It’s time for another installment in the “My Favourite Tool” series. If you’re just joining us, this series came about when I was thinking about what I should put on my tool wishlist. To help me make up my mind, I reached out to a few bloggers and asked them to share their favourite tools.
Today’s post comes from Brittany at white dog vintage. Brittany and I connected during last fall’s One Room Challenge. She made over her kitchen–so ambitious and such a great result. I really like her style–her makeovers are colourful, full of DIY and super personal. And I was thrilled when she said she’d be happy to share her favourite tool with all of you. Over to you, Brittany.
Hello Home on 129 Acres readers, and thank you so much to Julia for inviting me to be part of this series! Just a few words about myself: I’m Brittany from white dog vintage. I live in Springfield, Missouri (plumb in the middle of the US) with my husband, Justin, and three chihuahuas. Justin and I love old homes and especially love working on them. In January of this year, we moved into a 1921 bungalow, and we’ve been spending our nights and weekends fixin’ her up ever since.
When it come to Number 1 All-Time Favorite tool, in truth, I have to go with a caulk gun. There’s very little in the world of home improvement as simple and satisfying as applying a bead of caulk. However, that’s all I really have to say about a caulk gun, and one sentence seems like a pretty lazy contribution to this series. So I decided to go with some a little louder. A little flashier. Something that requires electricity. A POWER TOOL. And in that vein, I chose the thing that powers some of my favorite tools to work with–an air compressor.
An air compressor is a support tool. On its own, it generates compressed air in a little tank, which sounds nice but isn’t too helpful until you connect it with the tool that’s doing the actual work. There are a variety of air-powered guns of different sizes and purposes. Over the course of different jobs, we’ve ended up with four.
Staple gun – I use this for upholstering furniture, primarily with 3/8″ heavy duty staples, though occasionally I use up to 9/16″ staples if several layers of fabric need to be attached.
Pin, Brad, and Finish Nailers – These are all used for attaching trim and molding, but each is generally designed to handle a different length of weight of nail. Pin nailers shoot extremely skinny nails and are used for small, light-weight trim, brad nailers have a similar purpose but shoot slightly heavier nails (depending on the gun, they may also be able to shoot staples), and finish nailers shoot larger nails necessary for applying heavier duty trim like baseboards or crown molding.
I first started using an air compressor when I decided to try my hand at upholstery. A staple gun is a necessary upholstery tool, and when it comes to staple guns, pneumatic is the only way to go. I remember once, before I had done much upholstery, helping a friend recover her dining chairs with about a $7 manual staple gun I bought at some generic hardware store. I believe our strategy was for her to pull and hold the fabric while I put a knee on the seat bottom to hold it in place and, at the same time, used all the strength I could muster in two hands to squeeze the trigger of the staple gun. If only I’d have known how easy the whole thing is with a little air behind it. Here’s a little action shot from an ottoman I made recently.
We’ve also been replacing all the trim in our new house, so I think you can imagine how handy the air compressor has been for attaching baseboards and molding. Justin recently started constructing capital style moldings for the tops of our doors and windows, and he reports he used all three nail guns to put them together. I got into the action a bit when it came to attaching the baseboards to the wall.
The truth of the matter is that using a pneumatic gun or nailer is just plain fun. There’s a little bit of a thrill in the pop of the nail hitting the wood, and it’s a really easy and safe tool to use (the tip of basically any nailer must be compressed before the gun is capable of firing–eg, it’s impossible to shoot a nail into the air). I can be kind of absent minded, so I tend to stay away from saws and other potentially dangerous instruments, but thanks to my trusty air compressor, I don’t have to miss out on all the fun. 🙂
Thanks again for reading!
Thanks for sharing, Brittany. An air compressor (and its various attachments) moved up my wishlist as I was reading. Be sure to check out white dog vintage to see more of Brittany’s and Justin’s projects.