Bostitch Smart Point Brad Nailer
Bostitch 18 Gauge Smart Point Brad Nailer Model BTFP12233
In the world of pneumatic nailers there is not much that excites me anymore, unless were talking about brad nailers and Jenifer Aniston in the same sentence.
As far as brad nailers go, well they’re just not that exciting. That is at least not until I came across the 18 gauge Bostitch Smart Point Brad Nailer.
According to Bostitch Product Manager Jorge Silveira the most exciting aspect of this nailer is that the smaller nose design makes it an easier tool to see where the fastener will penetrate the work surface and this smaller nose design allows the tool to fit into tighter spaces.
I asked for a sample and the folks at Bostitch sent me their very first Smart Point nailer to review and evaluate.
Wasting no time I took the Bostitch Smart Point Brad Nailer to the shop and put it to work. Consider yourself amongst the privileged and first to get an inside sneak peak at a brad nailer that is not due out until February 2013.
I’m a carpenter and run a small remodeling and finish carpentry outfit in Concord, MA. I often build a lot of components in my shop prior to assembling them onsite and subsequently end up using a brad nailer for applying small parts, trim and crown work.
Brad nails are useful to help prevent splitting as well as promote a cleaner looking job with less touch-up work after the nailing is done. I also use a brad nailer occasionally to assist with pinning parts on glue ups. There is no argument that a brad nailer is a useful and necessary tool in the shop and on a finish trim job.
What’s Different With this Smart Point?
The hype on the Smart Point is that it allows for quick and accurate nail placement without separate contact trip. The micro-nose design eliminates the need to push against the work surface to actuate the nailer, allowing users to fit into narrow spaces with an 60% smaller nose footprint.
The Smart Point is advertised as having precise accuracy and that sure got my attention.
There is nothing more annoying than using a nailer that puts a fastener in a location different than where you thought it was going to go. I can think of a dozen times where I wanted to smash my brad nailer with my hammer after I blew apart a trim return or nailed it and the trim part moved on me.
According to Bostitch the Smart Point solves this issue.
Smart Point Video Review:
Smart Point Nailer First Impression:
The Smart Point 18GA brad nailer kit includes the basic tool, carrying case, 1/4 inch swivel fitting, 1,000 two-inch brads, and belt hook.
Out of the box the Smart Point nailer looks like a regular brad nailer but smaller. It has a Magnesium housing with a really nice over molded handle and bumper molding and some plastic parts. The old adage, “bigger is better” does not apply to brad nailers and Bostitch uses Magnesium because it gives the tools housing the durability of aluminum but with less weight.
The Smart Point was designed to allow better visibility for accurate brad placement and it does! It definitely has a smaller nose, and a clean and clear line of sight that is a lot easier than other brad nailers I’ve used. The contact tip on the Smart Point does not need to be compressed to actuate the tool, which speeds up operation of this tool.
The Smart Point is an oil-free nailer help prevent staining of trim and work surfaces and the exhaust is located at the end of the handle where the air hose attaches to the tool. I liked this location because it directs the tools exhaust away from the work and the tool user. An internal filer keeps exterior containments from damaging the tool.
A Selectable Trigger On A Brad Nailer – Seriously?
Also featured is a selectable trigger system for sequential or contact operation, at first I was not sure why Bostitch included that as an option. I’ve never “bump” fired anything other than a framing or roofing nailer. I started thinking that maybe the product manager was previously a framing or roofing nailer guy?
I was of the mind set that brad and finish nailers should be more precise and the sequential fire should be fast enough if you know how to use the tool.
After speaking with Silveira, he explained to me that during product research for a completely different nailing application they noticed that users were using shims to hold the contact trip up on their brad nailers in order to;
• Improve visibility,
• Avoid marring the work surface
• Provide continuous bump actuation in situations where precision placement was not as important
It turns out that these users were not “bumping” the tool at all, they were sliding it along the surface and applying brad fasteners every 6-8 inches on surfaces like door or window trim or cabinet crown runs.
This discovery got the Bostitch team started on developing the Smart Point design and the selectable trigger switch.
Let’s get back to describing this tool:
A tool-free nail jam release is located on front of the nailer at the tool nose which allows fast and easy nail jam removal eliminating the need to use an Allen wrench. A real nice feature!
A thumb turn, depth of drive mechanism [Dial-A-Depth™] is conveniently located under the trigger and allows the user to control the depth of fastener penetration.
The tool is also equipped with a swivel air fitting for maneuverability, a reversible belt hook with integrated pencil sharpener, 2 rubber nose tips and a low brad nail indicator built into the magazine slide.
Smart Point Technology:
The contact arm on the SmartPoint is a major change on the brad nailer and what makes this tool very different and unique. The contact arm is integrated into a sliding nose that has a much smaller footprint. This contact arm is spring-biased upward [towards the tool] to eliminate the need for the nose to be compressed to actuate the tool.
In contrast, a standard brad nailer has a contact arm that wraps around the nose of the tool, which is bulky. The contact arm is spring-biased outward [away from the tool] which requires the user to push the contact arm in to actuate the tool.
Smart Point Dimensions:
- Height (nose to top cap): 9.38”;
- Length (front to end of magazine): 9.75”;
- Width: 2.4”;
When I compared the Smart Point to other brad nailers it was smaller by several inches on both the width and length.
• Porter Cable BN200B 14.30 x 11.11
• Dewalt D51238K 13.79 x 10.12
• Hitachi NT50AE2 7.08 x 10.77
• Ridgid R213BNA 9.00 x 11.05
Using the Smart Point Brad Nailer: My Experience!
The Smart Point brad nailer magazine opens to 5 1/2” and easily allowed me to fit 5” long strips of brads into it. Nicely done! I was starting to think that the Bostitch engineers took a few lessons from us cabinetmakers with those tolerances.
The Smart Point is the first nailer that I own with a swivel connector at the hose connection and I have to say it’s a very nice detail and gives you some play when maneuvering the tool into tight or awkward spaces.
The Smart Point nailer worked as advertised. It placed a brad exactly where the tip was and provided a clear line of sight. The Smart Point also allowed me to avoid pushing the tool against my trim which normally marks and dent the trim piece.
I used the nailer on all different shapes sizes and species of trim and crown molding. What I liked the most was the nailer ability to get precisely where you wanted it – even into tight spots on heavily detailed crown. The learning curve on this nailer is short and I quickly learned exactly where the fastener exits the tool – you can see it!
I found myself reaching for the thumb dial depth of drive often. This adjustment worked great and allowed me to really dial in my fastener depth for precise countersinking.
I have to admit I usually speak ill of belt hooks and never sling nailers in the shop but I found myself using this belt hook, please don’t tell anyone.
I tested the sequential firing option and can understand why some users would want the option. After testing I never used it. I also tested the pencil sharpener, which worked great but did not use it much in the shop. I have to say part of that reason is that I use the larger carpenter pencils and sharpen them with my utility knife.
The The Smart Point is indeed a smart nailer, maybe even smarter than me. It was accurate and precise in brad nail placement and provided me with exceptional visibility.
My FAV features of this nailer were the line of sight this tool offers, the swivel connector and the low brad nail indicator.
The Smart Point brad nailer is expected to retail for $ 119.99 and will be available in February 2013.
Stay tuned for Bostitch to expand the Smart Point technology to other finish nailers.