Pin Nailer Choices for Door Construction

Cabinetmakers discuss the good points of different pin nailers for building doors. September 16, 2013

(WOODWEB Member) :
I have been using a Senco micro pinner for pinning the joints on raised panel doors. The problem is, it doesn't sink the pin, and ends up getting sanded with the widebelt. Is there a pinner that sinks a headless pin low enough to avoid this problem? I heard about the Grex pinner - wondering if that would be a good choice.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
The Grex looks like a great gun, although a little pricier than most. I'm surprised your Senco has trouble sinking the nails. I had one a few years ago and it worked fine. I currently am using a Ridgid that sinks up to 1 3/16" pins with no problem and cost around $79, but Bostitch has a good one also.

From contributor B:
I have the Bostitch. Works well and is very reasonably priced, but I'm sure the Grex is the best. They have very nice tools. I just don't use mine enough to justify the extra cost.

From contributor W:
I have both the Senco and the Grex. The Senco wouldn't sink the pins when I first got it, so I ran the nose of the gun against a sander and it will now sink the pins. Since then the gun began to fire improperly unrelated to my modification. Senco used to make high quality nail guns. Apparently at some point along the way they decreased their quality, I assume to compete with the cheaper manufacturers. I then bought the Grex and I love it. It sinks the pins no problem and shoots longer pins than the Senco. That being said, I wouldn't use either prior to running the door through a widebelt. I think the Grex pin would also be exposed. We use a Senco brad nailer when assembling doors just like all the major cabinet door manufacturers do. Fill the holes and run them through the sander. Never had a complaint. We used to just leave them in clamps until dry which in my opinion is better but time consuming when you don't have a clamp carrier. We usually order our doors, but make them in house occasionally.

From contributor M:
I own a Grex pinner, and it does a very good job of sinking the pin into the wood. Especially if you take off the no-mar tip.

That said, I used to pin my doors, but now I just rotate my doors in and out of two sets of pipe clamps. Glue one, set it aside, glue the second in a second pair of pipe clamps, then un-clamp the first door and set it aside for at least an hour. I average about 10 minutes between doors which is long enough for the glue to set up in my experience.

From contributor J:
I have a Senco and Porter Cable. I much prefer the Senco. The Porter Cable makes a large noticeable hole.

From contributor S:
I build a lot of doors and use an 18 gauge with 1/2 brads. I found that it does better than the 23 gauge. We clamp our door in a JLT door clamp face down, nail the back, putty the holes, and then wide belt them. Also, the micro pins we used have heads on them; the hole is about the same size. I also have had three different pin guns - Grex, Senco and a Fastco. The Grex is the best gun we have. I would buy it again - well worth the extra.

From contributor I:
Another vote for Grex. I have had PC and Senco, and the Grex is superior.

From contributor H:
Grex. They offer two 23 ga I believe. One shoots a longer pin, but is substantially higher. I have both, but the longest pin I have is 1 3/16".

From contributor D:
File the head down really precisely. Or increase air pressure. Any gun can be made to set the pins deeper. I use an old Porter Cable pinner at my door station and I believe it is the one JLT sells with their clamps. I also have two Grex, but they are used in the trim department.

From contributor L:
Just grind 1/32" off the tip of the pinner. Then the hammer will stick out and sink the pin completely. I have the same gun, and had the same problem. Fixed it nicely.

From contributor K:
We did away with pin nailing our doors 8 years ago. We assemble with 3M PUR glue gun and a 5 station rotary clamp. Glue sets in 1-2 minutes and since going to this system, we have never had a glue joint failure or a joint come apart.

From contributor R:
We use the Raptor gun with 5/8 plastic nails.