Monday, December 14, 2015

Happiness Is a Warm Gun

Nail gun with left to right an unfired nail, one that has been fired into the concrete and a single charge.

I'm not a gun fanatic by any stretch of the imagination but I did find happiness with the still warm gun you see above. Let me explain. I have done lots of remodeling over the years and that has involved anchoring walls on top of freshly poured concrete that had j-bolts in place to hold the wall to the concrete. However, I have never had to attach a new wall to existing concrete. But when I was contemplating adding two new stud walls to the bare concrete walls of my office/exercise room/spare bedroom, I wasn't sure how I was going to anchor the base of those walls to the concrete. I thought about using concrete anchor bolts that I would have to drill but I would have to beg/borrow/steal/rent a drill capable of doing that and the concrete bolts are fairly pricey and overkill since this wall will see absolutely no shear loading what so ever. Or I could get a ramset gun you see above which essentially harnesses the energy of a specially made bullet to 'fire' a spike into the concrete. I've never used one before so there was the unknown factor.

After reading many reviews and videos on the subject, I opted to go the latter route and with my walls studded and plumbed, the time had come to crap or get off the pot - so to speak. It was pretty straightforward to use and I must say I was expecting a sound similar to firing a real gun in an enclosed space so I made sure to have hearing and vision protection on. You stick the nail up into the end of the barrel and load a single powder cartridge into the chamber. With it loaded, I just pressed it against the treated bottom plate to depress the safety and pulled the trigger. Although definitely loud enough to warrant ear protection, it wasn't nearly as loud as a real gun would have been. The recoil was first and I definitely wanted to use my body weight to hold it down especially since I had to use the highest charged cartridge to seat the nails in 40+ year old concrete. Five minutes later, the job was completed and I'm ready to start digging into the electrical work. But as I held the still warm gun and contemplated the alternatives, I was happy to have firmly anchored walls and couldn't help but think that I knew what John Lennon was thinking.


8 comments:

sage said...

I've used nail guns but never one with a charge in it. Interesting and looks useful for drilling concrete and putting in bolts isn't a fun project.

Ed said...

Sage - Since these walls essentially have zero shear load other than the occasional person who might lean against them, I thought the nail gun was good enough. Had it been an outside wall to my upstairs, it would have been drilling concrete for me.

kymber said...

holy mother of all that is holy! when jambaloney gets home i will make sure that he sees this post! yer a maverick, ed!!!

sending much love to you and yours! your friend,
kymber

Kelly said...

That is quite a weapon... er, tool! I can see how it would be quite useful.

I don't consider myself a gun fanatic, either, but I do own my share of them (all varieties). I have to wonder about things like this (or even ordinary nail guns) when folks call for "gun bans". I've certainly seen them used as weapons in the movies.

kymber said...

kelly - if they took all of our "weapons", that nail gun would be loaded and under my bed. you are really on to something here!

Ed said...

Kymber - I'm not sure I'd go as far as a maverick. I just like doing things myself mostly because I am probably classified as a perfectionist.

Kelly - It never crossed my mind to actually fire a nail across open space like a gun. Perhaps sometime when the kids are gone, I might have to try it out just to see what happens. I don't want to give them ideas!

Vince said...

Is it sorta using the P of a shape charge to thrust the nail into the concrete. I've never used them but back in the day I saw them in action. There were quite a bit different. More like a heavy kango hammer, and had a strip of charges, maybe ten, sticking out on the side.
Then it seemed more like a heavy blast of compressed air that a bang. I expect the tech has moved on since then.

Ed said...

Vince - They still have similar ones that can do multiple nails without reloading but since I only had about a dozen or so spikes to place, I decided to economize by just getting the single shot version. A heavy blast of compressed air is exactly what it sounded like.