The sound of a nailer discharging is a familiar one for the hardwood flooring installer. On a good day, it's almost musical—the sound of work in progress and money being made. When the familiar rhythm of the nailer stops unexpectedly, work comes to a halt and so does the income. Despite that, wood flooring pros can have a tendency to hold onto their nailers past the point when many should have already had a well-earned retirement. That's why Wood Floor Business offered our readers the Nastiest Nailer Contest, sponsored by Primatech. It honors those grime-, rust- and tape-covered nailers, the ones that have laid miles of flooring, and the hardworking pros who have kept them going that long. We asked our readers to send us pictures of their nastiest nailers, and they delivered. The following article features our winner, who will receive a new Primatech EDGE Nailer, as well as our other favorite submissions. We only wish we could offer a brand-new nailer to each and every one of the pros who shared their nasty nailers with us.


Grand Prize Winner:

James Fitzgerald | Fitzgerald's Hardwood Floors | Perkasie, Pa.

James Fitzgerald's dad is almost as dedicated to his old Bostitch M3 nailer as he is to his craft. As he's gotten older, however, his hands have gotten a little less steady, and so has the machine. As Fitzgerald tells it:

My dad's nailer has seen better days. He has had this same nailer since he started his business and has laid miles of floors with it. He is getting older and sometimes his hands don't always do what he wants them to. But he doesn't let that stop him — he makes me duct-tape his hand to the handle so that he can hold it better. I keep trying to convince him that there are other nailers on the market that will help take some of the toll off his body. Sometimes showing him is so much easier than telling him. Maybe if he wins a new nailer he will be able to stay in the industry a few extra years.

James, we hope your dad's new nailer will allow him to do the craft he loves with less pain—and less duct-tape!

James has won a new Primatech EDGE Nailer, valued at $895. Developed with the "end-wall reach" in mind, the nailer is designed to blind-nail as close as within 2 inches of the end-wall, the company says, adding that it can save up to 50 percent of the finishing process on a job and make for a neater jobsite.



Honorable Mentions:

All well-used nailers have a story to tell — some grimier than others. Here are some of our other favorites:

Timothy A. Golden | Golden Wood Works LLC | Cape Coral, Fla.

Keats wrote of a Grecian urn. Dickinson reflected on the "thing with feathers." But Timothy A. Golden? He wrote about his nailer. Like the epic tales of Homer, Golden's poem about his nasty nailer features triumph, loss, growth and Big Macs. It may or may not be even better if read aloud with the sound of air compressors discharging in the background. His submission:


I once bought a nailer

So Shiny and black

It never needed a compressor

Just a good hard whack

It Would set the nail

And Close the Gap

Without having to give it a second Whack

Although throughout the day I would feel it in my back

It Made My Arm Look Like a Big Mac

As the years went by it seemed to become slow

Lubricant and a spring helped it to go

The weight of the mallet seemed to have grown

With every swing of the mallet

My rotator cuff wanted to blow

Board by Board we would survive

till that one day a stapler arrived

with a compressor and a hose by its side

Just a tap

It closed the gap

made the staple go flat

That was the end of the nailer and the whack

Now my nailer has lost its shine

The black is all scratched

Doctors are amazed

my back is still intact

My one arm that once was a size of a Big Mac

Is now like a muffin and the nailer sits flat on the rack

It occasionally comes out when the

young apprentice is about

complaining about lugging the compressor throughout

A few hours of giving the old nailer a whack

The young apprentice realizes

My Boss is Cracked

I want my Compressor back

Without any hesitation the nailer is back on the rack

with hope that the apprentice

appreciates how we used to sacrifice our backs!


Robert Kowalski | Lion Hardwood Flooring Ltd. | Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Theft, a car crash, fire—Robert Kowalski's Primatech nailer has been through a lot. Still, it's somehow managed to come out on the other end—but just barely. His submission:

The van was stolen and ended up crashing and burning down on the highway. Lots of drills, hand tools, compressors and brad nailers were destroyed, but the Primatech still made it. I tried it on a job and it fell apart; I brought it to Bob at Complete Equipment and he was amazed it was the only tool to survive. Only the plastic/rubber parts needed to be replaced, and maybe a pin. But other than that it just needed paint and new handle grip. Unfortunately, two other guns were a bit more burned, and we didn't try to repair those.


Joel Perez | Apex Wood Floors Inc. | Miami

Joel Perez knows he has a Powernail, but he's not exactly sure about the model number because, well, it's faded off. He bought his nailer when he was just 22 years old and now, four presidents later at age 45, he still hasn't had a new one. "It's old and I have to swing a mallet all day long," he says. "It's even missing the spring clamp to hold the cleats down!"


Shawn Carrier | Denver Hardwood | Denver

Shawn Carrier got his nailer half-off—literally. Was it due to super strength, or was this nasty nailer just on its last leg from years of use when it fell into two pieces? Carrier leaves it up to the viewer to decide.


Jorge Perez | Epic Hardwood Floors | Tacoma, Wash.

Jorge Perez's nailer's next nail may be in its own coffin; the old, nasty tool seems to be going the way of the Dodo and is "completely outdated."


Bill Christie | Christie's Hardwood Flooring | Narvon, Pa.

Bill Christie's submission begs the question: Where does the grime end and the nailer begin?


Thank you to all who entered the Nastiest Nailer Contest! All pros who entered will receive a Primatech T-shirt.

Ryan Kushner signed on as assistant editor at Wood Floor Business in February 2018 after a year and a half as a staff writer at The Smithfield Times in Southern Virginia. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in English and Communication from Mercyhurst University. He is constantly in search of wood floor stories and terrible puns and wood love to hear suggestions floor either.