Freeman 18-Gauge 4-in-1 Mini Flooring Nailer

Solid reviews (4.0 out of 5.0) over at amazon

Pretty good reviews (4.3 out of 5.0) over at homedepot.com

I bought a new flooring nailer about 3 or 4 years ago and paid about $240 at that time. It’s much larger and far more cumbersome/heavier than this one (not to mention it’s a heck of a lot more expensive). The one I bought is the leader in the industry (name starts with letter “B”) and is far more difficult to use. It comes with a mallet to strike the nailer and activate the air energy. Besides, it’s a flooring nailer and a flooring nailer only, so you would still need to buy a smaller nailer or stapler to work under cabinets which can not be moved. Wish I had known about this tool when I bought my expensive and heavy nailer.

Okay, I’ve installed a few hardwood floors and this just looks like a piece of junk. The last thing you want in a flooring nailer is “lightweight”. you need one that is activated by a mallet otherwise your floor will be all gappy. The mallet blow helps pull the boards together. Trust me on this.

I wouldn’t use this to brad 3/4" oak, you’d spend half your time pulling bent nails or coming back later to surface nail the board after it popped loose.

Don’t feel bad; this unit says it is only designed for 1/2" and thinner boards (like laminate and such). For actual hardwood floors or 3/4" engineered, you absolutely need the big boy. This is nothing more than a brad nailer with an angle guide on the nose.

You don’t have to be coy. You can say Bosch. If you want to go way out on a limb, you could say Bostitch too.

Either way, this one won’t drive through solid 3/4" hardwood like yours will.

I use a lot of 3/4" hardwood in my woodworking projects, some of it is much harder and denser than oak. Moreover, I use smaller finish nailers which will accept up to 2" nails and NEVER have a problem penetrating hardwood as thick as 5/4" stock. On top of this, the flooring nailer does not need to penetrate 3/4" stock, even if you’re nailing 3/4" thick hardwood flooring. Keep in mind that the nail enters at the edge of the flooring material where it’s cut back, allowing the next strip of flooring to cover and hide the nail. So you can rest assured that this Freeman 18 gauge flooring nailer will have NO PROBLEM with the thickest flooring materials available.

You are correct when you say that the mallet strike helps pull the boards together. However, when you get close to the other side of the room, you don’t have the space to swing your mallet, so you’re stuck with using a conventional nailer in these areas. Finally, if you’re mallet strike is off dead center even a bit, you will end up stopping what you’re doing and spend some time pulling the nail out. Believe me, this has happened to me more than just a few times. So the size of the nailer and whether or not it requires a mallet is not too important a consideration in the job it will likely do.

Okay, it was a Bostitch.

Something to keep in from freemantools.com the Q/A section states it can not be used for Stranded Bamboo. Unfortunately that elimnates the flooring I hope to install over the long weekend.

http://www.freemantools.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=32&Itemid=618

This was the floor type I was hoping to install as well. I wonder what difference in the material would cause it to be incompatible?

I only have one room I want to do and have been weighing buying a big new one or renting for a few days (which is a substantial portion of the value of a new one and I’m on a hurry-up schedule to complete). This seemed like a viable alternative until I saw this.

So, what’s the difference between a flooring nailer and a regular nailer?

Sorry, but this looks like what was said earlier- a brad nailer with an angled nose on it. I’m not a professional, but I have laid a fair amount of flooring. Some was 3/8", some 3/4", all of it was hardwood. The mallet/pneumatic combo is the best way to go. As noted, it pulls the pieces of flooring tightly together in a way that this nailer won’t. If you can’t hit the nailer dead center, you probably should practice first or pay a professional. Flooring shouldn’t be put down with brads. Bostitch staplers (and the others), use very special nails that tend to not split the wood or loosen with time. Another poster was right that when you get close to the edge of a room you will need a face nailer, but you should try to get as absolutely close to the wall as possible before using one since the nail holes will show and they tend to not hold as well. Fortunately, you don’t tend to walk right beside the wall. Save yourself some grief and go with the right tool. This ain’t it. Unless this is your profession this is a case where renting a nice tool for a one-off job is far better than buying an inferior tool.

I’m not convinced of this. Also, when you nail at an angle, the nail has to travel a greater distance to get through the object, so it might actually be 3/4" (depends on angle).

I wish I can dissuade you and the other person who intends to use bamboo to consider another type of “wood.” Bamboo is not really a wood, it’s actually a grass, extremely soft and damages very easily. I put this down in my kitchen and wish I hadn’t. While it looks very pretty, IT WILL NOT HOLD UP!!

Here are a few differences…

A flooring nailer is set at an angle so that the nail enters at an angle making the nail more difficult to work its way out during normal use.

A flooring nailer (some of them) use different nails than the ones commonly used for other work. They seem to look a little more like a spike.

Some flooring nailers are designed to be used with a mallet. The mallet strikes the nailer at the air valve and activates the air energy at the exact moment that the mallet has pushed the floor board forward to mate with the floor board already down. The mallet can be eliminated (as has been done with the Freeman mini flooring nailer) without much harmful effects. All you need do is take your time and pull the trigger when you have properly positioned the floor board.

Finally, the conventional flooring nailer is heavier, more bulky and much more expensive.

What is the “4-in-1” about? Does this mean it takes 4 different styles of nails? What sizes & styles?

I hate it when the title says something like this and there is nothing in the specs to provide more detail. Purchasing online should not be a guessing game.

And even if I don’t plan on doing any flooring soon – is there any reason this gun can’t be used as a generic brad nailer or stapler?

I think you bought the right tool, Im skeptical this tool has the same functionality of fitting floor boards together tight.