Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Rivet header an bucking block

Recommended Posts

Awhile back I got curious how those Kens tong blanks were so I ordered a pair of scrolling tongs from them, as well as a couple bags of rivets to learn with an try out on other stuff

they’ve Been floating around the smithy for a month or two now and I thought about gettin round to trying them out, 

But first I needed a rivet header and bucking block or whatever they call it,

ive got a bunch of 2” solid round stock laying around that came off I dunno what, I’m assuming it’s mild steel cause it cuts pretty easy on a band saw but I didn’t bother doin a spark test, an I thought that'd make some heavy duty bottom blocks

I plan to make the top tooling outta sucker rod since I have piles of it too, and the top tool is gonna be struck so I figured sucker rod would hold up better 

I watched that guy on black bear forge make a set and so I just copied what he did it was all relatively easy like he said

i cut the block 2” long marked it and used a center punch to get a good start on the hole cold,

I found a ol tire iron in a pile that was relatively the same size as the rivet head and cut 8” off then ground it as close to ball shape as I could, 

then I heated up the block, the first heat took awhile but the following heats not very long,

I used the center punch to dig a hole in it for two heats, maybe 5/16 or 3/8” deep? Didn’t measure it I just kinda eyeballed it,

then I heated up two more heats and drove the ball end punch in rotating every strike, 

the final two heats I put a new rivet in a plate and hammered it onto the head then I heated again and held the rivet with tongs and hammered it into the block rotating every strike, 

I think it came out nice on the block, I’ll start work on the top tool some afternoon this week when I get a chance,




















Link to comment
Share on other sites

The buck doesn't need to be that thick either. The rivets will be hot and soft. 

A steel coat hanger wrapped around and welded to a ball bearing works a treat for making a round headed rivet buck. That lets you drive the ball into the top of the stock so it stays hot longer and reheats faster. Welding the bearing to the end of a piece of bar works too but you have to estimate depth where the wire handle acts as a stop. IF YOU stop that is. ;) 

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My plan is to make a set of bucking tools like this one from 3/16 up to 1/2” an make the top tools outta sucker rod for top tools like punches

then imma switch it up an make the bottom tools outta sucker rod square ends for hardy bottom tooling,

then make a set of top headers usin big sucker rod ends with wood handles 

so all together it’ll be a big rivet set I’ll have to work with,

im havin a hard time visualizing your coat hanger idea Jerry, but I’ll tell ya this!!!

if you think imma good enough welder to weld somthin as small as a coat hanger to a ball bearing you have way over estimated my welding capabilities!!! :lol:

if I tried that I’d end up with a spiky ball!! Cause I’d end up burning through all the hanger trying to make it!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm having a hard time NOT suggesting you sell a product line of rivet bucks with a name in line with your heritage. You and I may kid each other all the time but I don't want to be put on moderation again so I'll leave it to your imagination. 

You could drill or punch a hole slightly smaller than the bearing in a piece of strap stock, 1/4" x 3/4" for example and use it to hold the ball down on the stock while you beat the tar out of it. Maybe even weld the bearing in the hole. That'd be a lot easier than making tongs to hold bearings for the job.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve made it a whole month now without gettin in trouble!!!:D so Imma leave that one alone! but I got yer Joke! :lol:

I actually did think about welding a ball bearing to a handle to make the punch but when I looked through my collection of ball bearings I’ve salvaged outta machines I couldn’t find the size I needed for this buckin block that’s why I just made a punch outta the tire iron,

 but as I move forward with this particular project I’ll try the bearing idea for blocks that I have the right sized bearings for


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems we're both doing okay then!:) And no wise crack about not having a paddle! :P

You only need to drive the ball to it's center for round head rivets, pan heads are much shallower so a larger bearing  ore shallow works just right. You can reuse the tire iron punches more times than a ball bearing too.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made my rivet header / tenon swage by clamping to pieces of steel, 3/4" sq. IIRC in the drill vise with a piece of card stock between them and drilled a selection of hole diameters down the center line. Had I  been smarter I would've welded a spring to connect them first. A little file work to soften the edges of the holes finished the tool.

To use you place the rivet in the header with the desired length sticking up, tighten the vise and head the rivet or set the tenon shoulder on the anvil using it as a closed die swage.   

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...