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Tips on how to keep your gas nail gun firing

Nail guns – or nailers as they’re also known – are one of the handiest tools in the toolbox. Far from being a luxury, it’s an essential piece of kit for any keen DIYer or tradesperson involved in construction.

It can help you get the job done quickly, and improve accuracy, as the nails are driven in at high speed. It could also save the odd finger here and there too!

However, as a repair and maintenance centre, we handle a significant number of nail guns every week that have stopped working due to a lack of regular servicing and basic care.

Nail gun maintenance doesn’t need to be carried out in a professional workshop. There are things you can do at home to keep your nail gun performing at its best. Not only will it help you save money in the long run, it will also ensure your safety.

Here we’ve put together our top four maintenance tips:

1. Cool it down

If you’re maintaining your nail gun after use, make sure you turn it off and let it cool down. Remove any gas, batteries or nails before conducting checks. This equipment is highly dangerous if handled incorrectly.

2. Oil it every day

The moving parts of the nail gun need to be oiled every day and in between sessions during periods of heavy use. Different manufacturers will recommend different oil types dependent on the machine you have, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines for suggestions. Pay particular attention to the O-rings inside.

3. Keep it clean

Airborne dust and debris can build up in the system and interrupt the nail feed. Use a degreaser to wipe off built-up dirt. Again, check the guidelines for recommended cleaners that match your brand. Avoid using a cleaner that leaves a sticky chemical residue. You can also rub down your gun with a lint-free cloth that won’t shed fibres.

5. Give it a once-over every month

Nail guns are subjected to high levels of pressure and movement, which means screws can loosen and parts can break off. Check it over once every month to make sure nothing is loose or out of place. Tighten bolts where necessary. Replace worn-out parts such as O-rings, battery pads and filters with approved spares or take it to our service centre for more advice. Make sure you’re using the right fuel cells – check they’re in date too!

If your nail gun isn’t performing correctly, don’t spend hundreds on a replacement until you’ve popped into our Redhill workshop. It’s open Monday to Friday, 7am to 6pm, so there’s plenty of opportunity to come along and speak to our expert team.

 

Trade insight: safety gear essentials

Whether you’re a one-man-band working in the trade or the owner of a building company, taking a relaxed approach to safety isn’t an option in a modern working environment.

When working on site, checking that you or your team are dressed in all the right gear isn’t always the first thing that springs to mind. However, the facts around the building trade make for alarming reading: according to the Health and Safety Executive, construction is the most dangerous industry to work in, with more fatalities and injuries than any other.

The guidelines around Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work have changed over the years, with the onus now falling on employers to protect employees from risk of injury by providing the right clothing and equipment.

Consider the hazards in advance of a project, and mitigate the risks by selecting adequate protection that’s suitable for the job. PPE products should have a CE mark to indicate quality and compliance. The good news is the essentials aren’t expensive to buy.

Our pick of the top five PPE and workwear items for your kit:

1. Gloves

Look out for a robust pair, preferably with an insulated lining for cold temperature handling or outdoor winter wear. A long cuff will protect your wrists, and a latex coating will offer good grip which is ideal when handling goods. A quality glove will be abrasion and tear resistant. The Cut Resist Glove is made of Kevlar and glass fibre for the ultimate protection.

2. Safety glasses

This simple piece of equipment really is essential in most environments where material is being cut and particles are being dispersed into the air, whether at work or even strimming the garden at home.

Never use a power tool without investing in an appropriate pair of glasses.

Most safety shields fit over prescription glasses, however if working with tools that produce large amounts of dust full goggles are more suitable as they offer side protection and fit close to the face. We stock Economy Spectacles from just £2.80.

3. Kneepads

Often overlooked, kneepads definitely deserve a place on our list of top safety items. Everyone in the trade does a lot of kneeling down and over time this can obliterate your knees. Kneepads can be worn over the top or slipped into trousers. Ox Ripstop Trousers are available in two colours and various sizes, and include reinforced built-in kneepads for extra cushioning.

