How to use an air nail gun to install a fence

Written by chris baylor
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How to use an air nail gun to install a fence
A cedar garden fence. (grape leaves on a fence image by Tasha from

Air nail guns, whether battery-powered or driven pneumatically by an air compressor, will drive a nail when the user simply positions the nailer in the proper direction and pulls the trigger. There are many types of air nail guns, such as brad nailers, finish nailers, staplers and framing nailers. Using a framing nailer to build a fence relieves a lot of the physical exertion involved in building a fence. About the only truly difficult act is digging the holes for the fence posts.

Things you need

  • 10 cm by 10 cm (4 inch by 4 inch) pressure-treated fence posts, 2.4 m (8 foot) long
  • Pressure-treated 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) boards, 2.4 m (8 foot) long
  • Cedar pickets, 1.8 m (6 foot) long
  • Framing nailer with 5 cm (2 inch) nails
  • Post-hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Dig your first fence-post hole on the corner of the fence line. Dig the hole about 20 cm (8 inches) in diameter and 60 cm (2 feet) in depth.

  2. 2

    Place one fence post in the hole, with one face parallel with the fence line. Use your level to keep the post plumb. Fill the hole surrounding the post with soil. Tamp the soil in layers with a short section of wood as you fill the hole.

  3. 3

    Measure 2.4 m (8 feet) along the fence line from the centre of the first post and dig a second hole. Install a fence post in the same manner as the first, checking to see that the distance between post centres remains 2.4 m (8 feet).

  4. 4

    Make a pencil mark 30 cm (12 inches) from the bottom of each post (at ground level) and 20 cm (8 inches) down from the top of each post.

  5. 5

    Place a 2.4 m (8 foot) 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) board just under the two top marks, with the ends centred on the posts. Place the nose of the framing nailer against the board and pull the trigger to drive each nail. Repeat with a 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) board centred just below the bottom two marks.

  6. 6

    Repeat Steps 3 to 5 for the entire length of the fence line.

  7. 7

    Beginning at the first fence post, position a cedar picket vertically against the 5 by 10 cm (2 by 4 inch) boards. This picket should be about 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) above ground level. Check to see that the picket is plumb. Nail it into place with the nail gun.

  8. 8

    Position the next picket about 6 mm (1/4 inch) away from the first picket, at the same height. Check for plumb, and nail it into place.

  9. 9

    Repeat the previous step until the entire fence line is covered with pickets.

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