that Paslode presents with this model makes for a very compelling argument for framing cord-free.
The Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer Kit comes neatly packaged in a heavy-duty blow molded clamshell-style carry case. There is extra room in the case for a spare battery, extra fuel cells and some other small odds and ends. Along with the nailer came a charger, one lithium-ion battery, safety glasses and the owners manual. Build quality of this nailer is top notch and was evident by the sturdy feel of the ABS plastic body with much of its heft coming from the mostly metal frame and internals. The overall shape and ergonomics of this cordless nailer mimic their pneumatic counterparts in many ways. Loading nails is easily done through a rear-loading magazine and the nail depth of drive adjustment is by way of a simple spring mechanism that can even be manipulated with gloves on. The overall weight of this nailer is just a tad over 7 pounds which means that, for those of us who do lots of overhead work, you can heft this around all day with less fatigue. If you need to set the nailer down, there is a built-in rafter hook that can catch onto any 2x material or even your tool belt. A nail lockout feature prevents blank driving and, as an additional safety feature to ensure that the nailer does not fire unless you are actually using it, the battery has a two position latch. The first position, keeps the battery locked into the tool but in an “off” position, with the next slot setting the tool into “on” mode. The included quick charger will charge the battery in one hour. Also, should you find yourself in a situation where you have only a few more nails to set and the battery just gave out, you can give the battery a quick two minute charge which is good for driving up to 200 nails.
For those of you not familiar with the Paslode series of gas fired cordless nailers, these nailers function much like an internal combustion engine. Rather than using the combustion energy to drive a spinning crank shaft, the explosion of the compressed fuel in the cylinder drives the piston in a downward thrust, which in turn shoots the nail into your project. Of course this is all done in a very controlled and sophisticated way that ensures that each fuel cell provides up to 1200 shots with the lithium-ion battery providing the spark that initiates the cycle. The 6000 nail battery life is a 50% improvement over the previous generation nailer thanks to the newer battery technology.
This nailer uses 30 degree paper collated nails that have an offset, full round head. Nails are available from Paslode that are either bright finish or galvanized (GalvGuard as Paslode calls them). For our testing purposes, we tried out two different boxes of 1000 nails, one being 2-3/8″ ring shank and the other 3″ framing. In each box is included a fuel cell. Since each fuel cell is supposed to do up to 1200 fasteners, you should have no trouble having enough fuel to get through a box of nails. The steep 30 degree angle means that the business end of the the Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer is finer, making it much easier to get into tight spaces, toe nail a board, or make precision shots.
Testing and Use
Our first project that we tried the Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer on was to add some plywood reinforcement under an old stage in a building constructed in the 1950’s. This particular stage, had storage designed underneath, but table and chair carts always got caught on the framing. Our solution was to line the sides of each storage bay with 1/2″ plywood. Before we started with the plywood, we first had to replace or repair many of the stage support studs with which we used some 3″ bright framing nails to toe-nail the studs back into place. Given the age of the building, much of the antique wood was old growth fir and hemlock (which means that it was extremely hard.) On a scale of soft to hard, with today’s white pine studs being soft and petrified wood being hard, this wood was about one notch below stone. In every case, the Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer had no trouble driving the long fasteners to the proper depth. We wholeheartedly believe that when Paslode says that this nailer will drive nails into LVLs and other engineered wood framing materials, it will do it.
Now that we had the framing fixed up, we started in on the plywood linings of the storage bays. I did not mention it earlier but we only had about 28″ of overhead clearance and about 44″ in width with each bay being 17 feet long. Pretty much it was a tight space, which only got worse once we started to slide in the 24″ wide by 8 foot long sheets of plywood. This was an excellent application of why using a cordless nailer is a perfect choice for locations with little clearance. Not once did we have to worry about getting tangled in or pinching a hose. We were able to quickly and effectively fasten the sheets to the framing material with the 2-3/8″ bright ring-shank nails. Our single caveat with this nailer is the nail magazine only holds one stick of nails at a time. Once you are rolling on a project you will have frequent reloads. Throughout the course of this project, and we shot several hundred nails of both lengths, we did not encounter a single misfire or other issues with the nailer jamming or binding up.
Going cordless for framing applications is easy with the Paslode CF325Li Cordless Framing Nailer. Our short list of contractors that would find this nailer useful would be electrical, mechanical and plumbing tradesmen that have to put in blocking for their installations. Of course, if you’re doing a lot of framing and plan on going through thousands of nails per day, this isn’t the tool you’d naturally go for if a compressor is something you can set up on a jobsite. But for smaller framing projects, renovations and working in tight spaces, this nailer would make an excellent choice for the residential or specialty contractor. The wide availability of nails and fuel cells make this cordless nailer a very attractive choice. For our Performance rating, we gave he CF325Li an 8/10 since it offers great versatility, light weight and plenty of power. Our only real performance ding would be for the short nail magazine, which seems to empty quickly due to only holding a single strip of nails. On the surface it might seem like this nailer costs considerably more than pneumatic versions, but if you factor in the convenience of not having to drag around all the support equipment needed for air-driven models, the initial purchase price becomes is less of a consideration. For our Value rating, we gave this nailer a high 8/10 score. Now is the time to consider a dedicated tool for cordless framing and this is the nailer to get.