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Riveting -Balling Metals

    A few of us ... wondered how do you get a nice, round, melted
ball at the end of a > brass wire....and if possible....can you
ball 2 ends of a wire used in a rivet?  

G’day; I take a wire of a diameter which is a nice slide fit into the
hole intended for it. Next I dip it in flux, and using a small but
very hot flame I hold the wire vertically, end pointing down, and put
the very tip of it in the flame, constantly turning the wire - which
is why the flame must be very small and very hot; I use a tiny
oxy/propane flame. After pickling, I have a hole in my bench peg
which is the same slide fit as the work, and thread the wire in it so
that the new head is showing. A couple of taps with a hammer against
a small punch and the head, will rectify irregularities in the ball.
I use a swiss file or a flexishaft sander to bring the head of the
ball down to a slightly domed shape, and that’s it. If I have to make
several rivets, I use a bit of wire a few inches long, hold it in
locking tweezers or an artery clamp, and make the rivet head at both
ends, cut them off with a bit of spare, then make two more heads and
so on. I otherwise can’t see any point in heading a rivet at both
ends, for how are you going to thread it through your work piece? Don’t
forget you will need to slightly countersink both sides of the rivet
hole so the rivet head you just made and the head you tap over on the
opposite side of your work will seat nicely and not protrude too much.
Cut the rivet in place to leave about twice it’s thickness protruding
for tapping to make the second head with a ball pein riveting hammer.
To make a really nice finish, you can get rivet sets. These are
punches with a concave indent in the end, and when tapped over the
rivet head will set it nicely. If you can’t get one easily, then make
one from some carbon steel rod (drill rod). When in the annealed
state, use a ball shaped burr to make the concave setting dome, then
harden and temper the punch. (we went into that the other day) and you
have yet another simple useful tool. Can’t shut me up, can you?
Cheers – John Burgess