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Riveting 101

Greetings All! Does anyone know anything about making rivets (to
assemble things (art, jewelry, etc). Especially using tubing (so
that the ends form a “small washer-finding look” to the piece. Is it
a special type of wire and tubing? Are there special tools?

Any help would be much appreciated!
Thanks much,

Greetings All! Does anyone know anything about making rivets (to
assemble things (art, jewelry, etc). Especially using tubing 

Riveting is an easy way to attach things, and tube rivets are
especially gentle. You can rivet together pretty much anything that
can be drilled. Nearly any tubing will work. The main rule is that
the rivet must fit very snug in the hole-- a loose hole will cause a
lot of problems.

Leave about half the diameter of the rivet sticking out on each
side. Flare the tubing-- start by inserting something tapered, such
as a center punch, and moving it in an increasing circle. Flip the
work beck and forth, keeping the two sides even. You can also insert
a small dapping punch and tap the rivet open. Finish by tapping each
side flat with light blows of a small hammer or a punch. Voila!

If you leave the rivet too long, it may split as you flatten it. It
also helps to use dead soft tubing, or to anneal it before you begin.

One other rule that will save a lot of trouble: You can drill
multiple rivet holes ahead of time, but only in the top piece!!!
Drill one hole first in the other part and set the rivet, then drill
the second hole and set that rivet. After that, if you are going to
have additional rivets, you can drill them all, as the work can no
longer shift. Believe me, I learned this the hard way!

Have fun,

Hi Susan,

So you want to use a tube as a rivet.

I do it more when I’m wearing my Cutlers hat, but the technique
should work just as well for jewellery. You wont get a small washer
with this method, but it’s effective, strong and dead simple.

  1. Drill and countersink your hole.

  2. Cut your tube, about 2mm to 3mm longer than the length of the

  3. Insert the tube into the hole, and place over an anvil or a steel

  4. Take a centre punch and start to flare one end of the tube. It is
    important to “not” bash the hell out of the tube… gently does it.

  5. Flip the piece over and and start to flare the other side.

  6. Repeat step 4) & 5) until the tube is secure.

  7. File the tube flat.

See it is simple :wink:
Regards Charles A.

Here is a You Tube video:

The process is covered in many of the wonderful basic metalsmithing
books out there. It’s simple, but easiest to learn in person from a

Do you have Tim McCreight’s Complete Metalsmith? and this book,
Practical Joining, should help you: