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Old 03-30-2021, 09:56 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lenoir City , TN
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Buck rivets, gun and compressor question

Hello! New to owning an AS, recently purchased a gutted '72 Sovereign. We want to get the appropriate tools to replace the rivets as we start our reno, but aren't sure where to start. Any guidance is appreciated as far as where to buy the buck rivets, type of rivet gun and air compressor size, etc. This is already a bit daunting but we're up for a challenge!
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Old 03-31-2021, 08:57 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsonJael View Post
Hello! New to owning an AS, recently purchased a gutted '72 Sovereign. We want to get the appropriate tools to replace the rivets as we start our reno, but aren't sure where to start. Any guidance is appreciated as far as where to buy the buck rivets, type of rivet gun and air compressor size, etc. This is already a bit daunting but we're up for a challenge!
Welcome aboard, to use buck rivets you'll have to be stripped down to the bare metal for one to hammer the other to receive.....so are you really looking to use buck rivets?

For blind rivets, the Milwaukee M12 battery operated gun $335 has rave reviews, I just recently bought one. I know the factory uses Popcap guns that are around $800. Some use the hand rivet gun...but since it can slide and skid if done wrong, risks scratching the surface if you don't have sure control over it.

This topic does come up, and you could search to see what others think also. I went with the Milwaukee based on some of those threads I read here.

Lots of helpful people here, others will chime in as well.
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Old 03-31-2021, 09:31 AM   #3
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1956 22' Caravanner
Don Pedro Island , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarsonJael View Post
Hello! New to owning an AS, recently purchased a gutted '72 Sovereign. We want to get the appropriate tools to replace the rivets as we start our reno, but aren't sure where to start. Any guidance is appreciated as far as where to buy the buck rivets, type of rivet gun and air compressor size, etc. This is already a bit daunting but we're up for a challenge!
Welcome...check out the forums trailer section...you can then see who did what and even start your own page.

As for tools go to https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com They have almost everything you need. Prices are fair and there service is great.

https://vintagetrailersupply.com/ext...and-fasteners/

You do not need to spend 800$ on a rivet tool.
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Old 03-31-2021, 06:34 PM   #4
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lenoir City , TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Welcome aboard, to use buck rivets you'll have to be stripped down to the bare metal for one to hammer the other to receive.....so are you really looking to use buck rivets?

For blind rivets, the Milwaukee M12 battery operated gun $335 has rave reviews, I just recently bought one. I know the factory uses Popcap guns that are around $800. Some use the hand rivet gun...but since it can slide and skid if done wrong, risks scratching the surface if you don't have sure control over it.

This topic does come up, and you could search to see what others think also. I went with the Milwaukee based on some of those threads I read here.

Lots of helpful people here, others will chime in as well.
We did buy a rivet gun that does "pop" rivets. I was under the impression these aren't as strong. Is that not the case? I appreciate the input.
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by CarsonJael View Post
We did buy a rivet gun that does "pop" rivets. I was under the impression these aren't as strong. Is that not the case? I appreciate the input.
I'm sure strength does come in play, but for the sake of the question....if you look at the outside of the airstream, those are buck rivets and they are "smooth" and nice to look at.....there are no "pop" rivets on the outside...so for the exterior, buck rivets are used...you will also hear about Olympic rivets being used on the outside and then "shaved down" to make them "look" like buck rivets...so you don't have to take the interior apart to do the buck rivet process....(or at least that is my understanding of the why choose one over the other)...so this is a choice option....but there are also videos showing Olympic rivets leaking like a siv if you don't also use a sealant to close any gaps in the riveting process.

The inside of the unit (at least in my 2019) they use mandrel blind pop rivets on all the panels.

So it comes down to.......are you doing work now that requires all of this or are you trying to "get ahead of the curve"....is the question.

Don't get me wrong....I'm a tool guy.....have to have what it needs to build and repair my toys.....but in this case.....it took me 2 years to get a "proper" rivet gun.....why? Because the need is few and far between.....but then again...I'm not restoring or reworking at this point....so my use case my be different than yours.

Unless you're chasing a leak, doing a body panel replacement or have popped rivets on the inside......it may be wise to review what others have experienced here and then "acquire as you go".....
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:11 AM   #6
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For buck riveting on an Airstream you'll want a 3x gun, mine is a USTools brand. For the air compressor if it's just for this project and with a 110V supply pretty much anything will be fine, even a $100 pancake compressor from someone like Porter Cable with a CFM around 3, but note that drilling rivets off generally uses much more air (CFM) than riveting. I have a Makita (around $450) which sticks to the 110V supply but produced IIRC around 6.4 CFM which is handy but not necessary. If you have other air powered desires like soda blasting, a lot of die grinding etc consider a 220V beast but I found I didn't use it enough and went back to small machines. Hope that helps :-)
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:09 AM   #7
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I checked the site for awnings fabric , saw swatches - but could not find buying fabric ?



Quote:
Originally Posted by islandtrader View Post
Welcome...check out the forums trailer section...you can then see who did what and even start your own page.

As for tools go to https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com They have almost everything you need. Prices are fair and there service is great.

https://vintagetrailersupply.com/ext...and-fasteners/

You do not need to spend 800$ on a rivet tool.
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:37 AM   #8
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Hey Jael,

Ihave recently finished my 68 rebuild and have a good pneumatic rivet gun that works like a charm. I can send you info if your interested in buying. Save youself some money. Tool was used very little.

