Please note: Since this review was
published, Global Machinery Company (GMC) has gone into receivership and
is no longer operating. As such, spare parts or technical support cannot
be obtained directly through them. Their website at www.gmcompany.com
appears to still be available online and offers some product information
and manuals but contacting them will receive no reply. Note that
OnlineToolReviews.com does not work for GMC, nor do we offer any support
or spare parts for their products.
So you have a nail to drive... what are your options?
Naturally, the first that probably comes to mind is the trusty old hammer
(in its many variations). Next on the list is probably the pneumatic nail
gun (and its many variations). But what comes after that? Suddenly the
options become extremely limited.
Well, Global Machinery Company (GMC) is attempting to
add yet another nail driving tool variant to the list of possibilities
with their new Magnesium Allnailer tool. It promises to offer all
the ease of a power tool but without the restriction of expensive or hard
to find nails for pneumatic tools. Plus, it's a world's first in terms of
nailer design! Let's see how it works, and whether it
does the job it is designed to do well.
GMC Magnesium Allnailer
When I first saw and heard about the Allnailer, I immediately
thought... "here we go, another cordless nail gun that is probably not
powerful enough to drive anything more than brads into softwoods", like
many other cordless nail guns and bradders flooding the market. When one
purchases such a tool, they often end up having to buy a pneumatic nail
gun and compressor because they discover the cordless nailers are just not
up to scratch for most tasks. So what makes the Allnailer different to
these other cordless nailers?
Well, to begin with, the Allnailer functions a little
differently to most nail guns. Instead of a single, rapid burst of air
that is used to thrust a driver on conventional pneumatic nailers, the
Allnailer uses somewhat of a continuous hammering action, much like you
would experience with an air hammer chisel, or a jackhammer. So the nail is
driven in with successive blows rather than one single burst of power.
This alone offers benefits over other nail gun types which we will see
later. But for now, lets take a look at the features of the Allnailer from
Packaging and Contents
The Allnailer ships in a plastic molded case. It offers great
protection during shipping, and when transporting the tool around. As a
result, the tool arrived free of dings, dents or other shipping damage.
Inside the case you will find the Allnailer itself, two 18v batteries, and
a user manual. Naturally, being a "new" tool in terms of design, every new
owner should read the instruction guides. This nailer works differently to
pneumatic nailers, and hence, requires different steps and technique to
drive nails. The full color product manual will provide all the
instruction you will need to operate the tool correctly and safely.
The Power Packs + Charger
The Allnailer ships with two 18v Nickel Cadmium (NiCad) cordless batteries. Each has a 1.5Ah
capacity, which is probably average for a reasonably good quality power
tool. The batteries connect to the bottom of the Allnailer handle via
standard battery clips that are secure, but easy to remove when you need
to switch a battery or charge one up. The batteries actually slide onto
the bottom of the tool and then click in place to secure them. Naturally, a mains charger is
included in the kit for restoring battery charge levels. In the marketing
blurb it states the charger is a 1-hour rapid charger. I have been
skeptical of these claims with other product reviews in the past because
the batteries end up taking anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to charge. The 1
hour charger in this kit however does indeed seem to rate to the one hour
mark. I timed the first charge cycle of the batteries and it came in at
around 1 hour 15 minutes, but it could have actually finished charging 5
minutes prior to this as I was only really checking it every 5 minutes or
so. Bear in mind that charge cycle time will likely decrease with future
recharges, likely bringing charge time down to the one hour mark, and in
some cases, even less.
