Nailer Reviews, continued
Max SN890CH/34 Clipped-Head
This manufacturer's latest foray into the stick nailer
market shows that they are in for the long haul. We received a
prototype and put it to work immediately. It is an excellent,
well-made tool with several features worth getting excited
about. First, the side of the nose assembly has a trap door
that pivots out to help clear the nosepiece after a jam occurs.
Second, the depth-of-drive adjustment is an easily turned wheel
located on the right side of the nose assembly. It adjusts in
half-turn increments and requires no tools. The most
interesting feature is the way that the trigger operates. If
you depress the nosepiece and then pull the trigger, it works
like a single-shot tool and will not fire again until the
trigger is released. This prevents double-tap firing. If the
trigger is pulled first, then the tool may be placed against
the work and operated like any other contact-trip tool. The top
exhaust is rubber and can be rotated easily by hand. The
nosepiece has aggressive teeth and the gun toe-nails well. My
only complaint is that for a medium-sized gun it feels a little
Paslode Powermaster Plus F350s
The Paslode Powermaster Plus stands out in the crowd. With
its bright orange exhaust deflector cap and trigger, it's a
good-looking gun. It is one of the most compact of the nailers:
Nosepiece to top cap measures just 13 inches when depressed.
This means that it will almost fit into that 13-inch doubled
joist space. The exhaust deflector and drive-depth adjustment
require a hex key, but the engineers at Paslode thought enough
to provide storage for the wrench in the rear of the
When you pick up the gun, the handle and trigger place your
hand right next to the powerhead, which makes the gun feel very
light. The aggressive teeth on the nosepiece bit into framing
lumber well and allowed the gun to toe-nail easily. It fired
every nail that we fed it reliably. This was Scott Robinson's
favorite gun (when I rotated the gun to the other crews, he
complained the entire time it was gone).
Porter-Cable FR350 Round-Head & FC350 Clipped-Head
Porter-Cable's entry into pneumatic nailers was a big event
several years ago. From a top-notch power tool company a
top-notch tool was expected. All of the guys tested this tool,
but nobody was really excited about it. It feels large, and at
19 inches from the front to the rear of the magazine, it is.
The nosepiece is not as aggressive as those on other guns, so
it was not the easiest to toe-nail with. It has good power and
handled all of the nails with equal ease. Exhaust deflector and
drive-depth adjustment require the use of hex keys. (It would
be handy if they both used the same sized key.) The follower on
the FR350 has to be let down on the round-head nails or it
could crush the plastic collation and cause jams and misfires.
There is nothing fancy or outstanding about this gun. It is a
reliable performer and falls into the middle of the group.
Senco Frame Pro 600 & 650 Clipped-Head
When you unpack these nailers, you get the feeling that they
are quality tools. The difference between the Frame Pro 600 and
the 650 is in the powerhead. The 650 (14 inches) is one inch
taller than the 600 (13 inches). This translates into extra
power, which is necessary if you use manufactured lumber
frequently. There is a no-mar tip included with the guns, and
when you remove it you'll know immediately why these guns
received the nickname "Jaws." The five aggressive, well-placed
teeth on the nosepiece of this gun work great for
The gun feels heavy but handles comfortably and seems
compact, measuring just 15-1/8 inches from front to rear of the
magazine. Depth-of-drive adjustment requires a wrench and the
exhaust is adjustable using a hex key. One unique feature of
this gun is the ability to remove the magazine without tools.
By loosening a knob at the rear magazine support, you can pull
back on the magazine and disengage it from the nose assembly,
allowing you to clear a jam quickly.
Senco SN60 & SN65 Round-Head
These tools are also top quality. Although the comments
about the power difference between the 600 and 650 apply here
as well, these are different guns from the Frame Pro
clipped-head nailers. Besides the nails, the first difference
is the weight. The SN65 round-head weighs 8.1 pounds compared
to 8.4 pounds for the 650 clipped-head. Height is the same on
both guns, but the SN65 is much longer at 19 inches versus
15-1/8 inches on the 650. The nosepiece is not as aggressive as
the Frame Pro's, but still works well. The depth-of-drive
adjustment requires the use of a hex key and the exhaust uses a
hex key also. This was a well-liked, good-quality tool.
Too New To Review
Stanley-Bostitch introduced the N88WW Clipped-Head Stick
Framing Nailer at the International Builders' Show in Dallas on
January 14th. According to the manufacturer, at 7.8 pounds this
is the lightest framing nailer in the industry, and strong
enough for engineered lumber with 1,000 inch-pounds of driving
Features of this nailer include push-button depth control,
no-tools 360-degree adjustable exhaust, and a "dual-load
magazine" which can be loaded from the top or the end.
Suggested retail price is $379.