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Pneumatic brads vs wood screws

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Hello all. You have a chief of amateurs writing here... i.e. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to boats.

So we just got a new toy (pneumatic nailer) and I was wondering what would happen/go wrong if I used it in boat building. I had always heard that the screws/nails/staples were there just to hold the wood in place until the glue dries. Is this true?

Would I need spiffy brads or staples for boat building? Shouldn't boats have stainless steel or copper screws? Why if we're just going to epoxy over them?

I know, lotsa questions, sorry.  :-\ What do ya think? Thanks. -Kelley

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I use pneumatic nailers all the time, but brads have limited uses. Assembling jigs or boat pieces for temporary alignment while goo cures, it's great. It's a production tool that can speed up your day substantially, but you have to use it a lot to make its bother worth it.

Screws hold a lot better then brads, nails and staples. Often a nail will not "suck" down a part, but a screw will, which is a good indication of their power.

Yep, fasteners should be of a material that can tolerate the marine environment. This leaves mild steel at the door. Stainless and bronze are the usual suspects, but there are other materials, such as plastic or other metals. Brass and copper have very limited strength, particularly brass. Copper has some uses in "flashing" or in clenches or rivets. Brass should be used to hang a picture on an interior bulkhead or other trim, but little else on a boat.

When selecting stainless for a project, bring a good magnet (not one off the fridge) with you and see if it sticks to the metal. If it does, then avoid buying it if you can, as it's a lower grade of stainless and not as well suited for boats.

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Stainless has its own problems when enclosed under the water line; if any water gets to it and gets trapped next to it, it will corrode just as quickly as any other steel.  Stainless requires air circulation around it to maintain the "film" that keeps corrosion from forming.  There's a good article on it on-line at http://www.kastenmarine.com/metalparts.htm (you have to scroll down nearly to the bottom to find the section on stainless).

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