Porter Cable FR350B Framing Nailer Review

The FR350B pneumatic framing nail gun from Porter Cable is an ideal choice for both DIY’ers and seasoned home and commercial renovation enthusiasts for several reasons starting with its moderate lightweight design and powerful demeanor. Regardless of whether you’re handling a frame in the house or building a deck or a whole new house, the FR350B will get the job done with ease.

PORTER-CABLE FR350B Nailer Review

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Highlights of the Porter-Cable FR350B Framing Nail Gun

  • 60 nails magazine capacity
  • Compatible with nails for 2 ½” up to 3”
  • Reload alert
  • Adjustable exhaust
  • Drive depth adjustment
  • Excellent grip
  • Trigger lock
  • Jam free design
  • Tool-free adjustable depth of drive

The kit of the FR350B includes:

  • Full round framing nailer
  • Installed 1/4 inch male plug
  • Hex wrench
  • Instruction manual

The FR350B is another top of the line addition to Porter-Cable’s superb range of power tools and is definitely one worth exploring.

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Porter Cable FR350B Review

As the name suggests, the FR350B Porter-Cable full head nailing tool uses full round head nails, which are not only recommended by most building contractors, but also easily available in a wide variety of types, sizes and finishes.

From hot dip to stainless steel, smooth to ring shank, you can rest assured there is a type of nail to match your specific project.

The FR350B nail gun arrives pre-fitted with a 1/4″ air fitting, which is compatible with most air compressors. Adding to this, the included fitting is fitted with a duct cap to prevent impurities from entering the air inlet, and can be changed in case it doesn’t match your existing attachments.

The FR350B framing nail gun weights just 7.3 lbs, making it a heavy tool to haul around, but somewhat lighter than other similar pneumatic nailing tools in its segment.

The extra weight may cause fatigue with extended use, but is not a large enough issue to grieve over considering that you won’t be holding onto it for every second of your project.

In fact, the extra weight helps dampen the recoil produced by a framing nail gun as it drives the nail compared to more excess recoil and more fatigue experienced when driving this type of nail with a lighter tool. The Porter-Cable FR350B is not the smallest nailing tool in its segment, but is just right at 21” in length, 14.25” in height and 4.6” width.

Features and Design of the FR350B framing Nailer

Compressor Powered

One of the noteworthy features of the Porter-Cable full round FR350B finish nailer is that is that it can be powered by virtually any sized compressor with a tank and even small pancake style air-compressors. In addition, the full round framing nailing tool is designed to drive nails at anywhere between 70-120 PSI, but nailing at anything less than that pressure is not recommended as it is simply not enough power to do so.

Lubrication

The air inlet is located on the bottom of the FR35B nailing tool and can be connected with your current air source setup with the included 1/4 inch male plug or you can use your own if the one provided doesn’t match. The base of the handle of the FR350B nailing tool is inscribed with the words “Oil Daily”, which simply means placing roughly about 5-6 drops of air tool oil directly into the air inlet before you start work each day. If you’re going to working for longer periods, it a good idea to add a drop or two of oil to ensure the internal components of the FR350B are well lubricated.

The Grip

An aluminum magazine connects the bottom of the handle to the nail magazine, and also serves as a placeholder for the rubber no-mar tip that is located at the tip of the safety release of the FR350B nailing gun. With regards to the handle of this full round framing nailer, it is comfortable with a rubberized grip and makes the framing nailer a joy to hold and safe and secure when driving in a nail.

The Trigger Assembly – Simple & Quick For Switching Between Modes

The trigger assembly of the FR350B framing nailer makes it distinct from its competition because it not only offers you a choice between choice actuation mode and restrictive trigger mode, but makes it easy to switch between the two. Some framing nailers require that you detach the entire trigger just to switch between modes, which is not only time consuming, but can be ridiculously frustrating to say the least. Contrarily, the FR350B framing nailing tool keeps things simple by with a spring loaded small wheel drive located on the trigger itself where you simply release the dial or vice versa to switch between the two modes.

To briefly explain the two modes, contact actuation mode allows you to press the trigger in and fire a nail by simply pushing the nose onto the work piece. With the restrictive fire mode, you simply have to depress the nose of the safety/tool release into the work piece, and release the trigger to fire a nail.

If you’re wondering which mode is right for your task, it really depends on the speed and accuracy you would like to achieve, where contact actuation mode is less accurate but allows you fire nails rapidly, and restrictive mode is a bit slower but much safer as well.

The Exhaust

The adjustable air exhaust port is located at the rear of the main drive housing, and a mild burst of compressed air exits from this area at a rapid speed when a nail is fired. This port can be adjusted without the use of tools, and is done by moving the exhaust into any of the pre-configured 8 detent angles. Adding to this, the back housing cover at the rear is also removable, making maintenance a fairly easy task. It is also worth noting that Porter-Cable just like its entire product lineup hasn’t scrimped out on the build quality of the FR350B nail gun, where even the nail magazine is crafted of anodized aluminum.

Payload

With a capacity of roughly 60 nails, the FR350B framing nail gun uses plastic, full round head, collated nails, and is capable of driving nail sizes between 2″ to 3-1/2″ in length. The nail magazine’s spring load feature constantly feeds the nails into the drive channel as you fire the tool, and the follower of the nail gun features a latch mechanism to draw nails down and out of the magazine if needed.

Depth of drive can be adjusted with a wheel dial that is located behind the nose of the 350B Porter-Cable framing nailer. You may need to adjust the depth of drive in many instances especially when using the tool on different materials.

Using the FR35B

Using the Porter-Cable FR350B nailer is a pleasure and delivers top notch performance across the board. You may however experience some recoil just like you would with any pneumatic power tool so the best thing to do is allow the framing nailer to recoil off the material. The FR350B is front heavy just like all other power tools, and makes is extremely easy to load the nails and adjust features.

Using the FR350B Porter-Cable nailing tool is extremely easy and intuitive in any mode you choose and regardless of the compressor tank pressure (between 70 and 120 psi),  you can expect reliable nail driving capabilities.

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Pros of the Porter-Cable FR350B Nail Gun

  • Weighing just 7.3 lbs, the Porter Cable is a joy to hold and move around across locations. In addition, this makes it easy to use the tool for longer periods, and a great candidate for overhead work.
  • This framing nailer is appointed with a rubberized comfortable grip that definitely aids in fatigue especially when working for longer periods.
  • The trigger lock enhances the safety of the tool as it lowers the risk of misfire.

Cons of the Porter Cable FR350B Nail Gun

  • Bulky just like all other nailers in its class
  • Recoil may make it challenging for some people especially newbies to the framing and nailing arena, but won’t take long to get used to.

Final Thoughts

When all said and done, the FR350B is yet another success story from the Porter-Cable arsenal of power tools. It is extremely reliable, and delivers an amazing performance for any size framing and construction tasks you may put it through. If you’re looking for a framing nailer for everyday use, it is best to spend a few bucks more and buy a high quality framing nailer right from the start, than to invest in a cheap alternative that will fail you day in and day out!

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