Can I Use a Brad Nailer for Furniture Building?

Brad nailers are a fast and powerful nail gun, most commonly used for carpentry and other wood projects. Due to their ability to rapidly drive nails into wood with no fuss or mess, they have become an essential tool for woodworking enthusiasts. Many people would like to know that can brad nailers be used for furniture building?

You can not use a brad nailer for furniture building. Brad nails are lightweight and fine and are therefore not designed for building furniture without any other type of supporting hardware. Load-bearing furniture, such as tables and chairs, require more support to function safely.

This article will discuss the different types of brad nailers, the various gauges of brad nails, and the difference between brad nailers, finish nailers, and framing guns. We will also discuss the limitations of a brad nailer, what it should be used for, and what it should not.

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Types of Brad Nailers

Many different types of brad nailers exist and are available for everyday use and purchase. Brad nailers can be powered electrically, by a rechargeable battery, or by pressurized air via an air compressor. 

For industrial and commercial use, pressurized air is most commonly used to power brad nailers. However, the average person may not have an air compressor system and would be advised to consider the battery or electric-powered alternatives.

Nail Gauges

Different types of brad nail gauges or sizes exist for different purposes. When it comes to brad nails, there are three different gauges: 18, 21, and 23. 18 being the thickest, and 23 the thinnest. However, the overwhelming majority of the time, you will be encountering an 18 gauge brad nail. 

Can I Use a Brad Nailer for Furniture Building?

Different nailers are designed to accommodate different gauges, so before shopping, know what is required for the job and research the product specifications accordingly.

What They Are Designed to Do

Brad nailers are an incredible multipurpose tool. Listed below are some of the most common uses of brad nailers:

  • Tacking lightweight projects together such as birdhouses and children’s toys
  • Light framings such as wall borders and decorative door framing
  • Upholstery work, for example, nailing a new fabric cloth to a chair or couch
  • Holding wooden pieces in place temporarily to measure, make pilot holes, or insert a more permanent screw or nail
  • Cabinet making
  • Hanging light fixtures

What They Are Not Designed to Do

  • Brad nails are not to be used solely as a load-bearing nail for furniture building where user safety depends on strength and durability, for example, tables, chairs, desks, beds, etc.
  • Brad nailers are not designed for heavy-duty framing jobs.
  • They are also not designed for shingling or roofing, as they will not withstand time.
  • They are not recommended for building fences or decks for the previous reason.

Brad Nailer vs. Finishing Nailer vs. Framing Gun

Depending on the task at hand, you will have to choose the appropriate gun capable of the output necessary to perform the job safely. A more in-depth look at the differences is required to determine the right decision.

Although they share many common similarities, the stark difference between these tools lies in the gauge of nail they are designed to handle. In this section, we will briefly touch on the main difference between each tool.

Brad Nailer

The brad nailer is the lightest-duty of the three guns mentioned in this article. Brad nails have virtually no head on them, which is why they are actually referred to as pins in some instances, rather than nails. 

The benefit of this type of nail is that they run a low risk of putting pressure cracks in the wood due to the thinness. Another benefit is that they are also easier to hide and less visible on your project due to the lack of a nail head. This is especially beneficial where aesthetics are important.

Finishing Nailer

The finishing nailer is used for slightly more heavy-duty work than a brad nailer. The typical finishing nailer is equipped with 16 gauge nails. They are thicker, have more tensile strength, and have a larger head making them more secure than a brad nail. 

The finishing nailer is a perfect medium between the brad nailer and the framing gun. 16 gauge nails are strong but not overly aggressive.

Framing Gun

Framing guns are the most heavy-duty tool mentioned in this article. Capable of shooting nails with full-sized heads on them, framing guns is the go-to for roofing, heavy framing, and building furniture, requiring durability to ensure safety.

Can I Use a Brad Nailer for Furniture Building?

Due to the size of framing nails, there is an increased risk of wood cracking. Pressure cracks in wood can cause the wood to become compromised, dangerous, and insecure. To prevent this, pre-drill small pilot holes in the wood where you will be nailing. This will relieve pressure and allow your nail to go in without compromising the integrity of the wood.

Safety Tips

When working with any of the tools mentioned above, always be mindful of safety. Never become complacent, and never use a tool which is inappropriate for the job you are doing. Take the time to understand which tool and nail gauge are most aptly suited to the task.

Can I Use a Brad Nailer for Furniture Building?

Always wear safety glasses at all times while using any gun. Nails can always hit a knot or go in erroneously, causing them to become a projectile. Do not take the chance of exposing your eyes to danger, even if it is only to put in a single nail quickly. Sometimes that can be all it takes to cause permanent injury. 

Never use equipment which is damaged in any way. For example, this could mean that the cord or wire is exposed or that the gun’s safety guard is not properly functioning. If you become aware that your gun is malfunctioning in any way, immediately cease work, and remove the gun from service.

Because of the safety element involved in carpentry and general woodworking, you recommend using a reputable and reliable brad nail to ensure a high-quality finished product. For this reason, it is also recommended that you buy from a known outfitter, and not attempt to purchase second hand. 

Recommended: Milwaukee 2740-20 M18 FUEL 18 Gauge Brad Nailer

Without a doubt, Milwaukee tools are the absolute height of quality for everything from screwdrivers to chainsaws, so it comes as no surprise that their brad nailers surpass the competition as well. 

Milwaukee 2740-20 M18 FUEL 18GA Brad Nailer Bare Tool
  • Milwaukee 2740-20 M18 FUEL 18GA Brad Nailer Bare Tool

Last update on 2023-06-08 at 20:58 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The great thing about this product is that it is completely cordless, so there is nothing to fumble with or trip over. Charge up the battery, plug it into the gun, and begin working immediately.

Note: This product does not include the battery with purchase. To purchase the full kit, see here.


In this article, we set out to answer the question: can I use a brad nailer for furniture building? We deduced that you could not use a brad nailer for furniture building, and it would be unsafe to do so. Brad nailers are not designed to bear enough load to accommodate something like a chair or table. While brad nailers do have an endless list of handy uses, furniture building is not one of them.

However, stronger guns do exist, which are capable of performing the task of furniture building. These include framing guns and finishing guns.

Always think long term, and ask yourself if you have done everything you can to promote your work’s structural integrity. Plan, research, and do your due diligence before beginning any project. Take your time, and never be afraid to seek clarification from reliable sources if you are ever unsure.


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