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Old 01-25-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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DIY tool for cold rivets?

New here. I don't own an airstream, but someone from the International Harvester Scout forums thought this might be a more appropriate audience to ask my question.

I recently bought some copper (rounded heads) and small nickel looking (not nickel, not sure what, flat head) solid cold rivet style rivets for a project inside my rig - I also bought some tubular rivets as well. I like the look of these rivets far better than the crappy pop rivet style. The rivets I got are basically for cosmetic, though they should offer some support. Anyways, I have been looking online and I'm not sure what tool I need - perhaps a bucking bar to hold the finished end, but what is need for smashing the other end down to give either a flat or round head look? Also, any way to DIY the tool for both the solid and tubular style rivets? Cash is kind of tight. Thanks!!
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Old 01-25-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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This type of rivet (copper) is used to make harness and head gear for horses. You will need an anvil (something to pound against) or a press of some kind that has an anvil with a depression in it that fits the round rivet head.
I use this type of rivet on a regular basis. The round head rivets, in my case a steel alloy. And flat head copper rivets for harness work.
The length of the rivet relative to the thickness of the material(s) you are fastening is important. With the rivet head tight against one side the opposite end of the rivet should protrude no more than 3 times the diameter of the rivet shank.
If you want a perfect rivet head shape on both sides of the material a press is the best way to proceed. Whereby both ends of the rivet are in the appropriate die installed on the anvil and punch side of the press.
If you can get by with only one side that looks good and the other is hidden or out of sight you can use a ball peen hammer to create the rivet head on the opposite end. You use the round head of the ball peen hammer to begin to peen the rivet shank out to form the head. You will still need an anvil on the other end of the rivet (something heavy to pound against) that has a die which matches the factory head of the rivet. The die prevents distortion of the factory head when you pound on the opposite end of the rivet to compress it and join the material.
I'm sure there are videos on the Internet showing the methods used with this type of rivet.
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Old 01-25-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by TG Twinkie View Post
This type of rivet (copper) is used to make harness and head gear for horses. You will need an anvil (something to pound against) or a press of some kind that has an anvil with a depression in it that fits the round rivet head.
I use this type of rivet on a regular basis. The round head rivets, in my case a steel alloy. And flat head copper rivets for harness work.
The length of the rivet relative to the thickness of the material(s) you are fastening is important. With the rivet head tight against one side the opposite end of the rivet should protrude no more than 3 times the diameter of the rivet shank.
If you want a perfect rivet head shape on both sides of the material a press is the best way to proceed. Whereby both ends of the rivet are in the appropriate die installed on the anvil and punch side of the press.
If you can get by with only one side that looks good and the other is hidden or out of sight you can use a ball peen hammer to create the rivet head on the opposite end. You use the round head of the ball peen hammer to begin to peen the rivet shank out to form the head. You will still need an anvil on the other end of the rivet (something heavy to pound against) that has a die which matches the factory head of the rivet. The die prevents distortion of the factory head when you pound on the opposite end of the rivet to compress it and join the material.
I'm sure there are videos on the Internet showing the methods used with this type of rivet.


Thanks! I appreciate your response. Do I need a die if the heads of the rivets I use are flat? Would using a block of aluminum alloy, drilled/dremeled out to match the factory head be sufficient as a bucking block/anvil?

Also, I picked up some tubular rivets, but not sure how to compress those. Is it basically the same as the steps above, or how do you get the rivet to roll over? Thanks again!
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:15 PM   #4
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I have no experience with the tubular rivets. A flat anvil will work on the flat head rivets. I would recommend something heavier than aluminum. The laws of physics "a body at rest tends to stay at rest"
I would also recommend that you. Practice, practice, practice.
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