Pro Tool Reviews – 21 Degree Framing Nailer Review

Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer Review
September 23, 2015
Kenny Koehler

Framing nailers are the lifeblood of any residential construction project. Want to bring productivity to a grinding halt? Take away your crew’s nailers. Talk to a contractor and you’ll typically find that Paslode enjoys a solid reputation for the quality of their nailers. The biggest complaint you’ll find is the marriage to a 30-degree nail system.

In and of themselves, 30-degree nailers aren’t that bad. They can get in tighter spaces and use lighter paper tape collation. Where these systems get into trouble is that the nails aren’t as widely available and they tend to be priced higher than 21-degree nails. That changes with the new Paslode F350-21 21-Degree Framing Nailer.

We’re going to dive into the Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer details in just a moment. There’s more news though. Paslode is also introducing a new line of nails to go with its 21-degree system. Paslode’s 21-Degree Framing Nails have one major advantage over the other plastic collated nail strips on the market – they use resin collation.

This has three purported benefits. First, Paslode tells us there is less strip breakage. Less breakage combined with clean shearing reduces the number of jams and misfires. Finally, resin doesn’t break off like plastic does. Collation pieces flying to ping you in the face should be greatly reduced or eliminated. I’ll be looking for these as I walk the nailer through its paces.

Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer First Impressions
One of the first things a framer will ask about with a new nailer is the weight. The Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer comes is at just over 8 pounds. This puts it a little on the heavy side – but take that with a grain of salt. Often, nailers trade off excess weight by putting in plastic components that aren’t as durable. I’ll take 8.1 pounds assuming the build quality is there to support it.

Perfect balance is never achievable in nailers considering how top heavy they are by necessity. The F350-21 is about as balanced as you can expect a framing nailer to be. The weight didn’t fight against my ability to turn it in various firing positions any more or less than the best we found in our framing nailer shootout.

The soft grip handle is a nice feature offering a solid and comfortable grip. It reminds me of the rubber grip used by Hilti’s SF 10W-A18 4-Speed Drill that I praised in an earlier review.

Overall, the build quality suggests that this is designed to work confidently on the jobsite. This thought is backed up with an almost completely metal housing and magazine as well as the 5 year warranty.

Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer Performance
The first thing I did was pair the Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer with Rolair’s VT25BIG compressor. I was reviewing the compressor at the same time and had a few stress tests to work through. I needed to switch the trigger from sequential fire to bump fire mode. This is unfortunately not a tool-free operation. It requires you to pull a pin held in place by an o-ring. This is dicey in that the o-ring is small and can go missing easily on the jobsite. The pin is loose enough to move around on you without it in place.

I ran into trouble when I reset the trigger – something inside stuck leaving the air system open. Of course I didn’t realize this until I re-installed the hose and heard the unmistakable sound of air escaping. I thought perhaps I had done something incorrectly when I reinstalled the trigger in the bump fire mode. Even after returning it to the stock sequential fire, something inside with definitely stuck. Firing the trigger with the hose attached got things moving the was they were supposed to again. After several more trigger adjustments, I didn’t have a repeat incident. Perhaps we’ll chalk this up to a new nailer that needed to get its lubrication properly dispersed.

To see if I could stress the compressor, I loaded up two strips of nails and went at it as fast as I could while still getting solid drives. Reloading is a typically simple operation from the back of the magazine (top loading). In spite of working much faster than a framer typically would or could, I had no issues with jams, misfires, or getting pinged in the face with collators. I went through a couple hundred nails in this fashion with the same results each time.

For the next series of fastening duties, I would be going into a softer wood and worked with the depth of drive. It’s certainly a tool-free operation, but not smooth enough to handle with just your thumb. You’ll need two fingers to make the adjustment.

With the compressor set to the Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer’s max 120 PSI, I shut the motor off to see how many shots I could get in before it dropped to the minimum 90 PSI. Why? Just to get a real world idea of air consumption and decide if the Rolair compressor would be able to handle two shooters. With a required 0.098 SCF per cycle, I got in 10 shots before it dropped to 90 PSI. Paired with a compressor like Rolair’s VT25BIG (2.5 HP, 6.5 CFM @ 90 PSI, 135 PSI max), two shooters is definitely doable with this Paslode model.

Conclusions
The new Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer brings Paslode to a place they’ve been noticeably vacant – the 21-degree framing nailer end of the industry. The build quality certainly seems up to Paslode’s standards and reputation. As always, time will tell the whole story. For the next five years though, I’m covered by the warranty. Retailing at $289, the price is on par with premium framing nailers on the market aimed at pro users.

Performance was solid in the tests I put it through. I didn’t have a single jam or misfire whether I was nailing for speed or accuracy. The only concern I have is the one time the valve stuck open when adjusting the trigger. I haven’t been able to reproduce the issue, but I’ll come back and update this review if I do.

Paslode fans, rejoice in the fact that you now have a 21-degree framing nailer option. Other 21-degree framing nailer users will want to consider trying a box of Paslode’s new 21-Degree Framing Nails with the resin collation. A box of 2000 three-inch Brite Smooth Nails should run under $40.

Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer Key Features
Soft grip handle and collar
Aggressive nose teeth
Tool-free depth of drive
Dry fire lockout
Dual-mode trigger
Top load magazine
Paslode F350-21 Framing Nailer Specifications
Power Source: Compressor, 90 – 120 PSI
Magazine Capacity: 70 nails
Nail Angle: 21 degrees
Nail Size Range: 2″ to 3-1/2″
Nail Type: Round head paper tape or plastic strip; smooth, ring, or screw shank
Air Requirement: 0.098 SCF per cycle
Weight: 8.1 pounds
Warranty: 5 years
Price: $289.00

Link to article: http://www.protoolreviews.com/tools/air/framing-nailers/paslode-f350-21-framing-nailer-review/18545/