April 4, 2008

Paslode PowerFramer 350 Framing Gun- Review

paslode_powerframer.jpgPaslode has just released a new framing gun called the PowerFramer 350. They were nice enough to let us try one out, and here's what we found.

First of all, this gun is very light (7.5 lbs). In fact, it doesn't really feel like a framer at all. The weight and balance had us thinking of something more along the lines of an old model finish gun. We've used a lot of different framers, and this one was, by far, the lightest and the best, ergonomically speaking. Our research tells us that there are lighter models out there, but believe us when we say that this one is really light.

And it's powerful too. Over the course of a week, we used it to frame up a little deck and it never once misfired or put a nail half in. Every single shot was driven home to the depth we selected. And when we dialed up the maximum depth, the nail heads were absolutely buried in the wood. We have little doubt that this gun would have its way with all forms of engineered lumber.

paslode_nose.jpgpaslode_rafter_hook.jpg

Every framing gun we've ever used has a different feel to it; a different amount of pressure needed to pull the trigger and a different delay between the shots, and this one was no different. The Paslode took a little bit longer to get used to because it needs a solid trigger pull to send out a nail. The guns we've been using lately shoot with just a light flick of the finger. We saw it as an additional safety feature and appreciated the gun for it and once we got a feel, there was no problem.

As far as features go, there's the dial for depth adjustment and a very nice locking rafter hook (that stays out of the way when you want it to), and the trigger has the ability to toggle from single shot to sequential. The Paslode does not have an adjustable rear exhaust, which is a nice feature to have when it's there, but when it's not, we didn't really miss it.

paslode_trigger.jpgWe had some mixed feelings about the way the Paslode toggles between single shot and sequential shot. To do this, you have to remove the tiniest washer you've ever seen, pull the trigger pin out, move the trigger to the correct spot, reset the pin, and then reapply the washer. We're not kidding when we say that the washer is verging on microscopic. While we liked this method because it's a bit harder than just flipping a switch, the washer is so small that it really has no business being on a construction site, particularly during the framing phase. We made the mistake of dropping it in the mud and, luckily, after only five minutes of looking, we found it. But if we hadn't, we would have been screwed. We wished that at least they had at least added a few extras with the gun. We're not even sure if something that small could be picked up at a hardware store. But framing guns are very dangerous and the sequential trigger mode isn't something to take lightly, so we liked the idea that it's not as simple as flipping a switch, we just wish the process wasn't so delicate.

The Paslode uses paper-collated nails which means no little bits of plastic all over the job site.

So the bottom line is that this is a great framer. It's lightweight, very powerful, and it does what you ask it to. We don't have any pricing information, but if it's in the range of other guns, we suggest seriously considering it as an option.

We don't see it in any stores yet, but it's likely to be at Amazon.com and Tool King.

bent_nail.jpgOh, and In case you have a cavalier attitude about nail guns, the last photo is of a nail that hit a buried screw head and deflected right back at us at a freakish speed. If we didn't have the safety glasses on, there would have been problems.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 4, 2008 5:22 AM

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