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Old 05-06-2006, 08:04 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1962 16' Bambi
1960 22' Safari
New York , New York
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 44
Oh no! I drilled my holes to big. What now?

Well, I'd like to start this post with 3 words. Rivet Removal Tool. From Aircraft Tool Supply. I ordered it this week after really struggling with about 2 thirds of the perimeter exterior rivets on my '62 Bambi which I'm preparing to remove the shell of. This tool makes centering the drill bit and not drilling too deep a snap although it's taken some experimentation to operate correctly as it comes with no tips, tricks, or instructions.

Meanwhile, having now drilled out most of the other third so effectively I now have realized with shock and dismay that I was drilling out the others with too big a drill bit as I was frequently off center and they wouldn't pop off so I just kept getting larger and larger. With the removal tool I was using a #30 bit and just barely poking through when the heads would pop off. Without it my previous holes are slightly larger than a #22 bit.

These are for my exterior skin rivets. Am I totally hosed? Do I now use larger rivets for replacement and if so are the heads not going to match my existing ones? Bummer. FWIW I've only done the very bottom row of rivets around the bottom edge of the trailer. I wish I'd spent more time in the forums BEFORE the drilling. You guys are so full of awesome information. (Like about that rivet removal tool!)


Steve H.

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Old 05-06-2006, 08:18 AM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
Mansfield , Texas
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You just have to use larger rivets.

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Old 05-06-2006, 08:26 AM   #3
Site Team
, Minnesota
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Not a problem. The original rivets were 1/8" modified Brazier Head rivets. If you replace with 5/32" Universal Head rivets they have the same head size.

In fact you may want to drill them out to #21.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:44 PM   #4
2 Rivet Member
1962 16' Bambi
1960 22' Safari
New York , New York
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 44

Thanks for the comforting advice. And the detailed info about the drill sizes and rivet head sizes. Huge help. Huge relief.

Steve H.
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Old 05-06-2006, 03:18 PM   #5
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Correction to my previous post. The original rivets are Brazier Head, 1/8" rivet, with a head diameter of 0.312". The Modified Brasier Head 5/32" rivet has a head diameter of 0.312", as does the Universal Head 5/32". The Universal Head rivet stands a little "taller", but I haven't been able to tell the difference.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:10 PM   #6
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1954 22' Flying Cloud
1954 25' Cruiser
2005 25' International CCD
Paradise , Texas
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Mark is right. I'm using the universal head 5/32" and you really have to compare the two to notice the difference. I've drilled the originals out with a #30 and now that I'm putting the panels on I'm redrilling the hole with a #21. Seems like there is no end to the number of rivets yet to go.
Paul Mayeux
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Old 05-06-2006, 10:38 PM   #7
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1960 24' Tradewind
santa barbara , California
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When you buck the rivits in place they will be expanded anyway and tighten in the hole as they are set.There is no need to worry.

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Old 05-30-2006, 06:26 PM   #8
1991 25' Excella
Sapulpa , Oklahoma
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You might want to try the rivets on some metal to see how they work. It is quite simple.
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Old 05-30-2006, 08:40 PM   #9
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1971 21' Globetrotter
Arvada , Colorado
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Hi guys I'm still looking for my first Airstream but I've been an Aircraft sheetmetal mechanic for many, many years. I would'nt venture a guess as to the number of rivets I've shot in the last 35 years. If any one needs any tips all you need to do is ask, I'd be glad to help.

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