I'm using a framing nail gun to re-build some stairs. This is my first time using a nail gun so I'm inexperienced. There are some small pieces of wood that are used in a corner to support the last stairs that are nailed together. There are two vertical pieces (2 and a quarter inches tall) and a horizontal piece on top (about a foot long). The pieces are standard 2x4s. I have to rebuild this piece because the original got beat up and I'm reusing an old stud. My problem is that I use a nail gun, it destroys the wood (splitting).

The air pressure is around 100 psi.

Is there something I can do to help remedy this? Any tips are appreciated,

3 Answers 3


Predrill, and also probably use a hammer, not a nailgun, for this piece.


Nailguns are generally used on plywood by people who need to set thousands of nails. When you are doing a small project, a hammer is a better idea.

On good quality stairs, oak is used for the treads, one of the reasons being that it does not split readily. Also, good quality treads are tennoned into the risers, front and back, which binds them and prevents any chance of splitting.

My guess is you are using some kind of soft wood and are just hammering them flat onto the strings without setting them. In that case what you should do is clip the points off the nails with a wire cutter. This will cause the nail to punch through the wood, rather than divide it.

  • You look awfully familiar :). You wouldn't happen to be Tyler Durden from ZeroHedge.com, would you?
    – mj_
    Jun 7, 2015 at 17:30
  • @mj_ All my money is in gold. Jun 7, 2015 at 18:36

Yes...drill a pilot hole. Tiny drill bit.

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