The following is the second part of a two-part series, which will focus on the development and use of the nail gun in the residential construction industry. The first part can be viewed here.
As the use of nail guns became more popular with residential home builders, in the 60’s and 70’s, in addition to framing, the gun was used to perform a task called “bump nailing.” Because it was so powerful, the nail gun was never intended to drive nails into sheet rock or plywood. However, soon workers discovered by “bumping” the nail gun across a piece of plywood, or sheet rock if the contact trip continuously depressed against sheet rock, nailing could be completed in a fraction of the time it took utilizing a framing hammer.
However, bump nailing is extremely dangerous, because if the operator missed the stud, the three inch nail would be driven completely through the 3/8 inch material striking a person working on the other side of the wall.
Numerous, incidents were reported where workers in a different room, were being struck with nails 20 to 30 feet away, completely unaware of the danger to which they were exposed.
In 1989, the Stanley Works purchased Bostitch from Textron Corporation. Stanley still sold the N16 nailer, with the contact rip, but they renamed it, model N80-S.
To avoid Product Liability litigation involving the N16, Stanley destroyed lawsuit records involving the N16. Meaning if someone was injured using the N80-S and sued, Stanley Bostitch could legally say they had no records of any prior accidents or injuries involving their product.
The risk of injury the nailer poses is not confined to the workplace, because Stanley deals with stores, like Home Depot, and Lowes, enabling a “do-it-yourselfer” to rent a nail gun who have no experience, with the nail gun. Moreover, as there are no warnings on the nailer, a user will probably not know the nail gun is not safe when working with plywood or sheet rock.
I have had two cases involving eye injuries with the Stanley Bostitch N80-S nail gun. One involved an inadvertent actuation of the contact trip, by a seasonal laborer causing a ricochet.