The charger itself features 2 LED lights to display charge status. The
battery is fully charged when the green ("charge complete") light is
illuminated. If the red light is on, the battery is still in the charging
cycle. Nothing complicated here, but it works just fine. The battery
mounts on the charger at an angle to one side. This is pretty
insignificant however. Of course, with two batteries in the kit, you
should always have one charged and ready to go. One can be in use while
the second is charging. Each battery has a rubber protective coating
around the base. I guess it helps protect the edges if you knock it around
a bit, or at least protect your work surfaces or benches from casing
Battery life seems pretty good. While I haven't yet needed the tool
for an all-day nailing task, I have managed to use the tool successfully
for framing three interior walls from scratch and there was no sign the
battery was slowing down. This was about 140 nails worth after I got
through it all. It is claimed the Allnailer can drive up to 360 50mm
nails into pine according to GMC's own tests. I'd believe that based on my
experience and use of the tool. In hardwood however, or if using longer
nails (and hence requiring longer tool cycle) the total number of nails
that can be driven on a full battery charge is likely to be lower. In my
testing, I drove about 60 75mm nails into some dense hardwood and
the battery charge indicator feature (which we will see shortly) was
showing a little over half a charge remaining, so I guess you could expect
about 100-140 nails in dense hardwood on a full charge. Of course, there
are a lot of variables to these estimates, including nail length, nail
diameter, species of wood, moisture content of wood, and so on, so just
use these estimates as rough guides. Your mileage may vary greatly in some
Battery Level Indicator
Just above the installed battery pack on the base of the Allnailer
itself is the battery level indicator. With a battery installed, all it
takes is a press of the battery indicator button to check the current
level of battery charge. There are 3 bright white lights; one that
indicates "Low" charge, one for "Medium" and one for "High". If the
battery is fully charged, all three lights will illuminate fully. As the
charge decreases, the highest charge light dims progressively. As charge
further decreases, only the Low and Medium lights illuminate to indicate
approximately 50% charge remaining. As charge further decreases,
eventually only the "Low" light will remain. Once fully depleted, no
lights illuminate and it's time to put the battery back on the charger
again. The level indicator is a handy guide to determining battery charge
level, particularly if the tool hasn't been used for a period of time
(where battery charge can deplete on the shelf). It will avoid downtime
waiting for batteries to charge after you discover they are flat just when
you need to use them!
Body & Tool Construction
As the product name implies, the Allnailer features magnesium
construction. Magnesium seems to be the material of choice for quality
power tools these days as it offers excellent strength without the added
weight of traditional tool making metals. GMC seems to be leading the
charge with magnesium use, as many of their new products now feature this
material as part of their build, with only a handful of other tool
manufacturers following along. The upper and forward drive
section of the tool features the magnesium material, whereas the
less-critical and non-impact areas, such as the handle and lower casing is
constructed from hardened plastic. The handle also features a rubber overmold for comfort and slip resistance. Despite the lightweight outer
materials, the tool still weighs about 2.9kg. This is because most of the
inner working components are metal construction, namely the steel piston
and drive anvil which do all the "hammering" work.
The tool features a variable speed trigger which allows the user to
control the speed of the hammering/driving action. The nailer has a
no-load speed range of 0 - 16,000 min-1 and an actual hammer rate in use
between 0 - 5500 bpm. Simply depress the trigger for the hammering speed
required. There is a trigger lock slide switch on the tool just above the
trigger to help prevent unwanted starting of the tool as well.
Offering variable speed allows you to control the nail
driving speed, allowing you to have some control over issues like
excessive wood splitting or over-driving of nails, particularly if you
want them to remain proud of the surface (for whatever reason).
A better way to control nail depth however is the depth
control wheel. It offers 4 depth settings and the user can switch between
these by first pressing the knob inward, and then rotating it to the
desired setting. Settings are marked 1 through 4 on the adjuster and
equate to the following depth of drive;
- Position 1: Nail head underflush by 1mm
- Position 2: Nail head level with surface
- Position 3: Nail head 5mm proud from surface
- Position 4: Nail head 10mm proud from surface
This adjustment control works well in use and seems to
function to specs above no matter what type of wood you are driving a nail
into, or the size of the nail itself, unlike pneumatic tools where the
nail can often be overdriven or underdriven easily if you haven't done
some prior testing on scrap material first. In use I mostly used Position
2 for the majority of tasks - setting nail head level with surface. On
rare occasions I had difficulty with Position 1, where I couldn't get the
nail to drive under the surface of the material I was nailing into. Not
sure why, but occasionally it would not go all the way. May have been the
nail head type I was using in those instances (thicker head than standard
One of the features that makes this product unique in the power
nail-driving world is its ability to use a wide range of commonly
available nail types. No longer are you restricted to purchasing expensive
strip or coil nails that have to be exact fits for your particular nail
gun type. The Allnailer can use many types of loose nails you can buy from
just about anywhere, and has the capacity to drive nails from 40mm (1
9/16") to 150mm (5 29/32") in length with up to a 10mm diameter nail head!
The following table lists common nails and lengths the Allnailer can
The range of nail types that can be used is made
possible by the Allnailer's Universal Nail Clamp. This fixture on the
front of the driving shaft grips the shaft of the nail and places the head
of the nail directly in line with the driving anvil. A
conveniently-located nail insert trigger located above the main power
trigger allows you to open or close these clamping jaws to insert a nail
ready to be driven.
So How Does it Work?
Basically, the tool's motor drives an internal piston which compresses
air against the the steel driving anvil. The spring-loaded anvil then
strikes the nail head, while the nail is gripped by the nail clamp. This
action is repeated continuously until the nail is driven to full depth.
