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Making rivets


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I've had no luck finding a local supplier of rivets for a project I'm building.  So I guess l'lol have to make them as well.

the rivets are half inch shank and I have 3 but need 20+.  So I found a ball bearing with a matching size to the rivet head and made a forming tool.

Now I tried a few things but had no luck in holding the stock without slipping whilst trying to peen and form a head.  How do you guys mak you rivets and what do you use?

 

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Split bolster.

Two bits of flat clamped or tacked together.  Drill down the centre join of the flats the diameter of your rivet and flat bottom the hole at the depth you require. Clamp in leg vice with rivet material in place but raised a few millimetres out. Heat with gas torch, initially drive down with a heavy flat faced hammer, to upset and establish shoulders, and then form with the rivet snap you show.

Flat size for a Ø1/2" , use say 2"x1" or even 11/2" X 3/4" or 1"x1/2" would do as you only have a few to make. The heavier the section the better the heat sink. Smaller section flat just quench more often. I usually use 2:1 profile so I can tack weld them together (which forms a square) so I can hold and drill them in the self-centring four jaw chuck of the lathe. Before I had such things, just clamping and drilling accurately with a hand drill worked fine...the drill bit tends to follow the joint.

You can flat bottom the hole by grinding the same size drill flat ended. You might get away by using a short section of Ø1/2" in the bottom of the hole. I often drill the bolster deeper and then use different size filler pieces to set the lengths for different rivets. But I always flat bottom the hole even when using a filler.

If I am making hand made rivets I do not try and emulate machine made round heads. I either leave them as a thick pan head from the flat faced hammer, or I make them five clout with a short polished punch (effectively a mini flatter). It depends what the project calls for. That way you can celebrate any wobble! :)

Alan

ps I think I have posted some photographs of my split bolsters on here before, I do not know if they are still available, try a search.

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Found the photos of my split bolster variation...and in the same folder was a useful guide to riveting, especially pointing out the danger of using a ball pein instead of a flat hammer to initiate the process which may be of interest to some.

Alan

split bolsters.jpg

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I have been enjoying demos on you tube of many different methods of riveting.  I have manufactured a number of different tools to assist.

I have found that the hub-bub of rivet making has become so overly complex I contemplated how to make them in the most simplest form. I have come to the conclusion that drawing them like a nail from larger stock (obviously round and no taper/point) is so simple I have to wonder if anyone else does this. I employ the shouldering method of nail production. If you don't know shouldering method, you may be lost on this topic.  A simple header just like a nail header (obviously round hole, not square) is employed to head said rivet. The head can be made to any shape or leave it flat.

If the rivet must be longer than what you want to draw-out then you are out of luck, but honestly I don't make too many rivets longer than an inch or three. I have to upset the stock to make real long rivets, but they are more of a "pin" not a rivet.

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2 hours ago, SReynolds said:

I have come to the conclusion that drawing them like a nail from larger stock (obviously round and no taper/point) is so simple I have to wonder if anyone else does this. I employ the shouldering method of nail production. If you don't know shouldering method, you may be lost on this topic.  A simple header just like a nail header (obviously round hole, not square) is employed to head said rivet. The head can be made to any shape or leave it flat.

Yes, others do, Joseph Stokes shows this method in one of his training manuals when forging a pair of tongs.  As the only time I forge rivets, is for a 1 inch wide head on a 1/2 inch body, I'm too lazy to use this method :-)  Works great on smaller rivets.

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He uses that method for tongs???? OK, but when making tongs doesn't everyone make the rivet in the tongs? I mean, you don't make a rivet before hand. You just score a section of the proper sized round stock (to the length you'd need per the tongs) heat the tongs and round stock at same time, place the round stock into the two holes, break it free from the parent material and head the exposed end of stock while at heat. The bottom half of said tong is held over (onto) a bolster plate, so the bottom of the rivet isn't upset yet. Do that after you upset the first end.

