Crown Stapler and Its Uses

Although nails are the traditional means of securing materials, the staple gun is also a traditional tool that is used for binding material together. The crown stapler is one such tool that offers versatility, ease of use, and strong holding power for the tasks that it can perform.

What is a Crown Stapler?

A crown stapler is a staple gun that drivers staples into wood, plastic, corrugated cardboard, etc. A crown stapler may be powered by air or battery. The tool gets its name from the fastener (staple) it drives.

Metabo HPT Finish Stapler, 18 Gauge, 1/4-Inch Narrow Crown Staples, 1/2-Inch up to 1-1/2-Inch Staple Length, Pneumatic (N3804AB3)

A staple has two legs connected by a bridge of material called the crown and hence the name. The bottom of the legs has sharp points known as chisel edges that enable the staple to penetrate the wood. The body of the staples is made of steel wires with gauge size ranging from 21G (fine wire) to 10G (heavy wire).

The shape of the wire is either round (standard staples) or flat wire in the case of T50 staples.

Stapler versus Nailer

A staple gun is designed in many ways like a nail gun. A nail gun is a device that drives nails into materials such as wood. A staple gun operates on the same principle as a nail gun. It essentially drives staples into materials. But unlike the stapler that sits on your office desk, the staples here will not wrap around at the bottom, instead, they go in straight. The staple gun is designed to secure materials that are much thicker and stronger than simple paper.

One important thing to note here is that a crown stapler has nothing to do with crown molding. If you are trying to secure molding to the walls, then a crown stapler is not the right tool for the job. Instead, you should use a finish nailer for crown molding installation mainly for aesthetics reasons (more on that later).

A typical crown stapler provides an ergonomic grip just like a nail gun. But instead of nails, it uses staples that feature either a flat or round head. The type of head allows for strong contact between materials such as wood and upholstery. However, while upholstery and wood are perhaps the two most common materials used by a staple gun, it does offer a lot more uses.

Types of Staplers

The staple gun is one power tool that comes in a surprisingly wide variety. Stores carry different types of staplers based on the types of application, crown size, and how the tool is powered.

Based on the power source the three common types are,

  1. Manual (hand operated)
  2. Pneumatic (powered by compressed air)
  3. Cordless (battery powered)

Types of crown staplers

Type of Work

Depending on the type of application, you can find an upholstery stapler, packing stapler, hammer or slap stapler, flooring, and construction staplers.

The crown staple gun that you commonly used for woodworking and construction are again classified according to their sizes.

Crown Stapler Sizes

Based on the width of the crown, the staples are classified as wide, medium, and narrow crown staples. Each of these staple types can only go into the stapler specifically designed to the particular crown width, but they can shoot different lengths. They are meant for different uses. Thus depending on your application, you may have to choose one of the following staple guns.

  • Narrow Crown Stapler
  • Medium Crown Stapler and
  • Wide Crown

What is a Narrow Crown Stapler?

A narrow crown stapler is a staple gun that usually shoots 18 gauge wire diameter staples with a crown width of ¼ inch. As you can guess the narrow crown stapler is a smaller, thinner version of the wide and medium stapler. It uses smaller gauge staples which makes it perfect for securing thin plywood and sheet goods onto the wood.

A medium crown stapler uses staples with 16G wire and ½” wide crown.

  Narrow Crown Medium Crown
Wire Gauge 18G 16G
Crown width 7/32” or ¼” 3/8” – ½”
Staple Length 3/8” to 1 5/8” ½” to 2”

Both provide advantages over nail guns as staples can be in certain situations more secure. While a nail is typically a singular object driven into materials, the staples provide two points of contact. For certain applications, staples can be superior compared to nails. This is particularly true when one material is softer and more flexible than the other such as fabrics and wood.

The wide crown staples are generally used for packaging and carton closing.

