Why wont my nails go in???

Little Conestoga

Sep 15, 2002
I have a VM-J pinner, the table top hand pinner. I havent had much problems until lately....when seating the nails, it is as if the vise releases a bit and then the nails only go in about half way. Frustrating. I have enough pressure on the vise, major lock down, and match it with pressure from the toop holder, but it seems to be so difficult anymore.
Do hardwood nails really make a difference with the stronger woods?
I do let the frame sit in the vise for a while to set up the glue. Maybe I need to start lifting weights and get arms like Popeye!!!
You did not specifically state that the problem was with hard wood (maple, oak, cherry etc). Your question about hardwood v-nails however, suggests that.

Even with a pneumatic v-nailer there is a different (higher) pressure setting required for hardwood. You can actually hear a difference in the strain in inserting the nails.

If memory is working this morning, the difference in hard and soft v-nails is that the hard nails are straight while the softnails are cupped to pull toward the joint seam. We use only the hard nails to keep things simple.

[ 01-10-2004, 08:41 AM: Message edited by: JFeig ]
Jeromes advise is weel founded ,either with a Air operated or hand operated underpinner you may have reached the limits of what YOU or the air pressure is capable of .And as such you can use all the help you can get (Hard wood pins) I use them almost exclusively since the bother of changeing back anfd forth isn't worth the little extra pull the "Cupped' shape soft wood pins give.
Some Hard woods can be VERY dense and as such make a big differance. hey can even dull a good saw blade quicker just ask David N Waldmann
Vice President,Vermont Hardwoods. I am sure he can clue you in on how much differance HARD WOODS can make.
Do you mean Pistorius VN-J? I had one of those, but have never heard of ther VM-J.

The VN-J was a great little machine, with a hand-pulled lever to insert v-nails one at a time. Painfully slow, but I never had trouble driving v-nails into even the hardest woods.

You mentioned that the vice is slipping. That indicates the top hold-down is slipping, too. Make sure it's tightly fitted and clamped securely.

If it requires a lot of pulling strength, check to make sure all the moving parts are well lubricated. If wear has made the moving parts fit so loosely that they bind, you could have a problem not worth fixing.

If you build more than 4-5 frames a day, consider a pneumatic v-nailer. The time savings would probably pay for a good used (or even new) one in just a few months.
When we used such a beast, the v-nails were individually put on a post that was magnetic. Assuming yours is the same, one trick that we used effectively was to tap the sharp end of the v-nail into a bar of soap before sticking it to the post. That little extra lubrication really helped. Don't bother to tell me if that was evil. We don't have it anymore.
Thank you Jim, it has been considered, but scarey for me!!! ($$) I will start to shop. Any suggestions?

Ellen....great tip!!! These nails co not seem to be curved, they just have a bevel on the inside for the top. I will try hardwood nails.

As far as the efficiency of the machine, I would purchase one again if I was in the beginning stages of starting a shop. I started my studio from total nothing, zero, scratch, and each year tried to buy a new thing and build up. I guess I should be proud I may have outgrown this lil guy.