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Handheld pneumatic v-nailer

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Bryden

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Hi folks.

Has anyone had experience with handheld pneumatic v-nailers? I've been wanting to get one for vnailing frames in band clamps. Also interested in a solution to nail from the front face for certain custom mouldings where it's easier than nailing the back face.

It seems like most traditional framers are using floor standing nailers. I had a chance to try one the other day and it seems really the way to go for pre-fabbed mouldings and fast mitre joining. However, as I make my own custom and sometimes less clean cut mouldings i often find myself inserting vnails while holding the glued up pieces in band clamps and then finishing the frame after glue up - a process I'm refining.

There's a few Chinese models online but I wonder at the build quality! Would love to hear if anyone has advice on this as its hard to track down.

Thanks!
Bryden
 

Paul Cascio

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The difficulty with a handheld v-nailer is that the money-side of the frame could take a beating, as the frame needs to be face down. If you can avoid damaging the face, it may work. Stationary v-nailers use a padded clamp and the frame is locked into position. The trauma is distributed across a larger area that includes the clamped top area and the supported underside. These machine merely push the nail into the frame. A handheld may fire it.
 
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alacrity8

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Do you mean something like this:
Amazon product
I remember posting about this item about a year ago.
I do not believe that anyone on here has any experience with one, though I may be wrong.

Many of us glue up our frames before adding v-nails.
I use a number of Stanley 400 vices to do so, while others use band clamps.
We then take them to our V-nailer to add nails.

Before V-nailers, and other underpinners such as the Hoffman, it was common practice to nail the corner from the side.
We will still do that on particularly tall frames where the underpin cannot reach the front without risk of ruining the frame.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by nailing the front face.
Any nails inserted into the front of the frame would be particularly visible.

On particularly flat frame stock, I have found that I can use a hammer to insert V-nails without any problem.

Brian
 

wpfay

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Never heard of them until Brian just posted, but like all tools, just make sure that the parts and service are supported and that the v-nails are not necessarily proprietary to the machine.

A consideration might be that when gluing, then v-nailing, the impact from the v-nail can break a glue joint.

The difficulty with a handheld v-nailer is that the money-side of the frame could take a beating, as the frame needs to be face down. If you can avoid damaging the face, it may work. Stationary v-nailers use a padded clamp and the frame is locked into position.
True, but the same technique is used with the Hoffmann dovetail system and doesn't seem to be an issue.
 

Larry Peterson

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Can't image using something like that. All the ways that something like that will mess up a join. No thanks.đź‘Ž

And how do you join a swan or rounded moulding?
 
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Bryden

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The difficulty with a handheld v-nailer is that the money-side of the frame could take a beating, as the frame needs to be face down. If you can avoid damaging the face, it may work. Stationary v-nailers use a padded clamp and the frame is locked into position. The trauma is distributed across a larger area that includes the clamped top area and the supported underside. These machine merely push the nail into the frame. A handheld may fire it.
Hi Paul et all.

You are right, there is trauma in using the handheld V-nailer. Having used it for numerous frames so far though, it hasn't resulted in any busted mitres - given that my output is so far only 5 years so time will tell.

I would argue that if the frame is clamped and laying on a flat surface, the trauma is at least distributed across all 3 or 4 members though focussed on the footprint of the handheld v nailer. With a pneumatic handheld v-nailer, I imagine this trauma is greatly reduced because of the inherent speed of the nail entering the mitre.

Let me clarify my query. With underpinners, I wonder how a glued and clamped up frame can be held in place, rotated to fix each mitre, and how the underpinner is kept clean from any glue spill out? Thus why I was looking into handheld v-nailers. It sounds like most would clamp their frame and then take it over to the underpinner. It might seem like a daft question, but how do you ensure the frame doesn't shift or wiggle out glue during this relocation to the underpinner? Or do you clamp it in situ at the underpinner, using some sort of support table or stools at the same height as the underpinner?

@Larry Peterson @Ylva I've had much success with band clamp/ handheld vnailing. As you both would know, the band clamp allows you to close it all mitres at the same time so there's little chance of things going out of alignment. As long as you are accurate with your nails the process is quite natural and can be streamlined - potentially even more if you have a pneumatic gun... I wonder?
 
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Bryden

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Do you mean something like this:
Amazon product
I remember posting about this item about a year ago.
I do not believe that anyone on here has any experience with one, though I may be wrong.

Many of us glue up our frames before adding v-nails.
I use a number of Stanley 400 vices to do so, while others use band clamps.
We then take them to our V-nailer to add nails.

Before V-nailers, and other underpinners such as the Hoffman, it was common practice to nail the corner from the side.
We will still do that on particularly tall frames where the underpin cannot reach the front without risk of ruining the frame.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by nailing the front face.
Any nails inserted into the front of the frame would be particularly visible.

On particularly flat frame stock, I have found that I can use a hammer to insert V-nails without any problem.

Brian
Yes exactly what i was looking at. It could be dodgy, but hard to say without seeing it irl.