I guess that is another method to manufacture a rivet, but you's have to have stock to place the round stock and (soon to become) rivet into.

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1 hour ago, SReynolds said:

You just score a section of the proper sized round stock (to the length you'd need per the tongs) heat the tongs and round stock at same time, place the round stock into the two holes, break it free from the parent material and head the exposed end of stock while at heat. The bottom half of said tong is held over (onto) a bolster plate, so the bottom of the rivet isn't upset yet. Do that after you upset the first end.

The last pair of tongs I made, I upset both sides more or less simultaneously, flipping the tongs over to hammer first on one end of the rivet, then the other, then back, etc. No need for a bolster plate.

Okay, to be fair, it was only my second pair of tongs, and I would have used a bolster plate if I'd had one. Still, turned out pretty nice.

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I can picture that. but the bolster plate sets the rivet depth/protrusion. Okay, to be fair, the "Bolster Plate" is a fancy blacksmith term for a section of scrap steel of the proper thickness from which one drilled a hole into. LOL It ain't nuth'n really. 

 

I'll make you one of my patented "Bolster Plates" for rivet mak'n. Send 89.95 along with a self addressed stamped box to my e-mail address !

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5 minutes ago, SReynolds said:

 Okay, to be fair, the "Bolster Plate" is a fancy blacksmith term for a section of scrap steel of the proper thickness from which one drilled a hole into. LOL It ain't nuth'n really. 

Like a larger nut with the correct depth. :rolleyes:

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could,............but I felt better welding a hardie shank to the bottom of said plate to help prevent undesirable movement. Or use a hold fast etc. But you don't want to "peen" the hole on the bottom tong when you are working from above,  at orange heat.......I wouldn't think. Maybe if the nut has some surface area. I dunno........may not even be a factor. Never tried a nut.

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On 8/8/2016 at 12:18 PM, SReynolds said:

He uses that method for tongs???? OK, but when making tongs doesn't everyone make the rivet in the tongs? I mean, you don't make a rivet before hand. 

No, he shows starting with a bar the diameter of the head and drawing down the body to the desired size.   I think the lesson is in his workshop series, no the UN ones.

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  • 6 months later...
On 8/7/2016 at 2:06 PM, Alan Evans said:

Found the photos of my split bolster variation...and in the same folder was a useful guide to riveting, especially pointing out the danger of using a ball pein instead of a flat hammer to initiate the process which may be of interest to some.

Alan, how do you hold the split bolster together while heading the rivets? In the vise?

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44 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Alan, how do you hold the split bolster together while heading the rivets? In the vise?

Yes, either in the vice or with a snap clamp/Vise grip or Carver clamp resting the blocks on bench or anvil.   Should add that the bench in question is a 40mm (1.5") thick plate weighing 1 tonne... so bounce is minimised.

If you are really going for it...the larger rivets are done very rapidly under the power hammer. You can even use a press in a pinch (sorry)

It needs very little to hold the two halves together, the riveting force is down not sideways. It is important to flat bottom drill the holes.

I have the rivet blank inserted but not fully, then I heat the head plus a bit,  the first push seats the rivet to full depth and leaves only hot metal exposed for upsetting.

Alan

 

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  • 4 years later...

Good Morning Thomas,

If you look at the date of the previous post, it was February 2017. You may or may not get a reply.

If you are wondering how to make a Bolster, there are many ways and many different materials to use. Start with K.I.S.S., what material do you have available in your workshop? That will work!!. It doesn't have to be "xyza", it will be cold and your rivet material will be hot. The hot material will deform before the cold material thinks of moving. Look for simple solutions for your maybe expected problems. Yes, you can use any Forge, Hammer, Tongs, Bolster, etc. that you may have available. There are no 'Tool Police'. Make sure you are wearing sufficient PPE, clothing, shoes/boots, ears and eyes, no children in close proximity!!

Enjoy the Journey, there is no Destination!!

Enter your location in your Avatar, there may be help close at hand.

Neil

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