How to use staple guns

Posted in Home Improvement on June 14, 2018

Just squeeze to fasten! Some tools are like coffee; sure, you could live without them, but once you get in the habit you sure wouldn’t want to.

The staple gun is like that — addictive. Its forte is light-duty fastening: paper, plastic, screen, and fabric. It’s a versatile tool for decorating projects, like upholstering chair seats and valances, and for home improvement projects ranging from weatherstripping to major remodeling. And since you can get a good staple gun for super cheap, it‘s a wise buy.

  1. Stapling at an angle in fabric and screen is stronger because the staple has more material to grip.
  2. Weatherstripping an entire house is a big and tiring job. You can speed it up with your staple gun.

  1. Save effort with an electric staple gun. They are especially good for overhead work and reupholstery.
  2. Hammer tackers are fast, powerful, and save your arm muscles on large jobs like insulating.

Staple gun operation

Using a staple gun is straightforward; just hold it firmly to the work surface and squeeze. A manually operated stapler does require some force, so if your hands are small you should test different models before buying. Electric staplers are effortless.

There aren’t many tricks to using a staple gun. With fabric and screen, the staples will grip better if they are at a diagonal to the grain of the fabric, so the stress is spread out. Choose your staple length carefully for maximum holding power.

Choosing staples

Here are some typical uses for different sizes of staples.

  • 1/4 in. are for very light duty, like attaching window shades to rollers.
  • 5/16 in. and 3/8 in. are intermediate sizes, good for weatherstripping, attaching insulation, fabric, screen and paper.
  • 1/2 in. and 9/16 in. are for heavy uses, like attaching roofing felt, and for thick materials like ceiling tile. There is a special 9/ 16-in. staple designed for ceiling file, with legs that spread apart for extra holding power.

You should buy staples made by the manufacturer of your stapler. My advice is to buy a good assortment of staples so you’ll be ready for any quick chore.

Specialized staplers

If you like to reupholster furniture, or have other chores involving lots of staplers, consider buying an electric stapler. You can buy one for cheap too, and they are speedy, easier on the hands, and more convenient for overhead work.

They take all standard size staples, and do a more consistent job with long staples in tough materials than you can do manually. There are also models that drive small brads for picture framing or crafts. However, none of the electric staplers are designed to do the kind of heavy stapling of wood to wood that air-powered industrial staplers do.

For remodeling and construction, a hammer stapler is great for attaching vapor barrier, insulation, roofing felt, and even shingles. It makes working above your head much easier, holds a ton of staples, and lets you drive staples all day without tiring your hand. The extra force you get with a hammer stapler makes it easier to drive long staples. Larger models drive extra heavy-duty 3/4-in. staples, with wide crowns, that are particularly well suited to fastening asphalt shingles.

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