Please help with choosing a nail gun to fix cedar cladding

13 Jan 2008
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United Kingdom
My husband is about to cedar clad a new build and intends to do it all by hand. I would like to help him, in the only way I can, by buying him a nail gun as a surprise. I've worked out some of the jargon (thanks to this site) but I still don't know what gun (type) I should be looking for. I see first fix and second fix and coil nailers and portanailers and staplers etc etc. I think the nails have to be about 50mm and must be stainless steel or galvanised. Please advise me what type of gun would be best. He has a lot of studwork to do too and decking so if perhaps someone could suggest something that does all kind of nail lengths........ Budget upto 250.00. Please HELP. thanks
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You really want a nail with a decent head on it as the cedar is quite soft and stick nails will pull through so the coil nailers will be the best bet. Unfortunately they are not suitable for studwork.

Screwfix are currently doing a deal on the Pasode IM350 (First fix gas nailer). 70 odd quid off at £295 with a couple of boxes of nails thrown in (worth over £40) which include 51mm galvanised ring shank nails which will be ok for the cedar. The paslode is the nailer for studwork and decking also, worth finding the extra £45 imo as you're getting a great tool at an excellent price.
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Dear Dav,
Thanks for this but screwfix are sold out apparently. You must be right - it was a good price! I can find this somewhere else I am sure (ebay or whatever) but is this definitely ok for cedar cladding and won't split wood or whatever? I have been looking for a cone coil nailer as advised kindly by Jason b but I can only find ones (in England anyway) that work off compressors - and I dont want to have to buy a compressor too. Also, I would have thought that if you were scaling walls and things on ladders, that the hose thingy would be very cumbersome?
Thank you
As long as the nails are driven flush and not into or countersunk into the cedar I think you should be fine.

Ultimately for the job a Paslode stapler would be the ideal choice imo but would have limited use for the other projects.
Cedar shingles are used far more in the US than they are here, they all fix them with air powered coil nailers, this is why coil nailers are also called roofing nailers

The clipped heads of paslode type nails can easily pull through the soft cedar

Dear Jason, Thanks for your advice - I appreciate it. Now I am more muddled than ever. After pretending greater interest than I actually have in cladding, I have discovered 'the nail has to go in at an angle tight into the tongue so that the next piece covers the nail'. The cladding is 19mm thick which is, I imagine, thicker than shingles and is being applied vertically as an 'accurate finish'. I have investigated coil nailers but as I said before, I wanted something less cumbersome. Ha ha I think he can do it by hand unless someone can come up with the perfect product.
definetly coil nailer. we use cedar shingles in many landscaping projects. a lot quicker and the nails wont split the shingles. you can hire them and a compressor for the project.
I would have reservations about using a nailer on cedar cladding. The quality of the fixing is paramount as they will be visible

The timber is soft, and the risk of nails going too deep is significant. Also, if this is external cladding, then you don't do secret nailing in the tongue. You should fix two nails at approx 1/4 centres of the board height, (min 20mm from the edge) otherwise you risk the board warping and breaking the tongue/groove

By all means try a Paslode 350, with a soft tip adapter and on the low penetration setting. But these are really for first fix, and the nail heads will either go in at varying depths, or not enough- and you will have to hand nail each one.

Also, you really want stainless nails for cedar, and I don't think they are available for the Paslode. Galvanized nails will not last, and the coating can chip off when they are hit leading to staining of the cedar
Thanks Woody and Thermo
So Woody - would you recommend a coil nailer like Thermo? If so, I think I will see what hire stuff there is and advise my husband to try it out. I have passed on your advice re: secret nailing - he is amazed at my sudden interest and knowledge!
Thanks everyone
Having read you similar post on Screwfix I realise you are not using shingles so you will need a nailer with a smaller head and not the ones that go in a coil nailer.

The paslode finish nailers or maybe even one of the electric nailers should do but you may have a job getting the tip into the base of the tongue if you intend to secret nail. Any chance of posting a pic or link to see what the profile of the cladding is. I use a Maestri pinner for T&G cladding internally as it fits right into the base of the tongue but that would not hold externail boarding.

Any second fix nailer will not be good enough as the brads are too thin for external cladding.

I would just use a hammer and some stainless steel 2.5/3mm round head nails
Hi Woody,
Well I burst out laughing when I read this. I'm afraid that is the conclusion I was coming to. Talk about going round and round in circles and ending up where you started. Oh well - I guess he won't miss the nailer coz he never knew he was getting one and I seem to be better off and I've learned loads.

So thanks everybody out there - for all your help and comments.
Hi Jewel,

As far as Pneumatics and shingle are concernd, you will want to use STAPLES, which are less invasive than nails In North America all the pneumatics guys offer guns; HITACHI N5008AC a "medium crown stapler" use 16 guage-7/16" crown staples. If using 40cm shingles and 125mm exposure you need 1-1/4" (~31mm) staples. Galv is a must, if your shingles are treated, you need stainless staples, otherwise is expect Rust FAST.

BJ - Montreal Canada

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