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Old 12-05-2017, 06:14 PM   #1
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Rivet gun purchase

I am involved in a shell off renovation and will need to rivet at some point. Was hoping for advice on what tools to buy. Considering Harbor Freight air hydraulic riveter as pictured below. They sell 1/4" ($69.99) and 3/16" ($39.99). Would I need the 1/4" for any Airstream use or can I get away with the cheaper one?
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Also came across these on Craigslist but am not sure if this would be a good purchase. Seller is listing all for $350 or just the air riveter for $60...should I jump on that?
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:09 PM   #2
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Cheaper should work fine
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Old 12-05-2017, 07:32 PM   #3
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I'm not aware of any 1/4" diameter rivets in the Airstream. I have a 3/16" riveter and use it all the time. It is for pulling "pop" rivets such as the belly pan and interior skins.

The exterior skins are solid rivets "bucked" tight by hammering and squishing them. The Craigslist tools appear to be air riveters for that purpose, along with the bucking bar. You need access to both sides of the rivet to install solid rivets.

Bottom line, you will likely need both tools.

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Old 12-05-2017, 08:02 PM   #4
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Rivet Tool

$350 seems a bit steep for the CL find. I love my cheap Harbor Freight rivet tool, it's gone the distance on my Full Monty
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Old 12-05-2017, 09:03 PM   #5
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I purchased this gun, good reviews, another owner recommended added a swivel air connector. The swivel really helps the right angle air input.

I have shot a lot of rivets, somewhere around 1500 rivets. 82% 5 star rating at this seller.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:18 AM   #6
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Thanks to all who responded.

Was thinking that Harbor Freight riveter could be used for pop rivets and buck rivets by exchanging the nosepiece but guess I was wrong.

So think I'll get the cheaper Harbor freight one for pop rivets (it comes with nose pieces for 3/32, 1/8, 5/32 and 3/16) and the CL one for buck rivets.
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:39 AM   #7
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The one on CL will be cumbersome and heavy. It is gross overkill. Take a look at the ones on Aircraft Spruce's website for those that are much lighter and easier to maneuver, then search for a used one on CL or ebay (or buy a new one if you like).
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Old 12-06-2017, 07:51 AM   #8
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Buck rivets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy9107 View Post
Thanks to all who responded.

Was thinking that Harbor Freight riveter could be used for pop rivets and buck rivets by exchanging the nosepiece but guess I was wrong.

So think I'll get the cheaper Harbor freight one for pop rivets (it comes with nose pieces for 3/32, 1/8, 5/32 and 3/16) and the CL one for buck rivets.

Get the Harbor Freight tool for pop, and the Vintage Trailer Supply tool for buck:

https://www.vintagetrailersupply.com...-p/vts-630.htm
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:35 PM   #9
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I bought the VTS buck riveter & it has been trouble free.
Just use it at far less air pressure than they recommend.
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:08 PM   #10
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HELP!!!!!! Lost an outside rivet on the front compartment door! Is there anyone in The Hendersonville NC area that could help a rivet-stranded Airstreamer with a rivet replacement? I have no rivets, nor rivet tools☹️ Thanks!
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Old 06-14-2018, 03:49 PM   #11
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My favorite go-to emergency tool on the road is my favorite big box home improvement store's credit card.

A decent temporary fix can be made with a hand-operated pop rivet tool and some all-aluminum pop rivets from the hardware department. A rivet tool and an assortment of pop rivets will set you back a few bucks, and is a very handy thing to keep in the AS.

For the interior, you need 1/8 shank rivets. For exterior stuff 3/16 is the usual size.

If it's wet out, a small tube of DAP vinyl caulk or a bit of Gorilla brand tape will seal out water until you can get a better repair done...
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:32 PM   #12
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ncbambi. hope you fixed your situation.

agree with rmkrum. stuff you need is likely at home improvement store. although my local Home Depot and Lowes are quite scarce with aluminum rivets. what they do have is steel. and had a tough time finding hand riveter.

Ace Hardware was a better place for these items.

As a follow up to original post. Bought the Harbor Freight air riveter and never opened the box. Ended up returning it as had no problem hand riveting hundreds of pop rivets of all sizes with a handmedown handriveter from my grandfather. Did end up buying buck rivet bar and air riveter for buck rivets however. Was not as tricky as I had thought.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:24 PM   #13
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Gee Jeremy: I bet you have a really firm handshake after popping all those rivets by hand.

My father had strong hands due to milking cows by hand at the family farm.

David
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:31 PM   #14
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Highly recommend a good rivet gun, don't waste your money at Harbor Freight....

https://aircraft-tool.com/shop/searc...ookieSupport=1

https://aircraft-tool.com/shop/searc...ORY=Rivet+Sets

https://aircraft-tool.com/shop/search.aspx

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Old 06-19-2018, 06:39 PM   #15
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I bought a rivet gun and assortment of rivets from an AS store. It’s not a power tool. That was pretty expensive. Just google airstream rivet guns. I think gun and rivets together was about $75. But for a big project I would have definitely purchased a power gun.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:42 PM   #16
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Harbor Freight Riveter

I just bought the 3/16" air hydraulic riveter. The instructions say to prime it by turning it over, removing the piston assemble and adding hydraulic oil to the top of the housing. The instructions reference #15 but there is no #15 on the illustration. How far up do I fill it? To the top of the Ait Piston Locknut on the bottom where the piston shaft goes in? The top of the whole housing or air cylinder seems way too much. Thanks in advance for your help!
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