Crown Stapler Uses

Crown Stapler uses
The stapler guns are widely used in woodworking, building furniture, cabinetry, construction, etc. The most common use of crown stapler is the upholstery work. In addition to securing upholstery to wood, you can also use a crown staple to create bent laminations. A bent-lamination is when you laminate together thin strips of wood and then bend or curve them for use on chairs. While the strips are glued together, you can better secure them by using a crown stapler as the glue dries.

Another common use of a crown stapler is to secure the backs of picture frames to hold both the image and the protective glass in place. The staple offers enough depth to secure the miter joints from behind providing excellent holding force without compromising the appearance. I always recommend using a stapler instead of of a nail gun for picture frames.
In addition, you’ll see crown staplers used to create or repair cabinets and drawers. In fact, you may be surprised at the number of uses found with this tool until you start using it.

What is a Narrow Crown Stapler Used for?

A narrow crown stapler is used for finer applications compared to a medium-size stapler. You will normally find a narrow crown stapler used for the following.

  • Cabinets
  • Assemble Drawers
  • Install roof fascia and soffits
  • Fix sheet goods on wood or plastic
  • Install thin Trim and moldings

Plus, any application of a similar size is better suited for the narrow crown stapler. Admittedly, when it comes to appearance and usage, the differences between a medium and a narrow crown stapler are subtle at best. They are generally the same shape and are handled in the same way. The only real difference is in the holding power which depends on the size of the projects for which they are used.

Nail vs Staple

Staples are generally superior to nails when it comes to fastening fabrics and leather to wood. This is because the fabrics tend to pull at places around the nails. Over time, the tendency is for the fabric to tear itself apart when nails are used unless the nails have full round heads and are closely spaced.
Brad nailer vs crown stapler comparison.
A staple offers essentially two nails or points of contact with a bridge of material between the two legs. This means a lesser tendency for the fabric or leather to tear. Plus, staples can be placed further apart compared to nails. This makes them more economic to use compared to nails.

And depending on the application, staples may be easier to pull and replace. This is because the head of the staple is exposed, so you can slip in a tool designed to remove the staplers.

Nails are more difficult to remove, especially if they have been fully driven and sunk into the surface. However, this does highlight the downside of using staples. They are only meant to secure materials that are not exposed. In other words, the back of picture frames and the underside of chairs and sofas, and other hidden areas.

Using them on exposed surfaces such as securing crown molding for example would reveal the staples themselves for an uncomplimentary appearance unless you are using a narrow crown stapler.

Crown Stapler for Roofing

Can you use a staple gun for roofing shingles? You need to check your local building codes to verify this. A lot of hurricane-affected areas now do not allow the use of staples for installing roofing shingles.
Contrary to popular belief, staples were banned not because of the lack of strength. In my experience, the crown staples provide equal or more strength than the same gauge nails. However, there are two problems with staples. First is the improper installation. They are easy to overdrive and to get the best result you need to drive the staples perpendicular. Secondly, the crown portion of the staple is exposed to moisture and heat continuously. This may cause the staples to rust and ultimately making them weak.

Development of Stapler Gun

Staples themselves do not date nearly as far back compared to nails. Staples were not invented until the 18th century. And even then, no one knows their origins. All that is known is that Louis XV of France used staples to secure his documents and decrees together. It appears that some unknown artisan was responsible for creating the staple.

Staples did not advance until the middle of the 19th century when George McGill received a patent for his invention, a bendable brass fastener for paper. McGill followed his invention with the single-stroke staple press. And it was not long before staples were being used in a wide variety of applications.

However, the origins of the crown stapler did not occur until after World War II. The invention of the nail gun led directly to the creation of the staple gun which used larger, more secure metals compared to those that fastened paper together. It was not long before the crown stapler was being used in all sorts of construction and manufacturing applications.

Closing Thoughts

A crown stapler is a lightweight tool that offers an inexpensive way of fastening thin material to wood and plastic. It is best to check with the manufacturer’s instructions to see what size staples are used, so you can choose the right one for the job that you are performing.