Can I safely use a Bostich 16 gauge nail gun to toenail stud grade 2x4s? The nail head is stationary at 90 degrees.

The project: bay window seating. Issue: front rail & plate supported by doubled 2x4s every 16” to 18” - 45* nailing with a 90* nailer head?? Thanks all!

  • Phi1618 is spot on, but what's covering the framing? If you're building over it with finish plywood or something, your nailer plus construction adhesive would do the job nicely. – isherwood Jul 22 '19 at 20:43
  • Thanks all! I didn’t think the finishing nailer would work. It was wishful thinking! I have to pre-drill everything these days! I guess it’s time to break-out the keg toe nail jig! I still don’t understand how to safely toe nail with a stationary 90* head? Phil1618 the top is 3/4” maple ply. It will open for storage. If I knew how to attach pics, I could show you where the project stands. – Liloleladyfrompasadena Jul 23 '19 at 7:45
  • I'm not clear on what you're describing as a stationary 90* head. Also, please take the tour if you're not familiar with Stack Exchange site protocol. Use the button in the editor toolbar to attach images. – isherwood Jul 23 '19 at 12:56
  • My bostich finishing nailer has a stationary head/tip at 90 degrees....place flat/square/flush on wood at 90* & pull trigger to shoot nail. There’s no room for error but in tight spaces you don’t always have that perfect 90* shot. You have to angle the nail gun. How do you safely use the nail gun when you have to nail at an angle. The tip is no longer flush with the shot....there’s room for error. I don’t want to shoot myself or send a nail into orbit! Thanks, Sweetie! – Liloleladyfrompasadena Jul 24 '19 at 14:33
  • By "flush with" I'm guessing you mean "tight to". Yes, there may be a small gap. Unless the workpiece is very hard or the angle very great it'll still work find. The problem is sometimes that the drive pin doesn't set the nail deep enough, for soft wood it probably will. – isherwood Jul 24 '19 at 15:12

A 16ga nailer is considered a finish nailer, and really isn't meant for joining 2x4s. They are primarily used to attach 3/4" boards in the form of trim to studs or other materials. The small diameter nail just doesn't have the holding strength to make framing for a bench or anything else like that.

You would need a framing nailer for that job, but they are big, loud, and not unlike firing a gun into the boards. They are heavy and have a lot of kick.

What I would suggest is an impact driver and 2 1/2" or 3" decking screws. A normal drill needs a lot of force from the user to drive a long screw, but impact drivers make the job easier. If it still takes more force than you can apply, you can pre-drill the holes before screwing. For screwing at an angle (like toe nailing), pre-drilling makes it much easier. In fact, if you're ok with pre-drilling every hole, a standard drill might not be too hard for you to use.

Impact Driver

Impact Driver Example

There are many brands, and I chose the above at random. You can pay more or less so shop around. You don't need anything heavy duty.

  • This is the winner. The only thing I would add is to switch from power drill to a speed wrench with a bit holder, because that doesn't run out of batteries. Use the drill to pre-drill the holes for the deck screws, for easier installation and no splits. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 22 '19 at 20:16

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