4. Ear protection

Do you work with power tools on a daily basis? Equipment such as woodcutting routers emit dangerously high levels of noise. According to the Center for Disease Control, every year around 22 million workers come in contact with noise loud enough to damage their hearing. Operating an electric drill for less than a minute without protection can cause permanent damage. Measures to protect against this are very simple and include using earplugs or ear muffs.

5. Steel toe cap boots

If you turn up to site without protective footwear you run the risk of getting asked to leave. Steel toe caps are a must-have for very obvious reasons. If you’re an apprentice it might be worth investing in your own pair so you can select the best fit. In store, prices range from £43.38, to £92.84 for the DeWalt Challenger 3 Safety Boot which features an antibacterial TPU sole resistant to 120-degrees Celsius, and a waterproof lining.

From first aid kits to high visibility vests, we’ve got everything you need to protect yourself or your staff here at Fixings & Powertool Center. If you’re unsure what to select we’re happy to offer expert advice to keep you safe.

Our guide to buying a reliable router

If you’re on the lookout for a full-sized woodcutting router, the sheer number of products on the market can make the choice confusing. Before you spend hours searching the internet for advice and recommendations, we’ve put together a guide on how to purchase a router that will last.

Whether you need a router for your trade or a DIY project, there are two names that stand out from the crowd. For reliability and power, we recommend DeWalt and Festool, two trusted manufacturers who have led the field in recent years.

A router is a heavy duty wood cutting device on a fixed or plunge base. In this instance, we’re examining products at the higher end of the market, specifically routers with a plunge base used by those in the trade. These models are able to perform a wider variety of cuts in comparison to fixed based ones.

Need to cut, trim, join, carve or hollow? A good router can make light work of almost any job. The versatility of this tool is also down to the number of accessories available, so look at what’s on offer to select the best all-rounder.

What to look out for:

  1. High power output – you need a tool with enough power to cut through the toughest wood
  2. Soft-start motor – to ensure a smooth start for greater precision
  3. Plunge action – look for a smooth plunging mechanism
  4. Variable speed – this is important for different materials and tasks
  5. Dust extraction – to avoid build-up and clogging

There are two size options available on most leading brands, a quarter inch or half inch collet (the sleeve that holds the bit). However if you’re looking for the ultimate machine it’s best to go for a half inch router as it can be adjusted down in size.

The benefits of a DeWalt router

Enjoying a long-established history in tool manufacturing, the DeWalt Products Company began life in 1924 and has grown to be one of the biggest names in the industry. In 1994, DeWalt bought out German power tool business ELU, a manufacturer with a reputation for forward-thinking technology. This has led to an impressive offering of powerful routers that are worth the investment.

We stock a range of plunge routers from DeWalt which offer no-load speeds of between 8000 and 2400 rpm. Other key features include: electronic speed control for consistency; soft start to eliminate misaligned movement from a rapid start; and a precision guide for cutting accuracy. DeWalt has a patent on its plunge arms, which are coated to make the action smoother no matter how dusty they get. Cheaper routers have plastic shields to prevent dust build-up but these aren’t as effective. Prices start from £234.35 for the DeWalt DW615 Plunge Router 110V and 230V.

The advantages of a Festool router

Festool’s routers are ergonomically designed for a smooth glide, and are available in the quarter and half inch collet sizes. Although in the higher price bracket, the three-year manufacturer’s warranty makes it a guaranteed investment.

Its distinctive one-handed design is innovative but means it’s important to try before you buy. Some of our customers love the shape while others prefer the traditional style. We’ve got a selection on display at our shop for you to handle. Our Festool routers start from £389.64 for the Festool OF 1010 EBQ-Plus Router 240V, which features electronic feedback control, a quick-acting brake and chip extractor.

We also stock a range of router accessories including jigs, cutters and guide rails for the perfect finish on all jobs. If you need advice or guidance, pop in store and speak to our expert team, and we’ll find the router that’s right for you.