Tool: RIDGID 3-1/2 in. Round Head Framing Nailer Model # R350RHD
Facing the daunting task of single-handedly siding my vacation home I knew if I didn’t break down and purchase a few “expensive” tools I’d likely never get the job done. With a tiny budget to afford my travel expenses and all the necessary building materials how could I afford a compound miter saw, air compressor and siding nailer without breaking the bank?
For me, purchasing a new tool is by no means as straight-forward as walking in and plopping down cash for the best new shiny piece to come out of Detroit. (I wonder if there’s a Detroit, China) Just about every tool I buy goes through a process.. which may likely be why you’re reading this article …so begrudgingly buying a “siding” nailer to apply my fiber cement board siding wasn’t easy… or was it?
Cutting to the chase, I had two requirements: The gun must shoot 2″ galvanized ringshank nails that I could purchase locally (in the middle of nowhere) and the gun must have a protective plastic cap for the teeth if it’s not a dedicated siding nailer. A ‘local’ Home Depot had two affordable guns that met my requirements. Those two were NOT siding nailers but full-fledged framing guns. Dedicated siding nailers are closer to $300 but these framers were under $200 so my choice came down to a Porter-Cable ($179) or the Rigid ($199), affording me nails and a compressor within the cost of a single siding gun.
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- Adjustable exhaust port : Yes
- Air Tool Type : Air Nailer
- Assembled Depth (in.) : 22.2 in
- Assembled Height (in.) : 6.3 in
- Assembled Width (in.) : 17.7 in
- Color Family : Orange
- Depth (in) : 22.62 in
- Fastener collation : Plastic
- Fastener depth control : Yes
- Fasteners included : No
- Height (in) : 5.46 in
- Item Package Type : Cardboard Container
- Item Weight : 12.1 lb
- Loading type : Strip
- Maximum fastener size (in.) : 3.5
- Minimum fastener size (in.) : 2
- Returnable : 90-Day
- Width (in) : 14.74 in
If you read some of the articles on this site, you’ll know that I’m a Residential Home Improvement Contractor and my tools are my living. With that in mind, the decision to purchase a new tool is usually by demand and the product I choose has got to be “the very best” that I can afford at the time. Having the right tool for the job versus my limited funds can be a real predicament, especially when it came to choosing a siding nailer. Believe it or not, having an iPhone with the Amazon App works just as well in NYC as it does on horseback in the country. (assuming there’s cell coverage) I appreciate the Amazon iPhone App and RedLaser barcode scanner tremendously – Together I can see the best price and check availability, comparing one-day shipping costs with whatever I’ve found ‘in-store’ for a confident purchase.
Dedicated Siding Nailers are expensive. I know, I have one. With my choice limited to (2) readily-available sub-$200 framing nailers, I chose the Rigid for $20 more and after a week on the side of a house, I’m very pleased with my purchase.
This article may seem more about being a cheapskate than a RIGID R350RHD Framing Nailer Review but sometimes finding that tool within a budget is what it’s all about. A framing nailer is heavier, more difficult to manage and designed to take and deliver a pounding but it will handle the nails I’m going to use and the price is right.
I bought 2,000 nails @ 2 3/8″ since I was going through CertainTeed Siding then 1″ thick solid wood sheathing and hopefully into the circa 1900 original studs – those ought to hold ’em. I set the compressor on about 80# output and dialed the gun’s setting way out until the nail depth was just right; pulling the siding tight, without penetrating the very soft cement board.
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I’m not sure if it’s just me, but the only gripe I had with this gun was the quantity of nails it would accept. Empty, I could get 3 strips into the feed but when a few nails remained I could only fit two strips. I felt like I was constantly holding up a 12′ board, by myself, only to find I was out of nails – and cursing!!! I fed that sucker a lot of nails and experienced only 3 or 4 misfires. The misfires stopped the job. With a bent nail stuck in the gun, I learned after the second one, there is a little metal door held in place by a thumb-screw which allows access for removing just such a foul-up. The RIDGID 3-1/2 in. Round Head Framing Nailer Model # R350RHD performed my siding task relatively flawlessly! I couldn’t have been happier with that well-spent $200.
A few jams and a few misfeeds were the only issues I experienced in nearly 2000 shots. Trouble filling the gun to it’s max capacity kept me returning to re-fill constantly. (Perhaps that’s why most dedicated siding guns are coil nailers) Now I have a framing nailer to complete any remaining interior work. (most done by hand over the past year has me wondering why I didn’t pick this gun up a year ago but the reason is, a $20 hammer and $20 of nails is a lot cheaper than $500 of pneumatics.)
I can’t compare this with the Porter-Cable that was $20 less but the Rigid had a belt clip, a nice tip protector, a soft case, oil and worked very well out of the box. I feel it was light enough, precise enough and durable– because I dropped it more than once from the ladder, dragged it by the hose, lowered it by the hose and threw it around like I do everything else. [Wait a minute.. Do I own that Porter-Cable Framer already?]
I’d highly recommend this gun for someone looking to get the most for their money! Seriously, spending $200 on a gun, $100+ for a compressor and even hundreds more for a compound miter saw were not really in my budget but I couldn’t have gotten the job done without them and I’m very comfortable with my purchase.