Rivets with smaller gauge wire

I just asked about if you cannot make rivets from small gauge wire.
Could or should I ball up the ends of the wire so there is more
substance to work with as well??


I just asked about if you cannot make rivets from small gauge
wire. Could or should I ball up the ends of the wire so there is
more substance to work with as welle 

Why not?

Hello again,

I’m not sure I understand completely what you are doing but I think
I might.

First - yes, one end should be balled a bit to make a head,. The
head can be flattened a bit by hammering. Grip wire tightly in vise
just under the balled end and form head. Don’t do this with a big
smash smack dab on top of the ball but tap around the ball a bit off
centre and all around - Hard to describe - You want to push the
sides of the ball down, not squish the thing with a blow on top. Use
a small ball peen hammer, not one with a flat face. It might help to
make a small V-groove in your vise jaws to hold the shaft of the
rivet better. If you don’t want to mar the face of the vise jaws you
can make an auxiliary face for the vise jaw out of some small bit of
steel - probably doesn’t even need to be tool-hardened for this

Next - I’m not sure what you are trying to do with the other end of
the rivet. Is it that you want to rivet over the other end as well
or just to bend it? Are you riveting a Scrabble piece? The wood is
not hard enough to form a head against it by hammering the rivet end
sticking out of the hole in the wood. Look up how riveting is done
in wooden boat building where overlapping plank edges are commonly
riveted. Here is how it is done. The un-headed end of the rivet is
purposely left a bit long. Where it emerges from the surface of the
wood that end is pushed through a small copper washer called a
"rove". The rove is slightly cupped or domed in shape and the
concave face of it goes against the wood surface. The hole in the
rove is a snug fit to the shaft of the rivet. The rove is pushed
firmly down so its face is snug against the wood and the rivet’s
protruding shaft is nipped off just a tiny bit proud of the exposed
face of the rove. The already-headed end of the rivet is then
supported or backed by a heavy, hard object while the new head is
formed. In your case you could do this by placing your object down
with the head end on a solid surface, small anvil or something
similar. The new head is formed by tapping the end of the shaft
where it emerges from the rove. Again, use a ball peen hammer and
hammer around the periphery of the end, not straight down on its
axis. Gentle tapping will do the job. It takes a bit of practice but
even at your scale it is do-able. And it is quite attractive to

Now you will want to know about how to make or get roves. They are
hard enough to find, even for boat builders and the ones they use
would be too big for your use. You will need to make 'em, which is
not as hard as you think.

First you will need a hole punch. I have one which was quite
inexpensive. It looks like some kind of gussied-up pliers and comes
with a set of “male” punches of various sizes and “female” dies with
holes to match. You select the suitable size and away you go. You
are not interested in the holes but in the little round bits that
get popped out when they are made. Those will become your roves. The
prospect of drilling tiny holes in tiny round washers may seem
daunting, Here’s how to do it. Make the holes first, then the
washer. You may have to experiment a bit to choose the right
thickness of copper sheet. Drill a number of holes through the sheet
which match the size of the wire you are using for rivet shaft - a
snug fit. The end of the “male” punch is not flat but has a tiny tit
at its centre. This is normally helpful when punching a hole because
if the hole’s centre has been marked with a centre punch you can
find the exact location by feel as you slide the hole punch into
position before punching through. The tit will catch in the centre
punch mark. In your case, you will slide the punch around until you
feel the tit catch in one of the holes you have drilled in the
copper sheet, then punch through. The piece you punch out will have
the hole in its centre and, because of the tit on the end of the
male punch it will also be slightly cupped or domed, just exactly
what you need!

Let me know if this makes sense to you or not,
Good luck
Marty the rover in Victoria