Brad Nailer Troubleshooting


Brad nailers are typically pneumatically driven by compressed air. A small piston actuated by a trigger switch sends the compressed air into a cylinder. The cylinder pushes a small rectangular piece of metal called a hammer. The hammer then drives the small wire brad into a piece of wood. The brads are connected and are loaded on to a small rail called the magazine. A spring pushes against the brads so it can be continually fed into the hammer chamber.

Air Pressure

  • Most brad nailers require between 80 PSI to 100 PSI of air pressure. The air must be kept free of moisture and preferably contains a small amount of oil lubricant. Typically an automatic oiler is installed in the compressed airline just after a water filter removal system. If the airline does not use an automatic oiler, a few drops of machine oil should be placed in the air coupler that is attached to the nailer. Failure to keep the mechanism internally oiled will cause the cylinder to lock up and stop operating.

    Air leaking from the nailer should be checked immediately. Remove all air pressure from the nailer prior to any servicing of the device. Check all bolts for tightness. Leaking air from around the trigger area can be fixed by replacing a set of o-rings. Pull the trigger from the nailer and slide out the metal plunger. There are two o-rings on the plunger that can be easily replaced. Another area that may leak air is at the nose of the nailer, or where the brads exit the gun. Under the metal plate is another small diameter o-ring. Remove this plate and install a new o-ring seal.

The Nailer Runs Slow

  • Check the air pressure to ensure the brad nailer is receiving the correct amount of pressure. If the brad nailer still pushes the brad very slowly or not at all, the main cylinder spring may be stuck or damaged. Add some extra oil into the air coupler and squeeze the trigger of the brad nailer. The oil may free up the cylinder. If the nailer still fails to operate, pull the spring from the device and inspect the condition. If the spring is broken, replace the spring. If the spring appears to be in good condition, the cylinder may still be dry of any lubricant. Wipe all surfaces with some machine oil. Reassemble the nailer and apply air pressure.

Brads Jamming

  • Brads jamming in the nailer can be caused by several things. The number one reason is a low quality brad. The wires that make up each individual brad, may have been bent during manufacture or shipping. Check the brads to ensure the wire brads are not bent and that they are the correct gauge size. Brads of the wrong gauge will not feed into the magazine properly. A weak magazine spring can be another cause for brads to jam in the mechanism. Spring pressure must be held on the brads as they advance into the hammer chamber. Weak pressure from the magazine can cause the brads to feed incorrectly. Check that all screws on the feed mechanism are tight as well as the magazine. Over time all metal parts will wear out. The brad nailer's magazine and the hammer chamber are no exception. Sometimes after heavy use, the metal parts just wear out and the unit must be replaced.

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