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Old 02-14-2015, 06:40 PM   #1
Rivet Master
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,513
Best Blind Rivet?

Pop rivets are pretty good but not suitable for the exterior of our Airstreams. They don't seal well and have the ugly hole in them. Solid rivets are best but are labor intensive, and not practical if you don't have access to the back side.

I need a better blind rivet for exterior repairs and patches on the Airstream. Why can they make a Pop rivet where the mandrel snaps above the rivet head like an Olympic? It would be quite a bit stronger. Surely someone makes a rivet like this.

I have not been impressed with the tri-grip "Olympic" style rivets. I consider them decorative rivets. They are designed for plastics and brittle materials. The three legs spread the clamp load so the material doesn't crack. They aren't all that strong. Good for filling a hole.

I've read about closed end rivets used in marine applications. They seal good, but aren't the strongest 5/32 rivet on the block. They are about the same as the Olympic for strength, and they have an open hole when the mandrel pops.

I also read about Cherry Q aviation rivets. They seal, they have a smooth, round head. They are stronger than the standard Pop rivet. But they have limited grip range and are hard to remove. Has anyone tried these?


PS Hansen Rivets has a good website.

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Old 02-14-2015, 06:50 PM   #2
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1960 33' Custom
Saskatoon , Saskatchewan
Join Date: Jun 2005
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David, Cherry rivet come in pretty much every length, grip and material you could wish for. I've used the all aluminum variant on wing repairs and they work great, our cost was $5 a rivet so I kind of dread to think how much they'd run for a home repair project. The "regular" Cherry max with the steel mandrel and hardened steel locking ring takes some practice to drill & punch (or zip disc) out and I'd steer a non professional away from they as you could be looking at a world of hurt when removal goes south on you. If the $5 a pop does't scare you too much the part number shouldn't be hard to find, shout if you need a hand looking it up.

1960 Sovereign 33' Pacific Railroad Custom
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Old 02-15-2015, 05:28 AM   #3
Rivet Master
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1986 34' Limited
1966 24' Tradewind
Conifer , Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,513
Thank you for sharing your experience with the aviation grade Cherry rivets. I was looking at the Cherry Q which is aluminum rivet with an aluminum mandrel. But it still has the hardened locking ring and is suppose to break the mandrel flush with the rivet head. It would be hard to drill out. It is not a shaveable rivet. But it does have more structural strength than an "Olympic" rivet.

I believe I saw the cost of these rivets in the range of $35 per pack of 50. I'll check again. The Olympic tri-grip rivet is also in this price range. The Cherrymax rivet is very expensive. That one rivals the strength of the solid rivet and is approved for airframe repairs, so it is worth the cost in certain applications.

I wish I could find an all aluminum Pop rivet where the mandrel broke above the rivet head. It might be a stronger rivet, it might seal as good as an Olympic, and it might be shaveable. I haven't seen anything like that yet. But the Cherry Q is getting close.

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