Monday, March 8, 2010

The Basic Cartridge Gun


The caulking gun gets a bad rap because of the occasional user of the cartridge gun. Someone who has to fix a leak around their bath tub or kitchen sink goes to the hardware store and picks up caulk and a “cheap” caulking gun to get the job done. Generally speaking they are successful, for they do get the caulk out of the cartridge and they use their finger to tool the joint. But they get frustrated when the material ends up all over themselves and everything around them. When they are finished, they put the tool away and rarely use it again.
There are tools designed for such an individual. There are also tools for contractors who use sealants periodically, and for contractors who use the tools all day every day. The user needs to be matched to the right tool for the application in order to ensure success. One way to measure quality in a tool is based upon price. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
From a dispensing tool solutions provider - someone who knows tools and can look at a tool and see its value - sometimes you don’t quite get what you pay for. It is very easy to make tools appear better then they truly are. We will get further into the more professional cartridge guns, but for the inexperienced, occasional user, here are a few tips to insure the tool you select is acceptable:

• Is the drive rod parallel to the carriage and on the center line of the carriage? And is the front cap of the carriage perpendicular to the drive rod? Poorly assembled carriages tend to droop downward. This will cause a problem.
• Does the pusher (the disk that pushes against the back of the cartridge) fit nicely on the front cap when the rod is in the forward position?
• Push the pusher up against the front cap and squeeze the trigger.
o If the unit clamps itself together, then the drive functions correctly.
o If the tool creaks, then there could be faulty spot welds. A creak means something is moving.
• Slide a cartridge into the carriage. The cartridge should be held in the back and fit nicely in the front cap of the carriage. Holding the cartridge in the back keeps the cartridge secure in the carriage while dispensing material.
• For smooth, long applications, look for a smooth rod without the dripless feature.
• For short, fill-in-the-crack type applications, consider a simple ratchet driven tool or a smooth rod gun with the dripless feature.
• If your material is thick in any way, then you will be applying more loads on the tool and you will have better luck purchasing a higher end more durable tool.

Always remember to tool the joint after you apply the sealant to insure proper bonding of substrates. To tool the joint, use a tool which mimics your finger pushing the material up against the substrate (ee sell a 958-G01 Streamline Spatula Kit). The units that cut away or trim your joints and make them look nice do not insure proper adhesion.

To close, the caulking gun cost is insignificant if the tool does not perform well during the application. When in doubt, we would always recommend you buy a better tool then you think the application requires, for it is the success of the application which truly matters.

We will address the features of a Professional Cartridge Gun and how that matters in future segments.

1 comment:

  1. Mark -- You're spot-on -- absolutely, you get what you pay for whether it's the gun (or the caulk). When you consider the REAL value of the work being done and your long-term performance expectations, then the best solution is to consider the gun, caulk, and accessories as an engineered system. Are one or more components in your system weak? Then you're possibly placing your solution at risk... Also, "if success matters", always do the work correctly by following manufacturers' recommended application practices. It'll save you in the long run!

    John Stubblefield
    Pecora Corporation

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