To keep housewrap and roofing underlayment from blowing off, we install them with cap staples. Even though we own pneumatic cap staplers, we often use manual models because they require less setup and there's no need to bring out a compressor and hose.
Stinger CH38A Specs
Weight, loaded (by JLC): 3.2 pounds
Tool length: 13 3/8 inches
Cap diameter: 1 inch
Staple length: 3/8 inch
Capacity: 168 caps and staples
Fastener cost: $32 per pack (2,016 caps and staples)
Our first manual cap stapler was the Stinger CH38, which was introduced in late 2007 (see Toolbox, 4/08). A second, more compact version of the tool became available a year later, and we've been using that model ever since. Like its predecessor, the Stinger CH38A takes 3/8-inch staples and 1-inch plastic caps that come 168 to a roll.
With the original Stinger — which is still sold — you have to squeeze a trigger after every blow to manually advance the caps. But the caps in the new model feed automatically, making it a lot easier to use. You can hammer away with the CH38A just as you would with a hammer tacker — though not quite as fast. It's not as fast as a pneumatic cap stapler, either — but I consider that a fair trade-off for not having to handle a hose.
My only complaint about the CH38A is that it's not as well-balanced as the original, probably because the magazine is placed off to the side.
Scott Dornbusch is a remodeler in North Branch, Minn.