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My friend (a pro trim carpenter) showed me this tool and I immediately realized how cool it was.
It's great, works well, and I'm really happy to have it. I might even buy another one just to have as a backup.
1. Requires two hands to use, which is less convenient than a hammer.
2. Only a little better at operating in tight spaces than a hammer.
3. Can't strike nails as quickly as a hammer (maybe with more practice).
It's worth buying.
I've had several of these over the years and the nail sets are indispensable. Once you get the methodology down, it's a thousand times better than trying to set nails the old fashioned way. I have three of these now and use the nail sets as door hinge pin removers too as the springed pin removers they sell reliably break after not much use, the pin head snaps off. So, these work just fine for that, no need to get that other spring set tool.
Also, you have to be careful with pulling too much on the spring or off center of the tool or you can bend the spring off center. And fingers- try to keep your fingers off the spring when you have it pulled back.
With that, like I said, not perfect, but indispensable if you set any amount of nails for a living.
there was a tiny learning curve. when i first got it i thought i had to pull the spring all the way back. this lead to occasionally pulling the tip off the nail right before releasing, leaving a big hole/dent. the trick is lots of tiny pulls and firmly holding the tip on the nail. works like a charm on 18 and 16 gauge nails. if the nail is sticking too far out you need to trim it short first just like an old hammer and nail set.
I bought this spring loaded nail set about a year ago. I absolutely love it and I'm buying another one. I've used it for setting trim nails, knocking out carburetor float Bowl pins. Center punching for pre-drilling in wood and metal. The tip is not super hard so be careful how hard of a metal you center punch with it. It does take some pretty good hand strength to hold the bottom of a punch or may jump and knock an extra hole in the wood when you let go of the top. I'm sure they are coming out with a molded plastic or rubberized finger grip area, or curved and knurled for better grip. Hint hint. It also works very well for loosening stuck screws and bolts. Simple awesome engineering.
Before my painter recommended this tool to countersink nails in my baseboard, I tried using a counterpunch tool and a hammer with horrible results, often missing the mark and making a giant mess. This tool allows you to have much greater control with less of a hole to fill. I bought two so I could give one to a son who's working on this house. This is a great find and I highly recommend it for any do-it-yourselfer.