Don’t Lose a Finger, With Our Brad Nailer Safety Guide

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The brad nailer is the smaller cousin of the more heavy duty finish nailer. They fire 18 gauge brad nails rather than larger sized nails and are used for more delicate work such as furniture refurbishment and trimming attachment.

However, just because the nails are smaller you should not be lured into a false sense of security. The fact is, a wayward brad will do some painful damage if it inadvertently ends up in your leg or hand.

So, to make sure your extremities stay nice and intact while you work, we here at Sharpen-up have created this 5 step safety guide.

Ready ?

Let’s get to it…

Step 1: The Correct Mindset

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Whenever you plug in a power tool, your brain should consciously resort to a safety first mindset. This includes being aware of your surroundings. For this you should have a clutter free work area.

You should also make efforts to see that distractions such as the family dog or inquisitive young children cannot enter the room.

If you are using a compressed air powered brad nailer and will be wearing hearing protection you should consider the fact your hearing will be impaired. Make allowances for this by maintaining awareness of your work environment (and those within) as much as possible.

Step 2: Safety Equipment

Clearly, you should be wearing safety equipment when using a tool such as the brad nailer. We have already mentioned hearing protection, however safety goggles are also a must have item.

Hard wearing safety should are also a good idea. Not only will a pair of steel capped boots stop a brad from penetrating your feet, if work materials or the brad nailer itself topples to the ground, you will be protected.

Remember also to tuck your shirt safely inside your belt, and clip long hair onto the top of your head. Dangling necklaces and other jewellery should be removed or contained if possible.

Finally you should thoroughly check your nailer, brads and power source before you begin.

If there’s loose components or damaged cabling etc you should not proceed until after having the tool repaired.

Step 3: Knowing your tool

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Before using your brad nailer for the first time, try to have more than a cursory look at the operator manual. This also applies even if you are veteran user of such tools. Your new product may have some different features that you are not aware of, or need to be handled differently.

Make sure you understand the correct procedure for loading the brads.

Remember step 1 and the safety mindset. Don’t get cocky with your power tools.

A note on the sequential trigger

A brad nailer with a full sequential trigger is the safest option to go for. Contact triggers are faster in operation, however the quicker response time means you are more likely to fire off a brad in the wrong place.

Full sequential triggers mitigate accidental firing by only working when the gun’s controls are activated in a particular order.

This type of gun features a safety contact tip that has to be pushed against the work material before the trigger can be squeezed to release the nail.

This helps prevents the nail from firing when simply knocked or bumped.

Step 4: Basic Operation

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Before you fire off the first brad it is important to check the work material first. The wood may have nails or knots that can cause recoil if you inadvertently try to penetrate them.

Also, you don’t want to waste your time nailing wood that is already split or damaged.

Your hands are the most likely extremity to end up in the path of a brad. Reduce those chances by ensuring that your hands are at least 12 inches away from the tip of the nailing gun at all times.

If material needs to be fixed in place, look to use a clamp rather than your fingers.

Remember to always point the brad nailer away from yourself when firing.

Also, if you are forced to work in an awkward position, (under a table, reaching to the edge of a cabinet etc), try to move the material or yourself into a situation where things are made easier for you.

The more uncomfortable you are, the less control you will have over your tool. And that’s when accidents can occur.

Step 5: Don’t forget the air compressor

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If you are using an air powered brad nailer you must not over look the safety issues concerned with that.

You will have a connecting hose that you need to keep out of the way of your work materials. The air compressor itself should be placed on a sturdy surface (preferably the floor) where there will be no chance of it toppling over.

There are also important times when you should disconnect the compressor. Whenever you leave the gun unattended, passing the nail gun to another user, or removing jammed nails or conducting repair work, you should not be connected.

This simple precaution will illuminate any danger of the gun firing when it shouldn’t.

Bonus Tips: What NOT TO DO when using a brad nailer

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One of the best ways of staying safe when using a brad nailer is to remember the various things YOU SHOULD NOT DO when operating the tool.

  • Never walk around with your finger on the trigger (thinking you’re John Wayne)
  • Never use a nail gun with your non-dominant hand
  • Never pull the gun by the hose, or drag it towards you without having your hand safely on the handle of the tool.
  • Never disable safety features in an attempt to work faster. (Remember, if you are a working professional, OSHA requires that your tools be in a safe operational condition)
  • Never forget that safety comes first when using any kind of power tool It is easy to become complacent. Don’t let that happen to you.

And there you have it – our top 5 brad nailer safety dos and don’ts. You follow what you have read above and you should never come into trouble when using one of these handy tools.

Image Credits: Tool Box Buzz, Pixabay, Bostitch,,

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