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Old 05-10-2011, 05:10 PM   #1
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1964 19' Globetrotter
Chelsea , Michigan
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Hand hammer bucking? Am I nuts or what?

Looks like I'll have 20 or so bucked rivets to do with my current repairs underway.
I can't see spending a lot of cash on a gun.

So.... I found an antique "US Navy" bucking set with a hand hammer piece that different size/shape "heads" (look like little satellite dishes of different depths and widths with threaded screw posts) screw into. Got that for $25 and it's on the way, along with a used Cleco set for $20 and a hardened steel bucking bar for $15. I ordered the rivets from VTS.

The US Govt probably had some pretty solid tools back in the day and that hammer buck driver or whatever it's called can't really wear out, right?

Am I nuts? It appears not to be rocket science... but...

Your thoughts based on your experience are most welcome!
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:28 PM   #2
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Sounds like a cool hand set of tools! Not sure how consistent it would be? I would practice on some scrap pieces of aluminum before I would attempted on the trailer! Post some pictures!

Good Luck Todd
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:21 PM   #3
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Like any other project, usually, when you're just about done is when you get good at it. I agree with vinstream, practice enough first. And good luck.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:04 PM   #4
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Never saw such a critter, but it sounds interesting. I'd start with lots of gentle taps rather than using too much force ... a rivet gun makes lots of low-excursion, high-g impacts ... seems to me this would be hard to do with a hand hammer, but it's worth a try.
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:02 PM   #5
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Here is a photo of the set. Looks like two of the sets are for pneumatic and one is for hand hammer...
If nothing else, it's kind of cool. The box cover says US Navy and it's definitely some kind of antique!
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Old 05-10-2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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hand setting rivets

Yes setting rivets by hand is possible. I am a third generation Sheet Metal Worker ( Local #162 ) and when I started the trade in 1985 my Dad, following tradition, handed me down some of his tools to start out with as a apprentice. Of the many tools he gave me his "PEXTO" rivet set has always been something I have been proud of. Without question a air powered riveter would be my first choice to use, but over the years I have on many occasions used the "PEXTO" hand rivet set to do the small jobs. My advice would be practice, practice, practice on a scrap pc. with your bucking partner. Stay square to the rivet face with your set, stike with purpose with your hammer ( but not hard ), and get into a rythum. Also make sure that person on the bucking bar doesn't push but just holds the bar against the rivet to allow the weight of bar to do the work.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:10 PM   #7
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I have done this with soft "A" rivets. What works better is to use the "hand set" as the bucking bar on the manufactured head and strike the shank with a hammer and punch to form a bucktail. The harder the rivet the harder it is to get a bucktail before the rivet work hardens.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the suggestions!
VTS ships solid rivets by the hundreds and I only know of about 15 or 20 that will be not be visible anyway that I need to replace.
I'll practice plenty and this will be a fun way to learn.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:05 AM   #9
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i'll send ya the 20 or so rivets you need. I want to see how this plays out. If it were me, I'd find a air tool to use, I am doubtful of the results.
What length do you want?
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:55 AM   #10
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Already purchased rivets! (Gotta love these forum friends!)

That's a very kind offer but I have already ordered solid rivets in the 2 sizes VTS offers and they are on the way. I'll get plenty of practice this way and if it doesn't work out I can always get the gun. I'll definitely start with practice on scrap before I try it on the trailer. The Globetrotter has plenty of examples of bucked rivets "done right" at the factory 47 years ago so I'll have something to compare to.
I'm a little skeptical too- or I never would have posted the question!
The new tools and supplies aren't likely to be here for a week so practice, photos, and posting are all some days away.
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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The US Navy antique rivet set arrived.
The rivets arrived.
The bucking bar arrived.
My 8yr old and I did 2 test rivets in a piece of scrap stock.
Then we replaced 2 missing rivets in the edge of the doorway of the GT and...
IT WORKED! It took about a dozen strikes with the hammer on each one. He likes the hammering part so I just held the bucking bar and giggled.
The rivets really look great, front and back, and definitely not going anywhere.. Pics hopefully tomorrow...
And many thanks to fellow Airforum friends who have emailed with offers to help, loan tools, give assistance, etc.
Airforums is built of good people.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:12 AM   #12
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Realizing this is a rather old thread, I am curious as to whether any pictures were available and after the passage of some time, has the repair performed as intended? I am near deciding on a shell off floor replacement on a 1976 25' Tradewind and a consideration is reattaching the shell at the "C" channel. It appears that bucked rivets are preferable to Olympic rivets, but beyond that I have no real experience with anything except pop rivets. I like to have things thought out beforehand to minimize unintended consequences. Thanks for any insight or guidance!
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:18 AM   #13
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While hand bucking is a viable option, I would suck it up and buy the pneumatic gun and bucking bars for a shell off. To hand buck you really need to be able to get a straight shot on the tail of the rivet and the "C" channel will prevent this
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