Pinner Pins

IMG_5728Here in the 360 Woodworking shop, we’re big fans of “pinners.” You know, the 23-gauge pin fastening tools  used on many projects. (We highly recommend the Grex P635, and are impressed with many of the Grex tools.) The reason the 23-gauge stands out in a sea of brad and pin fasteners, is because it’s a headless pin that is barely visible when installed – under finish, it almost fully disappears.

As I worked on my miniature sugar chest and began to fasten the transition molding between the base and box, I needed to switch the pins loaded into our tool. It was then that I discovered a pin problem.

Manufacturers mark the pins with printed arrows that show you how they are to be installed into the tool. In fact, from end to end there are pairs of arrows to make it simple. Thank you for that. But if you’re an economical woodworker who keeps the smallest of grouped pins, you’re apt to find no arrows to guide you. What then?

IMG_5729I donned my glasses so I could actually see the pins, and got in close for a good look. Pins of the 23-gauge variety have a chiseled point. It’s that point that’s suppose to enter the board. (Not that the pins would not work if upside down, but if the manufacturers have invested to determine how best to use the pins, shouldn’t we at least try to use them correctly?)

The chiseled points, at least to my eye (I don’t have a magnifying glass or microscope in the shop), appear to be beveled to about half the pin’s thickness. According to the markings, when loaded into the fastener, the bevel should be up. Again, pins fasten if the bevel is down, but why not try to get it right.

If you find yourself using a small grouping of 23-gauge pins that do not have any arrows or markings, position them in the tool with the chisel point set to enter the board, and with the bevel up.

— Glen D. Huey

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3 thoughts on “Pinner Pins

  1. You wouldn’t believe how many of those small pin clips I have in my nailer box…lol
    I’ve used that Grex and it’s a very nice tool.
    When my Porter Cable bites the dust, that will be my next one.
    Thanks Glen.

  2. Glen, When installing a complete strip with the arrows showing, or before removing a short remaining strip; why not mark the remaining few with a magic marker to mark the un-beveled end in order to readily know which way to reinstall that remaining few when once again installed? The 18 gauge brads with a head, that I use, are so marked beside being able to feel the head. I’m also quite conservative. Thanks for the blog I learn something new every day.

    1. That’s a great way to get the pins in right when next you use them. I, however, seldom have a marker handy. I suppose that would be a good addition to our fastener drawer. Thanks for the idea.

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