10 Common Staple Gun Problems and How to Fix Them

Will Barinas
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10 Common Staple Gun Problems and How to Fix Them

Many people do not replace their staple gun nails often enough. Next, they wonder why they have trouble cutting through materials quickly. Once you have worn down the nail, you need to replace it with a new one. Inexpensive staple gun nails can be purchased in bulk online and at local retailers. A lot of people commit the biggest rookie mistake – not purchasing replacement staple gun nails. This may seem like common sense but many people do not consider this as a part of staple gun maintenance.

Incorrect Hammer Tension

Another common staple gun problem is that the hammer spring is too tense. This means you need to loosen the spring. Loosening the spring is a simple fix and should take you 3 minutes. Make sure you note where the original position is and move the spring one notch down. This will give you enough space to place the staples without shredding the material you are working with.

Striking the Anvil Incorrectly

If you repeatedly have the nail placed incorrectly and you notice that the diameter of the holes are slightly smaller than the diameter of the exposed nail after it has struck the anvil, then this could be your problem.

When the nail misses the anvil, the result is a small hole that is thinner than the diameter of the nail. This is caused by the warp of the staple legs that start at the point of impact.

Worn Out Spring

A staple gun is the perfect tool for tons of jobs around the home. Lightweight and cheap, they come with all the staples you need in a package ready to go. Get the right size for your job and away you go, until you run into a number of issues.

Problem: Can no longer use the staple gun.

Solution: The two most common causes of a worn out spring are age and too much use. Young or old, you can get a new spring for just a few dollars. The parts are not too hard to replace, so do it yourself rather than sending it back to the manufacturer for costly repairs.

Problem: Ruined surface on which you are trying to use the gun.

Solution: It happens a lot when you are too far away from what you are stapling or are trying to force the piece to stay flat. On flat surfaces, you can use a larger stop than the staples; this will keep the staple in place, but will also allow the pad to seat into place.

Problem: Can not use the gun because the staples can not be loaded.

Solution: If the staples have been left in the sun for too long, they can sometimes warp. This will not cause problems when driving them into a hard piece of wood. However, when stapling a wall or fabric, they may bend.

Problem: Unable to drive the staple all the way.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Clogged Hammer

The first and perhaps most common problem that occurs when using a staple gun is a clogged hammer. Staple may stick to the staple plate and the channel where the staple exits the gun. As you’re working with the gun, you encounter these indentations and catch the slack. Since the catch is along the channel, the slack pulls toward you, through the channel, and into the hammer. The trouble with this buildup is that it reduces the area where the hammer moves. Reducing the area where the hammer needs to move makes it more difficult for the hammer to move. The end result is a gun that won’t fire.

How to Fix It. One way to combat this problem is to pry off the bottom plate of the gun and make sure these indentations are clear. If they aren’t, use a pin or a nail to pull the pieces of staple out. To be clear, you don’t need to stick your nail or pin into the channel where the staple exits the gun. You just need to remove any pieces of staple that may be stuck in this indentation.

You may also consider cleaning the hammer assembly by running the gun file along the top of the hammer and around the edges of the shaft. If you find any indentations in the bottom plate of the gun, consider using a grinding stone to smooth them out.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Staple Jam

10 Reasons for a Staple Jam

If you’re using a basic, manually operated staple gun, as opposed to a powered staple gun, then you know that sometimes you run into problems. The staples get jammed in the magazine, and you can’t get it out.

While most of the time this happens due to user error, such as leaving the magazine loaded or grabbing the staple gun while it’s still attached to the gun or the side of the work surface, there are other times when it’s much less obvious. Here—s why staples get stuck, and what you can do to fix it.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Hard-To-Pull Trigger

A staple gun is supposed to be consistent and easy to use. If it’s hard to pull, one of the first things to check is the position of the magazine. New magazine cartridges may have a slight bend. Straighten the cartridge with your hand. If this doesn’t do the trick, check the position of the magazine before reloading. It’s possible the magazine has become bent out of place or there’s a foreign object underneath it.

If neither of these is the problem, take the magazine out and try removing the staples that don’t belong. This usually isn’t a problem with some staple guns because the cartridges have an indicator to identify which side the staples go in.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Accidentally Letting Off the Staples

The number one (1) problem with staple guns is when the operator inadvertently lets off the trigger before the staple gun penetrates the material. Making this mistake will cause the staple to fall short of its mark, causing the staples to lodge in the surface of the material instead of fastening securely.

