Finishing nailer reviewed

Finishing nailer leaves tiny holes

By Steve Maxwell


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I like most things about power finishing nailers, except the holes they leave behind. And the ragged, rectangular marks created by typical finishing nailers always look second-rate, even when filled. That’s why I took notice when I heard about the Bostitch 23-Gauge Headless Pin Nailer.

The Bostitch pin nailer shoots very thin, headless metal fasteners that range from 1/2″ to 1 3/16″ long. The name “pin” is well chosen because that’s what the fasteners look like. Think of a headless, point-free sewing pin and you’ll get the idea.

When you shoot one of these fasteners flush to any wood surface, all you see is the tiniest circle of metal. Dial up the air pressure on the gun to set the pin below the surface and the hole fills in nicely, almost disappearing after some sanding. The gun’s metal tip is designed to leave no marks on your wood. It’s different than most nailers in that the nose-piece doesn’t need to be pressed against a surface for the gun to fire. Just hold down the safety lever on the handle using the palm of your hand, then pull the trigger and the nail fires.

Naturally, with a headless fastener that’s as thin as a pin, you don’t get the same holding power as a regular finishing nail. But for applications in which finesse and appearance really matter, strength is usually a non-issue. Use the pin nailer along with glue to secure trim, small parts and moulding. You get secure construction, plus first-class good looks unmarred by typical finishing nailer footprints.

At 2 1/4 lbs., this is the smallest and lightest air nailer I’ve seen, and it’s very quiet when firing. The handle-mounted nail-depth adjustment control is well placed for easy access, although it’s a little stiff to operate. Other than this minor flaw, the tool is worth a close look if you’re the kind of woodworker who wants your power-driven nailing habit to remain a secret.

The nailer costs about $230. For more information, call 800-567-7705 or visit

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