Read these 8 Fastening Tools Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Tool tips and hundreds of other topics.
Some staple guns aren't designed for materials harder than fiberboard. If you are doing upholstery work with "furniture grade" woods, you'll need a staple gun designed to punch through. Fortunately, there are powered staple guns made especially for furniture work, such as the Maestri C7 Electric. This tool is billed as being good for both wood and vinyl like the type used for restaurant booths and college dorm furniture. Some electric staplers are recommended for "light" furniture woods and carpet laying, but if you are using the gun mainly for upholstery, get the unit that can penetrate hard woods -- better to have too much power than not enough.
There are three basic kinds of staple gun to choose from: muscle-powered, compressed-air, and electric-powered. The electric models come in both corded and cordless versions, depending on how mobile you need to be with your stapling, the cordless option is a good bet. Do you need to staple upholstery? Boards or panels may require quarter-inch staples, but if you have thicker stapling jobs, consider a heavy-duty three-in-one stapler. These models can handle a variety of fastening needs including brads, staples, and pin nails. Let the nature of your stapling work determine what kinds of staple gun to purchase. You can always add smaller or larger staple guns for special needs later on.
Soldering irons and soldering guns are not interchangeable. These are two very different types of tools, mainly based on heat output and its control. A soldering gun has no real heat control other than pressing and releasing the button that engages the heating element. It's easy to forget and damage a delicate piece of work in the beginning stages of your soldering experience.
A soldering iron can be purchased with no heat control, all the way up to thermostatic control for those who want to vary the heat of the soldering tip depending on the needs of the job. Soldering irons come in a variety of wattages. Some recommend low wattage (between 15 and 30 watts) for small jobs such as circuit boards, and larger wattage (40 or more) for big jobs like soldering audio connections. Don't bother trying to use a soldering tool for a truly large project such as plumbing work, where a blow torch is definitely the right tool for the job.
Soldering safety guidelines always point out the hazards of flesh burns from molten solder and hot soldering gun tips. While this is an important safety aspect, ventilation and an awareness of the toxic nature of some solder compounds is just as crucial. Lead-based solder material is still sold on today's market. It is toxic all by itself, and the smoke and fumes from soldering are also harmful. You should be just as mindful of the lead from solder material as you would be in paint or any other compound. For best results, do not work unless you are in a well-ventilated area or are wearing a NIOSH-approved respirator. Use gloves when handling solder material where possible, and always wash your hands after soldering. Some soldering enthusiasts argue that lead solder is actually safer because of the lower temperatures needed to soften the material, but beware trace elements, residue, and fumes from your work.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: When purchasing a staple gun, chances are you won't be thinking of rust (after all, it's brand new), but a rust resistant finish is a very good extra to have. Remember that you'll be using the staple gun in any kind of weather, with sweaty hands, humidity, and other factors that will make that rust-resistance very appealing down the line. Don't buy a staple gun without it unless you plan on using it infrequently, and in cold weather only! It's also a good idea to avoid a staple gun without a window so you can visually inspect how many staples are left in the gun.
Blind rivets are commonly used to join pieces of light metal. Blind rivets are common for many consumer-level work including installing gutters and drain spouts. There are many shapes and sizes of blind rivet hand-powered tools, but if you have to do work in hard-to reach areas, there are special long-arm tools designed specifically for such applications. It's important to check the fine print when purchasing such hand tools, as they are designed to handle specific blind rivet size ranges depending on the make and model. Some are built to accommodate larger blind rivets while others are made for small ones. Regardless of rivet size issues, one big advantage of blind rivet hand tools as opposed to power tools for the same job is the weight ratio. Power tools can weigh as much as five pounds, where some long-arm blind rivet tools weigh only a pound and a half.
Rivet tools vary depending on the needs of the job. Fortunately, there are rivet kits made especially for certain types of rivet work. One such kit, designed for HUCK and Huck-fit truck frame bolts, comes with a hydraulic power unit, and air powered installer tool, and the assemblies needed to get the job done. Other types of rivet kits are designed for use with home-built aircraft, and still others are designed for general purpose use. For some work you may need right-angle attachments or offset attachments; before purchasing, be sure to check the kit to make sure such specialty components are included for the task at hand.
There are various types of a "power hammer." One such tool is used where a conventional nail gun can't provide the force needed to drive a nail home. Common applications include driving fasteners into concrete. Another example of a power hammer tool is the Bosch rotary power hammer, which features a chipping application, a rotation mode for drilling steel and other building materials, and a hammer/rotator mode for use on stone, concrete, and brick. A different type of foot-powered power hammers are also used in metal forges to replace hand-hammering.