The first step in dealing with this problem is to make sure the staple cartridge has sufficiently punctured the material before pulling the trigger. If you are confident the plastic sleeve has been punctured, check the angle of the staple gun handle. This push-pull action causes the staple to push part way through the material. Once the staple is taut, press the body a little harder into the material. It helps to align the stapler so that the top of the staple cartridge lines up with the top of the trigger (you'll notice it is bent at a consistent angle). Then, concentrate on your aim and pull the trigger slowly until it sticks in the material. Here are some other tips to help you avoid this common classic problem:

Make sure the staple loads properly and that the staple cartridge is fully inserted into the stapler body.

Keep the staple gun in a steady, comfortable position or weighted it down so you don't have to hold it at a constant angle.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Design Flaws

There is nothing like a nice, crisp staple in your document stack. Good-quality staple guns are known for their sharp, clean staples and smooth operation for years of reliable use (and some of them are even fun to operate, too!).

There are, on the other hand, those “oops” staples that sail into the side of your finger when you’re trying to apply the staple. Those staples are the result of some designs that are less than perfect. That’s why staples have a tendency to not penetrate the paper or exit the other side of the document. There are all sorts of problems that go along with quality products; good, bad, and downright ugly designs.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Incompatible Co-operant Tools-of-Trade

If you use a staple gun to drive staples into a wall, then if a staple gun is not compatible with the staples, the gun will be disabled. The staples will be jammed in the barrel and the staple gun will be jammed, and you will be stuck. If you’re using staples in a foreign environment: a staple gun in a foreign country, for example, the staple gun and the staples might be incompatible.

If someone were to bring a staple gun from one land to another, where staples had a different shape, then the staples might not fit into the staple gun. This is a real problem, sometimes even killing people. It’s often (though not always) disconcerting, because if the staple gun is used in an earnest attempt to staple something, harm will result as the gun jams.

To get staples out of a staple-gun barrel, remove two or three staples and then stick a toothpick in the barrel and jiggle it. If there are more staples in the barrel, leave the toothpick in there while you pull out the other staples. The toothpick will prevent the remaining staples from scratching your gun's barrel as they're removed.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Corrosion

Using old staples, which can cause rust and corrosion, in a steel staple gun can result in gun failure. This is because rust forms a protective barrier between the staple and the channel. The best way to fix this problem is to switch to mild steel staples.

Yes, there are many options to fix rust. However, rust is not a big deal for many staplers out there. Corrosion is more likely to affect cheaper staplers, such as plastic.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Metal Fatigue (Wear and Tear)

Staple guns are small homemade appliances, so they don’t typically carry 7-year warranties. If you use your staple gun often, it is bound to develop problems eventually. Greasing the rail is one of the best ways to prolong the life of your gun. Swap out the staples every few tapes. If a staple springs, remove it immediately. You should avoid slamming down the stapler. These staples won’t likely damage the stapler in the long run, but they will break down the metal itself.

Acquiring a better staple gun can go a long way to increasing your productivity. You have to find the right stapler, where the best staple gun will save a lot of time on misfires. The power is also an important consideration to look into. There are plenty of options out there. Some have a jam-free design or have a removable rail. Always remember to take good care of your staple gun.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Faulty Electrical Components

The most common cause of a stapler not working is the electric current. If your household outlets or extension cords are of poor quality or are not working, your stapler won’t work. Connect a stapler directly to an electrical outlet and see if it works. If it doesn’t work with a direct connection, the circuitry inside the stapler is faulty.

To fix this problem, you need to clean the stapler’s electrical components of electrical debris and re-solder any broken wires. Only clean the stapler with a damp cloth. Once you have cleaned it, check the electrical components to ensure there are no bare wires and re-solder any broken wires.

How to fix it?

A. The staples keep falling out.

You're likely not using the correct size staple for your material. It is good to have the guide on your staple gun, but you'll want to do some research online and try out a few different sizes before your project to ensure that you are using the correct size for your application.

B. Your back is hurting from reaching down to staple.

The best solution is to have a stool or step stool nearby so you don't end up stooped over while you are securing your project together with your staple gun.

C. You keep poking yourself.

No one likes doing that! You can easily create a sheath for your tool that will help protect your hands (and other body parts) from your staple gun. You can make several out of thick cardboard that just slide over the tool, or you can create a leather sheath with a belt clip if you plan on taking your staple gun with you when you travel.

Conclusion

There's always a way to fix your staple gun problems. Some may take a little time and energy to fix, but trust us when we say when you get it done you'll be in happy land.

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight as how to fix your staple gun problems. Between the common problems, what can happen and what the solutions are, you now know what you need to do to fix up your own ol' staple gun.