looking for new underpinner. Any suggestions?

Chuck T

True Grumbler
Aug 15, 2003
Jackson, Michigan
I have a manual Pistorius VN-J underpinner for the past 5 years. It has been sufficient until now. Business is booming and I can't keep up with demand! I would like to invest in a pneumatic model, one that will pay for itself in time savings. I was thinking about purchasing a cassese but which model, who knows
. I have not been able to attend the trade shows to see a demo of the new machines available now. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Chuck T.
I've never understood why people think that just because a underpinner is air driven, it's faster.

You have to do the same set-up, and just as may nails, what part is faster?

I DO KNOW that the pnumatic is a heck of a lot more expensive. And then there is the compressor, piping, dryer, moisture trap, maintainence, draining the tank . . . . faster?

Chuck, think of it this way. An airplane is faster then a car, and that's a given. So with your pnumatic thinking: it's faster to fly from Jackson to Transylvania, MI. If you are in a moving plane flying over the car in Jackson and you are both headed to Trans, then yes. But if you start at your shop (BTW congrats that you have that much work) and you drive to Trans, or you drive to the airport, check out your Cessna 210 Turbo Centurian which can go 210MPH, run it up, get groud clearance to taxi and while taxiing get clearance for a short field TO and go like a scalded kitty . . . the VW is just pulling into Maybells Coffee and Pie on 2nd St and as you do a fly over and figure out that you have to land in a field because you ran out of gas . . . the VW person is finishing that GREAT pecan pie.

If you're working 12/6, it's time for a pt employee. Keep kicking the v-nails. It'll save you money.

Nothing wrong with pneumatic either, except I would think long and hard about Cassise. If it's an old 810 in good shape, great. The newer 299 was a huge disappointment for us. Got rid of it, back to using the 810.

So Baer, are you a pilot as well?

Flew in the 70s & early 80s John. They jerked my ticket when I had my second Infarction. Something about having heartattacks in midair gets the FAA a little queezy. Last small plane ride ended with a 14 mile walk. It was a Maul with 178 hours on the Hobbs.
Somewhere around here, in one of the boxes, is my flight log. I saw it about three years ago. I'm doing better in that respect then some jet-jockey from TX. Now I just fly sails.

BTW John, how did you like your new hardwoods?
We like them and they have been selling. It's a nice line, I'm at home now but I think it was from Garret moulding. For those of you who may be interested, it's a line of solid cherry, maple, etc. Well milled and finished.

I just started flying lessons a couple of weeks ago, it's one heck of a lot of fun. When, or if, I get my ticket, I'm going to purchase my own bird. I want to be able to fly up to Canada, see my sister, etc. The "if" part is I haven't had my FAA physical yet. I should pass with flying colors though, been doing judo for a while. in pretty good shape for an old guy. If that 62 year old can take a rocket to the edge of space, I should be able to take a Piper up a few thousand feet.

I can never get a commercial ticket with only one eye, but I can get my private ticket.

I am learning in a Piper Cherokee warrior. The Cessna was just to darn small for me.

Anyway, enough Frankenthreading.

From 1989 until two months ago, I used AMP/Putnam/Miter-Mite v-nailers. The first was a VN 2+1, and the second was a VN-42. Both were good machines.

Last year I saw the new Fletcher v-nailers at a trade show. I was so impressed, I got a 5700. It is very well made by Pilm, an Italian company, and has more standard features than any v-nailer I've seen.

It looks and works a lot like the VN-42 (also made in Italy), but has a lot more goodies. The feature I like most is the two vertical, pneumatic hold-downs, which automatically adjust to the profile of the moulding being joined. Both of them can be moved forward/backward, to adjust to the moulding's width, and one can be turned off if the moulding is narrow.

There's no need to change operating heads when v-nail size is changed. Instead, a spacer bar is conveniently changed along with the v-nails. And the v-nails are fed by pneumatic pressure, not a mechanical spring.

Other features I like:

There are two pressure controls; one for the front pressure, and one for the vertical hold-down pressure.

The vertical hold-down's speed is regulated by a knob on the front of the machine -- very handy. I haven't smashed a finger since I made it engage slower.

You can manually switch from semi-auto to fully
automatic operation.

The optional air filter/lubricator bolts to prepared holes on the back of the machine -- out of the way, yet easily accessible. (BTW, I recommend this option for any pneumatic machine. Clean air supply and precise lubrication are probably the most important factors in extending the life of all pneumatic cylinders.)

Baer, if you ever get accustomed to using a pneumatic v-nailer, you'll understand why it's so much faster than manual nailing. Set up is not the same.

I was leaning toward the new Fletcher, it does seem nice. While in Atlanta, a production-framing consultant steered me back to the VN-42. Said that it was the primary backup unit in lots of production facilities and that although it was missing a few features of the Fletcher, it would have less to go wrong or to be used wrong (by employees). Taking what he said with a grain of salt, and adding the fact that the Fletcher does not have history, and looking at cost, I went with the VN-42. I will be curious how you like the Fletcher over the long run in case I run into an issue with the VN-42. I am hoping my next one will be the VN4+MP but I need to get my volumes up a lot higher before I can justify a computerized nailer.