Nail guns … Showing my age?

I was reading a forum discussion earlier this week regarding nail guns. The original question was asking which framing nailer was “the best,” but the scope of the discussion soon broadened to include nail guns and staplers in general.

Needless to say, my contribution dated me somewhat but I could not help thinking about how it seems like such a short time ago that we had no nail guns. Nails were driven with a hammer. I personally resisted the incorporation of air-powered fastener guns for many years, believing that the small gains in productivity would not offset the reduced quality using a gun would invariably introduce into my work. Of course, I don’t do that much nailing in my particular line of work, but the resistance to new technologies represented by my reluctance to embrace pneumatic nailers had been fairly consistent.

I was equally reluctant to embrace cordless electric screw guns and their counterpart, the hardened-steel cabinet “streaker.” And I have resisted CNC and CAD to this day, even though I spend far more hours than I should sitting in front of my computer. And I love my big flat screen TV, iPod and the creators of digital photography, the adoption of which made it possible for me to never again enter a darkroom. So it’s not like I have a problem with technology. I guess I just have a tendency to resist technology that takes me more and more away from the hands on aspect of my work.

I have adopted many of these new technologies. Random orbit sanders, for example. The previously mentioned nailers and cordless electric tools. My shop is equipped with a state of the art automated dust collection system. And I have an absolute love affair with my power waterstone grinder. But I still finish sharpening my edge tools, by hand, on bench stones.



  • John Eugster says:

    I too resist the technology and even though I recently retired from 31 years of teaching shop and construction, I didn’t incorporate it much at the basic level that I taught. When I left high school in 1968 it was frustrating to try to do wood work because I didn’t have the equipment the school shop had. That’s why I always taught a lot of basic hand tool work so that the students could possibly work without having to spend lots of money. In my furniture work I still use a Vemco drafting arm because as I draw on paper I’m able to build in my head, just can’t seem to think like a computer does. Truthfully, I kind of enjoy being a “dinosaur”.

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