23 gauge pin nails

My father-in-law gave me a brad nailer for my compressor. The brad nails are 18 gauge, and the nails he gave me are steel. I ran into one of the nails when carving (I decided to add an extra pocket and forgot about the brad nail placement). I didn’t do any real harm, but it didn’t sound good when my 1/4" end mill ran into it. Also, when pulling brad nails out of the waste board, I end up having to sand down the little bump left.

He has since given me a 23 gauge “pin nailer” (I guess brad nails are standard 18 gauge). I was surprised to see on Amazon that they sell 23 gauge copper pins. That sounds ideal. Now if I run into the pin, it won’t be much of a problem. And it should leave less of a bump in the waste board.

I usually used compression or down cut bits for my profile cuts. So I don’t have to worry as much about the work piece lifting. I haven’t tried it yet. I am just wondering why I don’t see more people using this as a work piece holding method.

More common is plastic brads. “Omer” is a well known maker of the guns specifically meant for plastic brads. YMMV on using other makes of nailer.

Your idea is not a bad one and it is likely to work fine.

Not sure either. I’ve been using pin nails for years. A carbide end mill will chew right through one if it hits one.

I use end nipper pliers to remove any pins that remain in the spoil board after I pop the carve off the table. The end nipper let’s me grab the pin without cutting it and pull it out using a rocking action.

I’ve considered the plastic brad nails before but the price of the nailer and the consumables is 5-10x a pin nailer & pins. I also use the pins for holding glue ups together while the glue dries when doing traditional woodworking.

Same here, pin nails for 3/4” or less and I just strategically screw down anything bigger. Also bought a cheap surfacing but that I run after the carve at 0 and it clips all the heads off if there are a lot. One of the few ways that checks all the boxes (good fast cheap)!

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Hey all,

Onefinity says in this video that unlike screws, which they recommend to countersink at least half the depth of the wasteboard, the 18 gauge brad nails are so thin that they won’t damage the bit if you hit them.

I always thought the 18ga steel ones would be too hard on bits. I did try 23 gauge but found they broke off when removing the piece and you’d get not just a bump but a sharp bit of metal left in the spoil board to scratch the next work piece or your hand. I never knew that copper pins existed. That’s got my interest.

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I can only find copper plated ones on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Can you share a link or product name for full copper ones? Copper plated would still be steel inside. Thanks.



This is what I bought.

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Thanks. Have you tried them yet? How well do they work?

It states they are copper plated in the images in the description

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Hey all, here’s the basics with the pin nailers (23g) copper plated, galvanized, whatever doesn’t matter as they are so small they won’t mess with the bit. They work great for softer woods between 1/4” and 3/4”. I like to use 1 1/2” pins so they stay in the spoil board after pulling the piece. If you are using to eliminate tabs on small parts I like 3-4 pins per piece. When doing your last pass keep it to .1” or so. More than that can cause too much pressure and shift the piece. (Not all the time but it’ll happen to ya eventually). Do not trust them 100% on carves! Screw down your over size piece and once the carve is done, strategically shoot a couple in some indescrete contours and then profile it out or tab it. The back and forth cutting for hours will loosen up the piece and piss you off if pins are the only source of hold down, not to mention while 95% of bits are unaffected by the pin nails, fine carving and pointed bits are better off not hitting anything but wood. Hope this helps!!


You’re right. I read the whole description, and nowhere does it say copper plated. But down below in the image, is DOES say copper plated.

Well, I’ve already purchased. And I have run into an 18ga brad nail. It didn’t sound good, but the endmill survived. My guess is 23ga will shear off - even if it’s steel. But I haven’t actually tried yet.

FYI, I have been using these for a while. They work quite well. I can only use them with material 1/2" or less. I haven’t tried with 5/8" yet. The nailer drives the pin easily enough. Also, I rely on them to stabilize against lateral movement. I wouldn’t rely on them as the only clamping when using an up cut bit. It would just lift the work piece. These pins pull out of my waste board without creating a raised bump.

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