Hitachi Nails it with the New NT1865DM 16 Gauge Cordless Finish Nailer

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Now I know why I’ve been putting off re-attaching that two foot piece of quarter-round moulding for the last 18 months: Home Fixated just received a “Next-Gen” cordless nailer from Hitachi to review, the NT1865DM. Forget about having to drag out the compressor, tripping over the hose, feeling physically challenged attaching and detaching the tool from the hose, and all the other random joys associated with pneumatic nail guns. True, they represented a major step in the right direction – that is, away from smashing my thumb with a hammer and usually marring the trim with the head of the hammer as well. The Hitachi 16 Gauge Cordless Finish Nailer represents a quantum leap for both professional finish carpenters and bumbling home repair dudes and dudettes alike.

The Hitachi Cordless Finish Nailer Kit – What You Get

All This! Yup.

Purchased as a kit, this nail gun includes everything you need to start; tool, battery, rapid charger, soft-sided tool bag, even safety glasses. The only thing missing is a starter pack of nails. Of course, there is the obligatory owner’s manual, slightly shorter than “War and Peace.” In it you will learn that it’s a bad idea to shoot nails into your flesh, and other amazing facts. I know lawyers run the world, so I won’t twist off too much on the booklet, but it bears mentioning the translation from Chinese to English is a bit awkward and confusing at times. Here’s some Chinglish from the manual: “In case of too hot condition, blink in 1 second interval.” Perhaps steady blinking helps cool the body down more than anyone suspected. Try it and let me know.

Hitachi Cordless Nailing – How It Works

The real beauty of this Hitachi Cordless Finish Nailer is that it behaves very much like its air-driven forbears. Pull the trigger on the Hitachi NT1865DM and it shoots a nail instantly. And it’s ready to shoot another right now! No ramp-up, no hesitation. Previous incarnations of cordless nailers have had ramp-up time issues, and this generation has eliminated this entirely. The spec’s say up to 2 nails per second and that seems about right. For finish work that is perfectly adequate. With tool-less adjustment for nail-depth drive, getting the right depth is quick and easy. I did notice that for driving nails into pine it was difficult to get a nail perfectly flush, as the nails nearly always went about 1/16” below flush no matter that the depth was set all the way “up”. That was with 2.5” nails. It may behave differently with shorter nails. It can set nails from 1 to 2.5 inches in length.

A Few Nits

I did a test to compare “bump firing” to sequential activation firing and was a little surprised to find the results were not identical. With sequential (trigger pull) actuation the nails went in a little deeper. Bump firing left some nail heads slightly proud or perfectly flush, whereas the same depth setting set the nails below flush when using the sequential mode. What up with that, Mr. Hitachi? As long as you don’t switch back and forth from one mode to the other I don’t see it as a big deal, but it’s worth being aware of.

Contact Actuation not so flush

Trigger Actuation sets them deeper

Easy Peasy, Trigger Squeezy

More sweet features of this tool include tool-less jam clearing, an LED light for nailing in the dark (with or without clothing), and a pivoting belt hook (clothing probably required). The tool feels good in your hand, though at 7.3 pounds it’s heavier than an air-driven tool. I’m certainly willing to make the trade-off for the freedom from the umbilical. Hitachi claims one battery charge will set approximately 1,500 nails. I couldn’t get more than 300 nails in my two foot section of molding, so I’ll have to take their word for it. The battery has a charge indicator built in so you can monitor the level of charge as you go.

Did I Like It?

Heck yes. My skills with a hammer are not great. I don’t even own a compressor (though all my friends who do own one collectively wish I would hurry up and buy one so I stop borrowing theirs). Now, for finish work anyway, I won’t need that compressor. And my thumb gets a break from the usual smashing it receives. This is a serious tool and I seriously like it! This tool is from a new line of cordless nailers from Hitachi, which also includes an angled nailer and a brad nailer. Here’s a quick overview from Hitachi, followed by pricing and a purchase link:

You can find the Hitachi NT1865DM Li-Ion 16 Gauge Straight Cordless Finish Nailer, 1″ to 2-1/2″ #NT1865DM for around $330 on Amazon or $369 at Lowes:

Buy Now - via Amazon

Buy Now - via Lowes

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About Peter

After squandering the first 50+ years of his life being productive, Peter finally realized having fun is, well, more fun. A former Human Resources junior executive/ chef/ small business owner/ restaurateur/ organic farmer, Peter became handy quickly. Peter's time farming was spent repairing and building implements, greenhouses, storage facilities, and washing stations as well as renovations on the outdated farmhouse. Peter and his lovely wife Joan now share a home they converted into a cozy living space by remodeling an old church. He and Joan also run a used book business in Southwest Colorado, which leaves them almost enough time to ride bikes and ski pretty much every day. Ahhhh, sweet sloth.

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