Stapler: Holding Things Together – On the House

Stapler: Holding Things Together

By on October 12, 2015

When we begin think about a project the first thing that comes to mind is what will be used to hold everything together – nails, screws or nuts and bolts, a hammer, a screwdriver and maybe even a socket wrench? And although the tools and fasteners we’ve just mentioned are the most common – and certainly the most popular – there are other options. Anyway, we thought it would be really interesting to study some of the alternatives to popular fastening methods and look at specialty connecting devices. Actually, when it comes to fastening there are more choices than you might think. Keep in mind that we aren’t suggesting that you run right down to the hardware store and add the list to your tool box. Specialty tools are just that – for special projects. Here is our list of alternatives to nails, screws and nuts and bolts.

  • Manual Stapler (Upholstery Stapler)
  • Electric Stapler
  • Hammer Stapler (Hammer Tacker)
  • Rivet Gun
  • Glue Gun

A manual stapler is not like the one used at an office desk. A manual stapler is big and bulky and has a d-ring grip with a firing lever (trigger) that is as long as the tool. Considerable force can be exerted with this tool making it excellent for upholstery work. All you need is one hand to stretch and hold the material and the other to grip and fire the stapler which spits the staple in place holding the fabric tightly in position. Want to cover those dining room chairs? You can use upholstery tacks, but the manual stapler can actually make the job faster and easier. And keep in mind that a strong, well driven staple holds like glue. Want to install a new screen at the kitchen door? Nothing holds screen material like a staple. Whether you have copper, steel, aluminum or fiberglass screen material staples work great.

For years we’ve had an electric stapler, but we’ve always preferred the manual version. For some reason the electric stapler just doesn’t seem to have the moxie that the manual stapler seems to possess. However, for lightweight projects the electric stapler is easier to use and requires a lot less elbow grease.

No carpenter in his right mind would be caught at work without a hammer stapler (hammer tacker) in his toolbox. The hammer tacker is used to apply siding paper (house wrap), window flashing, corner flashing and roof felt (underlayment) and is used when accuracy isn’t important. The hammer tacker looks like a desktop stapler with the bottom section missing. It is held at the end opposite the tip and swung like a hammer. When the hammer tacker impacts the staple is fired. Staples can be shot out of a hammer tacker as fast as its operator can move from one stroke to another.

Note: The most common staple has a flat head and is used for general purposes. There are some staplers that shoot round head staples. These are special devices made specifically for attaching wire. They even have a guide on the end near the tip that holds the wire in place so that it won’t be accidentally penetrated by the staple.

Staples aren’t the only alternative. Rivets and glue are great fasteners too. When it comes to sheetmetal, leather and heavy cloth (like canvas) rivets are king. Many sheetmetal contractors use rivets and liquid sealant to join metal gutters. Where soldered joints often fail (expansion and contraction between heat of day and cold nights) on rain gutters, riveted joints just don’t come apart. With a riveted joint a flexible sealant can be used that will expand and contract with temperature change. And rivets are easy to remove. All you have to do is drill out the center. It takes just a few seconds. Then, a new rivet can be added. Rivets are available in several different diameters and lengths. A complete rivet kit (good quality) can be purchased for about $40.

Neither of us knew anything about glue guns until Morris’ wife Carol decided to decorate a flower pot. Here she was attaching plastic, glass, fabric, leather and stone to a ceramic pot. It was amazing to see how well it all held up. There doesn’t seem to be anything that you can’t assemble with a glue gun. Carol once purchased a box of sea shells and proceeded to cover the frame of a mirror. How beautiful. As the trigger is pulled the glue gun feeds a stick of glue into a heating chamber and out the other end comes a hot sticky liquid that dries almost instantly. Keep in mind that hot glue guns can be dangerous. Even the most careful operators are sometimes burned.

Having the right tool for the job will always make it easier. And, that’s all there is to it.

For more home improvement tips and information search our website or call our listener line any time at 1-800-737-2474! All you need to do is leave your name, telephone number and your question.

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