The Allnailer puts out a bit of vibration as this process is undertaken,
but it is "muffled" in comparison to what you might expect from an air
chisel, as an example, which seems to have a sharper punch with more
recoil. The Allnailer's driving action is a little more sedate and steady
with less recoil, but it gets the job done. Soundwise it can be a bit
noisy, reaching up to 96 decibels during use. Ear protection is a must, as
is eye protection, but this should be common sense. Although I was once
told that common sense is far from "common", so use that grey matter and
keep yourself safe! Apart from the sound and mandatory eye protection, the
Allnailer is not nearly as dangerous as a pneumatic gun. We have all seen
those X-ray photos of a framing nail imbedded in someone's skull. Although
they seem like fantasy, many of those images are indeed real. It would be
pretty much impossible to do similar damage to yourself unintentionally
using the Allnailer, as it drives in smaller successive blows, rather than
one big powerful bang!
Another advantage of this tool is its accuracy. Unlike a
pneumatic nailer where it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint a nail
driving location, or angle, the Allnailer allows you to accurately set a
nail to be driven, and at an angle of your choosing. Simply start driving
the nail in the required location and at the required angle, and hold the
tool at that same angle until the nail is fully driven into the material
for accurate results.
Being cordless, the tool does not require an air
compressor, air hose or electrical cord. This means it can be taken and
used pretty much anywhere. There are no limitations to where the tool can
be used, except for say, really tight places, where the tool itself cannot
fit in the space or gap. I am sure current pneumatic nail gun users could
appreciate not having to drag a hose around behind them!
But will the Allnailer replace the pneumatic nail gun?
Well, I'd say... yes and no. Where it wont replace the pneumatic nailer is
in commercial building and construction work where nailing is a constant
ongoing process and fine accuracy is not really a consideration, like when
framing a house. The fact is that a pneumatic nailer is indeed much faster
than the Allnailer in driving nails (about 3 times as fast per nail), plus
the time it takes to load each nail individually. In these cases, that
adds up to a lot of time saved if you are shooting hundreds or thousands
of nails each day. But this doesn't mean a contractor could not make use
of the Allnailer. In fact there is no reason your couldn't frame an entire
house with the Allnailer. It would indeed do the job if there was no other
Remembering that the Allnailer requires no hoses and can
use many nail types, there may be the occasional odd fixing task on the
building site where it is quicker and easier to use the Allnailer for
small scale tasks, and when the contractor doesn't wish to swing a hammer
around in completing those tasks. So, it is a case of choosing the best
tool for the job.
The Allnailer is similar in action to a pneumatic palm
nailer, but again, you have freedom from hoses and the need for an air
compressor and electrical outlet (if using an electrically powered
compressor). Additionally, some palm nailers require you to change driving
heads to use different types of nails. This is not the case with the
Allnailer, so there are some differences between the two.
Does it Do the Job?
Simply put, yes. It successfully drives nails of all types into both
softwood and hardwood. Whether it is the best tool for the job at hand
will depend on the specifics of that job. For general home handyperson and
DIY type tasks, the Allnailer does indeed make the trusty old hammer look
obsolete. However, either a pneumatic nail gun or indeed a hammer (if only
to use the nail puller to remove nails) would be complimentary tools to
use alongside the Allnailer if you want to be able to tackle all types of
DIY, home renovation or building tasks.
GMC have created a world first with the Magnesium
Allnailer. It is definitely a unique tool and it's good to see a company
thinking outside the square and coming up with totally new tools rather
than re-hashed products that offer very little in new design or features
over their competitors.
The retail price for the Allnailer is AUD$199 in
Australia and US$129.99 in the USA. It is not a bad price considering the
amount of research and development that goes into new products. And if you
are not fond of hammer and nail efforts, then the Strike Allnailer offers
the modern day equivalent, helping to drive nails relatively quickly and
very accurately into many materials, without the bruised thumbs to boot!
GMC Magnesium Allnailer Photos
All photos copyright onlinetoolreviews.com. Use without prior
written permission prohibited
The Allnailer out of the box.
Variable speed trigger and trigger lock slide switch above it.
The nail clamp release button.
Battery mounted on charger.
Battery attached to Allnailer.
Battery indicator showing roughly 50% charge remaining.
The drive depth adjustment knob.
The Jaws that grip the nails!
Workshop test driving nails into softwood.
The Allnailer can be most all the same tasks a regular hammer can!
A DIY project constructed using the Allnailer.