Pros: light weight, uses paper-joined nails, minimal recoil
Cons: not a tool-free depth adjustment
I don't really like framing. It's certainly better than working with steel, but give me a nice finish carpentry job and I'm as happy as can be. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way and framing a home or even a wall during a remodel is a fact of life for those in "the trade". Hard to imagine the job was once done with a plain old hammer and some nails. Times have changed.
Why this nailer?
Paslode makes a good quality gun whether it be for framing or finish carpentry. They are generally a good fit in the hand and in the middle of the weight range for their class. This tool is no exception. That said, it entered my tool box by virtue of winning a contest of some sort at a builders' expo so I also couldn't beat the price.
The F-350S is a good buy for those purchasing their first framing nailer not only because of feel and average weight, but also for its average price and ready availability. The brand has grown steadily in popularity and can be found in many home improvement stores and most certainly in most if not all builders' specialty stores. 'Availability' may not seem the best reason to purchase a tool - and it isn't the best - but when you're in the midst of a job and need something fixed or need a part, having an obscure tool means waiting a lot longer for maintenance (or it means you sink another $300 into a new tool rather than wait).
Consistency - the Paslode is not the most powerful framing nailer I have used but it is one of the most consistent for steady workmanship. It's not one of those nailers for the hot dog carpenter trying to rush through a job but it does deliver good results at a steady pace with nary a jam to be had.
Depth Adjustments - losing a star here for not being tool-less in its depth adjustment, the Paslode requires a wrench for adjusting your depth based on what you're firing into. It only slightly redeems itself by having the wrench stored on board the tool....there's just too many tool-free adjustment nailers out there for this not to count against this one.
Recoil and Weight - this is always a trade off. The lighter the tool the greater the recoil you'll experience - it varies a bit depending on the type of lumber you're working with, but in typical situations you can expect the F-350S to have little recoil. It is not without recoil, but the weight of just over 8 pounds gives this one enough weight to render the recoil something that does not interfere with work.
Feel - along the same lines, let me touch on the feel of the tool. The weight makes this one light in the hand and the grip is soft enough to make gripping easy. That said, I find the area where my palm meets the tool to be a little too small - the soft/textured grip area just isn't big enough for the size of my hand. The trigger is in the right place for most users and requires enough pressure without being 'difficult'.
In the end, weight vs. recoil is a decision based a lot upon how the user works. I don't like having to lug around a heavy nail gun if I don't have to so I'll give up a bit in terms of recoil when framing to lighten the load I'm carrying. The opposite is true if I'm doing finish work.
Nails - this one is a straight magazine (as seen in the photo) and does not take coil-style nails. The magazine is at a 30-degree and can accept two strips of nails at a time. The plus here is the nails - paper and glue join the strips rather than plastic. Nail strips joined with plastic mean a shooting out, back at the tool user, of the discarded plastic. It's really a safety consideration and a good one at that.
It drives D-head, ring and smooth nails.
Items per the manufacturer:
Weight - 8.0 pounds (7.9 in some literature)
Rate of firing - 10 nails per second
Operating pressure - 80-120 p.s.i.
30-Day no risk trial period is in effect upon purchase.
Clear plastic safety glasses were included with this tool.
"Amount Paid" - I've seen a range here from $259 to $299. This is an average price as mine cost me nothing.
Paslode Trim Nailer review