FinishPro 21LXP Specs
When we started using 23-gauge pinners about 15 years ago, they replaced our 18-gauge brad nailers for many delicate wood-to-wood applications, such as attaching trim inside face frames, installing base shoe, and tacking small, freshly glued miters. The headless pins almost never split even the smallest pieces, and my painters love them because the tiny entry holes are easy to fill. We still use brad nailers and 15-gauge finish nailers, however, for securing baseboard, crown, and casings because the fasteners have significantly more holding power.
JLC asked if I’d like to try the new Senco FinishPro 21LXP 21-gauge pinner. It fires slight-head pins from 5/8 inch to 2 inches long and has several deluxe features, including a lock-out mechanism to prevent dry-firing and a reversible belt hook. I had never used a 21-gauge pinner, and wanted to see if it would be a step up from our other pinners and nailers for some applications.
I first used the tool on a trim job for fastening small returns, pinning outside corners, and shooting through splices. After that, I used it to fasten moldings to the frames and panels of a mantel. The pinner worked great for these jobs, but didn’t offer any advantages over my 23-gauge pinners, and it left slightly larger holes to deal with.
Next, I used the tool to case some doors with finger-jointed pine trim and an arched jamb with MDF trim. Normally I would use 18-gauge brads to fasten these casings to the jambs. The pins worked fine and left smaller holes to fill, but I had to use more fasteners to pull the casings tight against the jambs.
Pushing the tool to the limit, I drove 2-inch-long pins with it to assemble a built-up pine door casing. About 25% of the pins curled out of the wood. Curious, I used my 23-gauge pinner to shoot a bunch of 2-inch pins as close as possible to the 21-gauge Senco pins to see if they did the same thing. Surprisingly, none of the 23-gauge pins curled out. When I used the long 21-gauge pins to fasten thick casings to a door jamb, though, they worked perfectly.
A lot of our jobs have an exceptionally high level of finish, and filling the fastener holes is a critical step. To see if the slightly larger entry holes left by the 21-gauge pins would be harder to fill than 23-gauge holes, I shot several 21- and 23-gauge pins into a piece of trim and had our painter fill the holes and paint the trim. When he was done, I had to look really hard to spot any of the pin holes of either size. On stain-grade work, though, I would probably see the difference. Sometimes we don’t fill 23-gauge holes in stained base shoe, but I couldn’t do that with the slight-head 21-gauge pins. Some contractors never fill 23-gauge holes. I’m guessing that you couldn’t get away with that when using these 21-gauge pins.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, I think the Senco FinishPro 21LXP is a high-quality tool. I didn’t have a single jam during my field tests, and the two-trigger safety worked flawlessly. I do wonder why Senco’s 2-inch-long pins curled out of the woodwork during one field test while my smaller-diameter 2-inch, 23-gauge pins didn’t, but that was the only time I encountered that problem. This tool is a useful addition to the ones we already use, but will not become my number-one option.