For the front-faced V-nailing. This was for my own work. I had a series of unique states on board that I wanted to mount to a float mount frame - no glass. The front edge of the moulding was around 3mm thick and made from meranti so I needed to avoid damaging this delicate edge when vnailing. Thus I glued and assembled in a band clamp, lay it face up, and placed v nails into the rear section of the moulding from the front, where the print was to be fixed - thus hiding the vnails. From the back the frame is seamless and no nails are visible. From the front it is just work displayed and the shadow line around the float mount.
 

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Ylva

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I don't clamp, glue and then underpin.

I glue, then shoot the v-nails right in (I have a Cassese CS89)

I join two sides first (short-long, short-long) then let it set a little bit. The glue sets in a few minutes.
Then I join the two halves of the frame together.
I don't fit it right away, usually about 20-30 minutes later.

Never had a problem doing it like this.

I only use my vises when the moulding is harder to join, but it is rarely. Same method, glue, nail, let dry.
 

alacrity8

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If one is clamping and gluing, then V-Nailing, the glue has already set before V-Nailing occurs.

Most V-Nailers have two built in clamps. One holds down the frame, while the other keeps it from shifting in any other direction.
If V-Nailing without clamping first, glue is applied to the frame sticks, the frame sticks are aligned in the V-Nailer, the built in clamps are engaged, and the V-Nails are inserted into the back of the frame.
In my experience, glue can/will seep out into the V-Nailer. Cleanup of the V-Nailer will need to be done on at least a per day basis. I would remove and clean the Nail Head (the part that aligns the V-Nails) every night.

Most V-Nailers are set up for the back of the face of the frame to be up, but there are some that are set up to have the back of the V-nailer face up. I assume this would be similar to how the Hand Held V-Nailer would be used.
 
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Bryden

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How
I don't clamp, glue and then underpin.

I glue, then shoot the v-nails right in (I have a Cassese CS89)

I join two sides first (short-long, short-long) then let it set a little bit. The glue sets in a few minutes.
Then I join the two halves of the frame together.
I don't fit it right away, usually about 20-30 minutes later.

Never had a problem doing it like this.

I only use my vises when the moulding is harder to join, but it is rarely. Same method, glue, nail, let dry.
How do you get the pieces all flat and aligned, so there's no gaps in the mitres?
 

Bryden

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If one is clamping and gluing, then V-Nailing, the glue has already set before V-Nailing occurs.

Most V-Nailers have two built in clamps. One holds down the frame, while the other keeps it from shifting in any other direction.
If V-Nailing without clamping first, glue is applied to the frame sticks, the frame sticks are aligned in the V-Nailer, the built in clamps are engaged, and the V-Nails are inserted into the back of the frame.
In my experience, glue can/will seep out into the V-Nailer. Cleanup of the V-Nailer will need to be done on at least a per day basis. I would remove and clean the Nail Head (the part that aligns the V-Nails) every night.

Most V-Nailers are set up for the back of the face of the frame to be up, but there are some that are set up to have the back of the V-nailer face up. I assume this would be similar to how the Hand Held V-Nailer would be used.
The clamp up takes about 30 seconds. Then the v nails go in, before the glue has time to set.

Yes I'm curious as to how the handheld vnailers would be used, if at all.
 

Jim Miller

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In my shop, we have always used pneumatic underpinners. However, I once had to assemble a wooden frame on-site, because it was too big to fit through the shop's doors. So, I bought a Frameco Benchmaster. You still have to provide full support under the moulding, but the tool's driving force is imposed by a manual lever, which is easily controlled. This method is slow and a bit cumbersome, but it works every time.
Here's a short demonstration video...
 

Bryden

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Thanks for the link. I've seen a few videos like this. Actually I have a frame master driver that I use all the time, without the press unit. It is my sole v-nailing tool. Recently I was shown in person an underpinner when I picked up the second hand 3100. Very solid, and a hassle-free motion to it. My only conern, which was why I posted to this group, was going from having my 4 frame pieces flat on a table where they can be assembled to perfection, checking and closing up all mitres perfectly before starting on the nailing. In theory, and this might not be popular opinion on this group, if one starts assembling the mitres individually, or like you say in sets of two, when it comes to the final mitre there is a greater chance that it will no close up as snugly as the other ones, being that it has already had glue and nails, and if it were assembled even slightly off angle it will show up. Especially if the frame is larger and the moulding is small - a smaller surface area to line up and keep flat on each plane. Has anyone had any issues with this, or am I pissing in the wind? i.e. The table being flat at least keeps things flat on that plane.. can one acheive this flattnesss on an underpinner?

Thanks for the replies everyone! I'm getting a great sense of the traditional / current techniques of v-nailing!

This youtube video is the only one I could find and the quality is horrible, but maybe it shows you a little bit how a standing underpinner functions.

 
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Ylva

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The only time when miters are off, is when they are not cut precisely.
Sometimes when a moulding is slightly warped, I have a less than perfect 4th corner, but not by much.

My Cassesse is set into the corner of my table, and is completely flush with my work table. So there are no issues at all.
 
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