Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ode to Harbor Freight Floor Nailer

This floor nailer has to be one of the best bargains from Harbor Freight. Just over a $100 after sale and coupon. Works great, and paid itself back after not renting a nailer for two days.

Tips for nailing the Lumber Liquidators Morning Star qing xiamen 5/8" x 3.75" strand bamboo floor:

  • 95 PSI
  • Let the hammer do the work- too little of a swing and it'll be an incomplete nail drive & bulge the wood surface, too much and the tongue will crack.
  • Make sure the guides on the bottom of the nailer are as precisely aligned with the tongue as possible.
The air compressor pressure regulator seems to sag- (porter cable pancake compressor from Home Depot 3 nailer package) I have to check the pressure every few hours to re-adjust. Even with these frequent checks, it seems like I am still getting too many small witness marks on the flooring surface. When the nail is driven in, if the pressure isn't enough enough the finish surface bulges upward very slightly, probably only a few thousands of an inch. But, it's enough to be able to see when you look at the floor from an angle with the lighting just right. Very annoying. 


  1. I bought the HF nailer last year for installing some 19/32" bamboo flooring, but I haven't gotten to use it yet. The nailer I bought comes with two different thickness base plates, one for 1/2" floorboards, and one for 25/32" floorboards. You mention your floorboards were 5/8". Did the nailer you bought come with different base plates than the one I have, or did you shim the base plate like I think I will have to do for my 19/32" boards. BTW, I immediately noticed your profile pic is from the Porcupine Rim Trail overlook. . . nice!

  2. Mine came with the same spacers that yours did. I believe I used the 1/2" spacer with my 5/8" flooring. I did some testing with various PSI settings using the nailer to attach scrap flooring pieces to 2x4s, and it seemed to work fine. Before I tested it out I thought I'd have to either shim, modify, or make a new spacer, but the stock 1/2" seemed to work fine.

    I'd really recommend playing with various pressures before you start in on your actual floor to make sure you are happy with the results. Even with a fair amount of effort put into picking a pressure setting, very small bumps are visible under certain lighting conditions above each nail. It's really subtle, and no one has noticed it except for me. You have to look at the floor from a very shallow angle to see them, and you can't really feel them with your hands so the bumps must be less than a few thousanths of an inch tall.

    I believe pros use nailers with a smaller diameter nail / cleat than what the HF nailer will take, which might eliminate the bumps.

  3. Thanks for noticing the porcupine rim photo! Someday I'd like to get back there and ride the "whole enchalada"...