So I'm attempting to do the "stick framing" method of building a non-bearing wall. I've got pnuematic nailer and I'm toe-nailing nails on each side. The problem is, because of the angle the nail doesn't get completely sunk into the wood. Is this a problem, or is it to be expected?

Is it ok that the stud developed hair line cracks from where the nails entered? This seems to happen every time. If I shake the stud it seems solid, but not sure if it's really a problem



  • Why are you not able to drive the nails completely? Almost any pneumatic framing nailer has a depth adjustment, and it's common that nails are driven 1/4" or more into the lumber in a flat situation. When toenailing, they can be driven flush.
    – isherwood
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:14
  • 6
    Off topic pedantry: "Stick framing" refers to wall construction using wood lumber in a studded configuration, as opposed to masonry, steel, pole buildings, etc. It isn't a description of the order in which the members are installed. Conventional on-the-deck wall framing is still "stick framing".
    – isherwood
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:17
  • I donno. I've messed with the settings dialing it up and down and I couldn't get it to go all the way in. I looked it up and it sounded like it wasn't uncommon for it to happen with toenailing (face/end nailing works fine). I saw some other suggestions and took off the rubber bumper which exposes the teeth of the "plunger". This definitely makes the nails drive down further, but it's closer to being one part of the nail touching than it is sunk Feb 10, 2016 at 15:54
  • 1
    Fair enough. bib's right--the nails don't need to be sunk completely. The work they do is lateral, not tensile. As long as you have good penetration into the plate, no worries.
    – isherwood
    Feb 10, 2016 at 16:00
  • I have wondered about the splitting issue myself.
    – Phil Esra
    Feb 17, 2016 at 14:45

3 Answers 3


So long as one side of the heads of the nails are touching the studs, there is no problem. These nails merely keep the stud from slipping to one side or the other, and nails angled in from each side will do the job with no difficulty, even thought he heads are not fully flush.

If, for some reason, you had to drive a nail into the narrow edge of the stud (generally not a great idea because of splitting potential), the slightly protruding head might dig into the finish material. Not a problem with drywall, but paneling or wainscotting could be a problem. You could countersink the nail with a hammer or punch, but better to avoid such positioning.


What angle are you holding the nailer at in relation to the wall?

I hold the nailer around 80 degrees to the wall and jam the spikes on the nose of the nailer right into the stud, dig 'em in! Then you can adjust the nail angle a little to about, 20-25 degrees or so from the studs face. Then the nails end up just touching the surface of the stud. Safer too, lessens the risk of the gun jumping or slipping on firing.

Don't forget to add 3 to 5 drops of air tool light oil (into the air inlet fitting before you connect up the hose).... I do this daily and it keeps our big DeWALTs firing sweetly.

  • 1
    Yah, originally I was trying to fire the gun with the rubber bumper on. I found some comments that said to take it off (which isn't documented anywhere in the manual) and it exposed the "teeth". It makes shooting the nails much easier and the results are much better. Feb 17, 2016 at 1:58

Regardless of how the nail is being driven or at what bangle the bottom of the nail head should, at a minimum, be in contact with the framing member. A slightly countersunk nail head will not stand a better chance of working its way loose due to wood movement.

When using an air-nailer attached to a compressor there should be a depth setting which allow the nail to be driven to a desired level. If the nail isn't being driven correctly check that the compressors is keeping the tank PSI to at least 90. Also verify the pump is producing enough air flow (CFM) required by the tool.

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