Using Air Nail Guns For Metal Connectors and Joist Hangers

By Todd Fratzel on Power Tools

Bostitch Joist Hanger Gun

Bostitch mcn 150 strapshot metal connector nailerThe other day I wrote about how much joist hangers have improved the construction industry. However, anyone that has used these hangers can attest to the slow nailing process of using the special joist hanger nails. Because joist hangers typically are attached to a single ply of 1 1/2″ material the nails need to be shorter. In order to get the required shear tension strength the nails are typically specified to be a galvanized 1 1/2″ nail with a certain diameter based on the hanger load. The problem is usually you’re nailing these into some type of engineered lumber and your arm wants to fall off after the first few hangers.

Hence what this post is about. I finally broke down and bought this nail gun for the guys at work. Let me tell you something…..I have a feeling none of my guys or myself will EVER hand nail joist hangers again. These metal connector nail guns are amazing. The guns are slightly different than most traditional nail guns in the way the nails sit prior to firing the gun. The nail actually sticks out of the end of the gun far enough so you can “place” the nail in the hanger hole prior to firing it. Basically you put the gun up to the hole, feel that it’s inside the hole then fire away. These guns even sink the nail fully into microlams, paralams and other engineered lumber products.

Recommended Joist Hanger Nail Gun

The nail gun we purchased is a MCN150 – STRAPSHOT™ Metal Connector Nailer by Bostitch. This gun has the following features:

  • Compact design fits between 12″ O.C. joists
  • Low nail lockout prevents dry fires
  • Exclusive safety system prevents misfires
  • Exposed nail tip design fires in the hole for faster, more precise nailing
  • Drives 1-1/2″ paper tape collated metal connector nails (.131″ – .148″ diameter)

You can use this particular gun for joist hangers, hurricane clips, metal strapping, rafter tie connectors and much more. So next time you have a big job with lots of metal connectors or hangers I’d suggest buying one of these tools or renting one. You’ll be glad you did and the time savings alone will pay for the gun! The best part is you can buy it for under $200.

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

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  1. Jason Anderson says:

    Unfortunately the specs for many joist hangers have changed and now require 3″ nails. That renders these guns useless. Framing gun nails have too small of a shank to meet the requirements. Back to hand drives…

  2. Jake Smith says:

    These guns work great for 3″ and 1 1/2″ nails. How do you put a 3″ nail in a joist hanger with 1 1/2″ inch dimensional lumber? The answer is you don’t. You use 1 1/2 inch joist hanger nails.

  3. Doc Weesner says:

    totally agree with Todd!!! the time saved, fingers saved & no more digging in pouch for nails (& then dropping the ______ nail). then use the palm nailer for 2 1/2-3 1/2″ joist nalis. OBTW just saw a CORDLESS! PALM NAILER by Milwaulkee. little prices at $199 but includes 1 12v battrery and chargeer, oh, & bag WOOO.

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