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Ballhead-rivets top and bottom tool

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Hi to all out there,

I'm currently dealing with how to make ballhead rivets. Until now I forged a little ballend at the end of some round stock, then cut off 1" or so away from the ball to get enough mass to form the tennon part of the rivet under the powerhammer using my tennon-spring -wage.

Now I´m searching for ideas for making a springswage to make the ballend and the the shaft in one step.

Find no examples how such a tool may look, nor how to prepare, preforge the stock for such tools....


Any tips?





Greetings Sascha

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Good idea,


thanks Thomas!

Here in Germany it´s not easy to get such photos because we have no such stores :(

that's why I never got this idea...

Here what I found to the fast:

[Commercial link removed]

Edited by Mod34
Commercial link removed per TOS
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There are videos on YT about making acorn swages, a ball swage is just a simpler  version.  I've seen them for sale at Quad-State Blacksmiths Round-Up.  I've seen a number of examples of oak leaves and acorns in German smithing; I'll have to check a couple books and see if they describe the tooling.

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There are many different head configurations attached to a bolt.  Place in the hole and screw a nut to the back side of the bolt.


You may want to look up carriage bolts.


You may have to find the bolt and then adjust your design to fit that bolt.

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I have done them both ways..  Welded and with a swage.   Welded and then swaged also. 

It really depends on the shank size wanted.  Since you have a powerhammer the options are really limitless in terms of the starting stock dimensions. 

what size stock are you planning for the shank?  That will determine the easiest way. 

If you choose a stock size the shank can be drawn out some you don't need much tooling but the swage. 

If you have to upset to get the needed head size then an upsetting matrix will serve best and can also be done in the power hammer..  Depending on how much time you want to spend on tooling depends on the results you can achieve with only an upsetting matrix and a top swage designed to finish the top of the ball. 


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Here's another way. Make a ball. Drill it and countersink one end. Figure material needed to fill the countersink. Slide it on and peen it over. If your material length is correct and your hammer control is good, there should be no sign that it was made from two pieces. If it's for outside and to be painted, if there is a "cold shut" line, it will be covered.

Also, there are a number of places in germany that produce production forged details for fabricators. Some are top notch. Check them out.

I can't tell you how many grapes I've made simply with my hand hammer and over the edge of the anvil.. No dies needed to do this type of detail.  

If I were to want a top and bottom swedge for this job, I would approach it from the opposite direction. I would hand forge the ball. No matter how you do it, upsetting to forge the ball by hand must be done. A top/bottom tool only cleans it up. So, I would hand forge like making a grape. I would make a set of things that would hold the ball. I would then use my tenon making top and bottom tool to forge the shaft to dimension. I would then use a special monkey tool to dress the transition from ball to tenon. Below are 3 of my tenon tools. The long one goes from 5/8" to 5/16". The one in the middle facing us goes from 3)8"-3/16", and the one on the left is a single hole for 1" tenon's. And the last is an unfinished bending fork that goes in my vise. The dies are made from W-1, the springs are from old buggy springs, and the bending fork is from new grader blade.

2016-09-06 11.55.44.JPG

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I lost my edit time, so new post.

I don't think you can do what you want with a single spring swedge. I believe there is too much material to move. My tools above are in 1/16" increments. If I try to swedge down more than that, the tenon material moves sideways ad well as lengthwise and scores the tenon. Lol, it makes a great bamboo texture. You will have the same problem with a ball, or acorn if you have too much material. When you design a tool like this you must also figure where the excess material is going to go. A 16th, and it moves lineral. Any larger and it moves both linerally and laterally. If a ball or acorn type tool, you must not start with too much material. Basically you are trying to squeeze the excess thru too small of an opening where the shaft is and it just won't go and it must go somewhere. Thus it gets pinched betwixt top and bottom halves of the die.

Hope this makes sense. 

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