Avoid the Blowout Curse
A brad that unexpectedly shoots out the side of your project is guaranteed to make you curse, especially if your finger happens to be in the way. Blowout is instantaneous and dangerous.
18-gauge brads are so darn thin, they have a tendency to deflect whenever they encounter something hard, like a knot. In most cases, blowout is caused by the wood’s uneven cellular structure, so you can take steps to limit its occurrence.
• Orient the brad correctly. If you’re attaching a face frame, hold your nailer so its handle is perpendicular to the outside edge (not parallel, as shown in the photo). This positions the brad’s wedge-shaped tip so any side-to-side deflection will be contained in the wood.
• Fire into the face frame’s growth rings. Check the end grain.
If your firing angle parallels the growth rings, the brad will simply deflect off the hard latewood.
• Increase the air pressure when you nail into hard wood. Just like a putt that falls off line when it loses speed, a brad driven softly is more likely to deflect.
• Protect yourself. Even when you take preventative safety precautions, blowout can still occur. Always wear eye protection and keep your fingers well away from the brad’s path.