Thursday, January 31, 2013

How To Tighten Rivets At Home

You dont buy a tool unless you plan to use it.  Or unless you are like me and simply buy tools because you never know when you'll need it.  I have tools I have only used once in 10 or 20 years even. But the moment I get rid of the tool...I'll need it.

For me a Hand Squeeze Riveter was a no brainer.  For some people its an unjustified expense.  And its not cheap.  So I set to finding the easiest and cheapest way for everyone to save tighten their figures.  I tried several methods.  Made different tools and it doesnt get any easier/cheaper than this.

Tools:  1 small Ball Bearing.  A standard BB will do.
            A small flat piece of steel.  A butter knife/table knife/steak knife
            Butter/grease/honey or something similar.
            I medium set of Pliers
            1 vise

Directions:  Put a dab of butter/grease or whatever you use in the CRUSHED end of the rivet.  Place the ball bearing on the crushed end of the rivet and lightly press down to seat the bearing on the rivet.  The butter helps keep the ball bearing from falling out.
 Place you knife of choice or any other thin flat piece of metal you have in the vise. I used my measuring spoon.  Place the limb you wish to rivet,  with the head of the rivet upon the flat surface of your knife blade.  The ball bearing should be on top.  The vise is used to hold the steel to free up your hands and make it less awkward.  More talented people might be able to get away without one.  I have a vise.  So I use it.
Using Pliers gently squeeze ball bearing and bottom of the flat piece of steel of your choice.  Squeeze.  Just a little.  Dont overdo it.  You need to get the feel of how much pressure you need to apply.  Just squeeze a little bit and then check the movement.   If its not enough, you can always squeeze it again.  If you over squeeze you cant loosen the rivet.  You would have to drill out the rivet and start over. The flat steel protects the head of the rivet from getting marked up by the pliers and the ball bearing does the same on the crushed side as well as it provides even pressure on the rivet. 

Test Tightness.  Repeat if necessary.  Wipe of the butter and play.  :-)

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