Old dog, new tricks

It's (obviously) been ages since I've posted.  There are always many ideas that pop into my head, but our renovation on Worth Street has kept me overloaded for some time now.  I'm happy to report that the painters are about to unleash their magic, and then we can start to button up this project in short order.  And maybe, just maybe, the months ahead will reveal enough free time to share some ideas here.  The transformation has been truly remarkable.

Late last week I was trimming the walls in the children's playroom with salvaged beadboard wainscot.  I've worked with wainscot and power finish nailers before and have always simply filled the pockmarks left behind from the nails with wood putty.  After painting, there is little to no sign of the nails.  What I never appreciated was that the wainscot can be nailed in such a way that putty is never needed, and let's be honest, any opportunity to abandon a time-consuming step in the construction process is always welcome!

Now, those of you with experience in this area are probably thinking what I always knew...just hide the nail in the grooves.  Well, yes -- but that can still leave a sizable pockmark that looks best filled with putty or caulk prior to painting.  But who needs (or wants) that extra step?!

The key, I've discovered, is to hold your gun sideways, perpendicular to the vertical groove in the beadboard.  Hover the pinhole where nail exits the gun so that it is directly over the groove in the beadboard.  Meanwhile, position the pad/bumper on the nose of the gun directly over the raised panel on the beadboard.  The raised panel provides the resistance needed to release the safety and fire the nail, but the differential depth between the raised panel and the recessed groove reduces the pressure just enough to not leave a visible pockmark in softer woods.  Done correctly, there is literally nothing to fill.  Voila!

 The optimal way to position your nailer for perfectly driving nails into wainscot -- no putty required!

The optimal way to position your nailer for perfectly driving nails into wainscot -- no putty required!

Theoretically, you should be able to hold the gun vertically and accomplish the same results.  But, perhaps due to the slightly rectangular shape of the finish nails, I find inconsistent results when shooting vertically, as the nail does not slip into the groove as cleanly as when shot from the horizontal position. 

Now, maybe I missed this lesson in my youth, since I am a female of a certain age who attended middle school in the South and was expected to attend home economics rather than shop.  But my business partner, who has literally decades of experience on the construction side, was not aware of this little trick and shot finish nails just like I did previously.  I suspect it's a secret of the trade learned as an apprentice in fine carpentry, but it's one heck of a time saver, so I just thought I'd share.  Go forth and nail like a pro!