April 30, 2007

Ridgid 3-1/2” Round Head Framing Nailer - Review

Ridgid_framer.jpgWe’ve been pretty impressed with Ridgid these days. Their recent release of the Fuego 6-1/2” Framing Saw busted open a whole new class of tools by combining well thought out features with a compact and lightweight design. Their 3-1/2” Round Head Framing Nailer also has a number of great features and although it isn’t as revolutionary as the Fuego, it’s a great addition to the current flock of framers and one that is definitely worth taking a look at.

When we took the gun out of the box we immediately noticed a few things. First, the balance of the tool is fantastic. Our experience is that most framing guns have about 80% of their weight in the head, so the tool wants to constantly tumble forward. But Ridgid’s gun evens out that ratio to more in the 60/40 range, probably due to the magnesium housing. The gun weighs over 8lbs, and there are lighter guns out there, but this one feels right in the hands and once we got to using it, we had no fatigue issues.

Ridgid_framer_trigger.jpg
The second feature that we noticed right away is that to switch from sequential firing to contact mode no longer requires changing the actual trigger. Now the maneuver is done with a simple little toggle on the trigger. We’ve always kept our guns in sequential mode for safety issues, but there have been times when the ability to quickly go back and forth would have been a big help.

Ridgid_framer_nose.jpgYet another thing that struck us about the Ridgid Framer is how aggressive the toe-nailing claw is. We found that the vicious looking tip grabs onto a stud at even a severe angle which is essential for framing in tight spaces. But, the gun also comes with a no-mar pad to put over the claw for those moments of delicate framing when you don’t want the wood to look like it was just attacked by an eagle. When you’re not using the pad, there is a little place for it on the gun’s magazine.

The nails load straight into the bottom of the magazine and are held in place with a bypass pusher. The loading process is quick and painless and if needed, could be done with one hand, granted you had a few free knees to hold the gun. There is also an adjustment for larger diameter nails (the gun can accept nails from .113 in to .162 in).

Ridgid_framer_slider.jpgRidgid_framer_load.jpg

We also liked that the air connecter is on a swivel. Anyone who has tangled an air hose knows the value of this little piece. There is also a dry fire lockout feature that essentially shuts the gun down with four or five nails left in the magazine, so there are no nasty imprints left when the nails run out. And the gun is finished off with a nice rafter hook, a tool-free nail depth adjustment, and an adjustable exhaust.

Ridgid has essentially made a great framing nailer with all the right features, and nothing more. No blinking lights or built-in levels, or any other gimmicks. Just the features that you need to make the job go by quickly and safely. It retails for around $260 which, to us, is a fair price for the tool. We would recommend this gun to anyone.

Ridgid also offers a 3-1/2” Clipped Head Framing Nailer.

Ridgid’s 3-1/2” Round Head Framing Nailer comes with:

  • Oil
  • Wrench
  • Shaded eye protection
  • Tool bag (with shoulder strap)

At Home Depot

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 30, 2007 6:49 AM

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