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Hello everyone,

 

I am very green to metalwork.  I have a question regarding one of the most basic tasks, riveting.  I am making a white oak door for a neighbor.  She wants it to look like something from Tolkien, and I'm excited because it challenges me to learn a lot fast.  The door has a full radius top, and I would like to fasten the doors parts with rivets.  

 

Is this a task where the cold rivet comes into play?  I have a bunch of wrought iron gate parts I could use, and it seems to move easy enough.   

 

What is the proper way to rivet wood without scorching it?  Thanks for any advise/experience.

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Are you sure you want rivets? Or are you wanting square headed forged nails that are clinched on the back? I know many of the older buildings in Charleston have heavy wood doors that have hundreds of clinched nails in them.

 

If you are truly wanting rivets then you will need some type of heavy washers on both side of the wood, or you could use iron straps on one or both sides instead of washers. Rivets can be made by hand. But I would recommend buying commercial rivets, If you set them by hand with out a header tool they will look rustic. A lot of rivets can be set cold, This would involve drilling or punching holes in the items you wish to join, placing the rivet in the hole, then resting the formed head on a anvil and hammering the opposite side until it mushrooms out into a rivet head.

When I say anvil I am not only talking about a typical american anvil, your anvil can be as simple as a 1/2inch plate of steel laying flat on a concrete floor.

 

 McMaster Carr sell boxs of rivets in many sizes, It sounds like you would be looking for solid domed head rivets.

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I'm thinking Tolkienesk architecture items would run the full gambit. Elvish wouldn't have metal involved, wood pegs, dovetails an such joinery. Dwarvish on the other hand would be iron heavy and nice square headed wood screws would fit perfectly. Hobbitish would probably involve both but lean towards wood. Nice inconspicuous nails would I think fit their style but brass and bronze is in character too.

 

I'd go with square headed wood screws, it'd require removing any galvy or they'd be too conspicuous, all shiny like that. A bath in dilute acid is easy and fast, vinegar fine works but takes longer. Then warm them up and cook on linseed oil or paint them semi gloss black.

 

Of course that's my taste best ask the customer what she likes. Make drawings, samples, etc. so you'll both know what you're getting . . .into.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thank you for the link Andy, it's gong in the book. . . well, it's already in the book. Great resource!

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Thanks everyone.  You have saved me considerable time and surface damage to this project.

I have about two pounds of old cut nails, from houses I've worked on, that I'll be picking through to pound and clinch the panels with.  There will be six rivets in the radius top that I will match to some pyramid decorative screws used in the rail and stile joints.  

I appreciate the enthusiasm, too!

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Before you hammer any cut nails through fine wood I would highly recommend taking some scrap wood and attempting to nail and clinch in the scrap wood a few times. Many cut nails are made much to hard to clinch. Clinch nails are normally very thin at the tip and soft, A tapered hole is drilled through the wood and then the nail is hammer though. The thin soft tip is then bent over and clinched back into the wood

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If the cut nails you have are too hard to clinch, try normalizing or even annealing the ends. Just heat a couple to red on the ends and let them cool in air. Then test them again. It's a "might work, can't hurt" situation, nothing to lose but a few minutes.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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https://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/page.php?theLocation=/Resources/Product/hardware/Pyramid_Head_-_Diamond_style_-_L.xml/

 

Traditional Tolkeinesque appearance and a speedy installation.  Depending on the thickness of the door, you could use these babies and  nobody would ever know they weren't pyramid-finished rivet heads. 

 

If the door is rather thin, you can offset the holes for the screws by a hair or two so that opposing screws just barely miss each other.  The casual glance wouldn't notice such a small difference.

 

And just so they don't look too "factory made" take a hammer to them.  A few light taps will given them a unique look, then throw them in the fire so that the finish is burned off.  You want them to age naturally with the rest of the metal.

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Mudd nails for horse shoeing looks good in wood also dinging up the head with the ballpeen on carriage bolts is a quick easy way. Acorn nuts or forge yer own nuts and only drill and tap 3/4's of the way through or weld nuts on the backside of clavoses

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Im tired, can't tell if that paragraph sounded right or if i sounded like a kindergartener with adha

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Don't worry about writing a weird sounding sentence or post now and then. We're used to folk from Cave Creek. <snicker>

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Greetings Bryan,

 

Ok time for my 2 cents worth....

 

Cold rivet.. round head....

 

Make a plate aprox  6 in in diameter  1/2 thick   ....  sink a ball bearing into it to form a flat rivet set the same size as you rivet...  Drill your holes in the door put the rivet in and place the door horizontally over the rivet set with the rivet in the set..  Best on the anvil or very hard surface...   Find an aircraft style air craft air hammer and chisel to match...   RAP RAP RAP RAP    DONE DEAL.... 

 

 

Clinched nail with formed head..

 

Use a horseshoe nail Diamond head..... Put the nail through a common square nut....  Mig weld  to a crown....  Forge on the anvil to taste....

You now have a decorative head with a thin  shank that will clinch easy...

 

I have done both in the past and has worked well....   Good luck         Jim

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