Cheers
Eric
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Old 04-07-2021, 10:41 PM   #9
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1972 31' Sovereign
Lenoir City , TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cohosafari View Post
Hey Jael,

Ihave recently finished my 68 rebuild and have a good pneumatic rivet gun that works like a charm. I can send you info if your interested in buying. Save youself some money. Tool was used very little.

Cheers
Eric
Sure send me a message with the info
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Old 04-09-2021, 12:00 PM   #10
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Sure thing

I will get back with the information shortly. Heading out for the weekend in the Coho.
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Old 04-12-2021, 12:00 PM   #11
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Hey Carson,
Here is a link of the impact rivet gun I mentioned. https://www.wicksaircraft.com/shop/3x-rivet-gun-set/
I used it maybe for 10 rivets and it works great. I will sell it for $100 plus what ever the shipping comes out to be. Let me know. I would also recommend a pnuematic rivet gun for any pop rivets you are going to replace. Much easier on your hands if you are doing a lot. I got one from Harbor Freight and it works great. It might be easier to email: mcbriggelroys@gmail.com
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:38 PM   #12
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1963 30' Sovereign
Alden , MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
Welcome aboard, to use buck rivets you'll have to be stripped down to the bare metal for one to hammer the other to receive.....so are you really looking to use buck rivets?

For blind rivets, the Milwaukee M12 battery operated gun $335 has rave reviews, I just recently bought one. I know the factory uses Popcap guns that are around $800. Some use the hand rivet gun...but since it can slide and skid if done wrong, risks scratching the surface if you don't have sure control over it.

This topic does come up, and you could search to see what others think also. I went with the Milwaukee based on some of those threads I read here.

Lots of helpful people here, others will chime in as well.
So I'm trying to understand this. Will the Milwaukee rivet gun do buck rivets (assuming you have someone with a bucking bar on the back side) or is it only good for pop rivets? We bought our gutted 1963 Sovereign a few weeks after Carson, so we are in the same place of figuring out what we will need. I know that we will need to do buck rivets for installing missing compartment doors, fill empty rivet holes, etc. and we know we will need to do pop rivets for putting the interior walls back up and the floor pan back on. We have a compressor, but the electric rivet gun sounds much nicer.
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Old 04-14-2021, 05:29 AM   #13
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So I'm trying to understand this. Will the Milwaukee rivet gun do buck rivets (assuming you have someone with a bucking bar on the back side) or is it only good for pop rivets? We bought our gutted 1963 Sovereign a few weeks after Carson, so we are in the same place of figuring out what we will need. I know that we will need to do buck rivets for installing missing compartment doors, fill empty rivet holes, etc. and we know we will need to do pop rivets for putting the interior walls back up and the floor pan back on. We have a compressor, but the electric rivet gun sounds much nicer.
The M12 is for pop rivets only and supports 4 sizes with a mandrel catch, a buck rivet gun uses impact against the buck bar to compress the rivet.

I just used my M12 this weekend on a missing interior rivet that was under the sofa/dinette area under the front window. The hardest part was drilling out the 1/8" old rivet head without scratching the surface.

We've had 3 interior pop rivets fail thus far in 2.5 years of ownership...not bad considering....and the fact that it is battery powered and I can fix anything inside on the road is a plus. The M12 is very solid...and like any Milwaukee tool....highly regarded.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittmaster View Post
The M12 is for pop rivets only and supports 4 sizes with a mandrel catch, a buck rivet gun uses impact against the buck bar to compress the rivet.

I just used my M12 this weekend on a missing interior rivet that was under the sofa/dinette area under the front window. The hardest part was drilling out the 1/8" old rivet head without scratching the surface.

We've had 3 interior pop rivets fail thus far in 2.5 years of ownership...not bad considering....and the fact that it is battery powered and I can fix anything inside on the road is a plus. The M12 is very solid...and like any Milwaukee tool....highly regarded.
So for buck rivets we need a compressor driven rivet gun? Is that right? Trying to figure out what we are needing. Just got a deal on a used M12 rivet gun on FB Marketplace. But other than a couple little things like pop riveting the door latch in the door, we are going to be doing buck rivets first.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by wagvan View Post
So for buck rivets we need a compressor driven rivet gun? Is that right? Trying to figure out what we are needing. Just got a deal on a used M12 rivet gun on FB Marketplace. But other than a couple little things like pop riveting the door latch in the door, we are going to be doing buck rivets first.
I have yet to see an electric version of buck rivet gun....so yes, compressor driven. This seems to be a pretty good starter set:

https://smile.amazon.com/Rivets-Buck...irect=1&sr=8-1

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-15-2021, 06:51 PM   #16
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Originally Posted by Cohosafari View Post
Hey Carson,
Here is a link of the impact rivet gun I mentioned. https://www.wicksaircraft.com/shop/3x-rivet-gun-set/
I used it maybe for 10 rivets and it works great. I will sell it for $100 plus what ever the shipping comes out to be. Let me know. I would also recommend a pnuematic rivet gun for any pop rivets you are going to replace. Much easier on your hands if you are doing a lot. I got one from Harbor Freight and it works great. It might be easier to email: mcbriggelroys@gmail.com
I sent you an email
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Old 04-19-2021, 06:44 PM   #17
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I am in need of a 3X rivet gun for buck riveting a skin
I am replacing back on my 72 ambassador. Does anyone still have one for sale? jeepcross@gmail.com
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