You'll find that riveting is one of the most basic techniques there
is. No special tools, everything can be improvised. Don't have a
hammer? Use a rock. Don't have dapping punches to roll over tube
rivets? Use a steely or even a marble (best to go with a mallet here
instead of a hammer). Can't find "riveting wire" at your local hobby
or hardware store? Look in the street, someone is always throwing some
kind of wire away and unless it's really hard (very unlikely) it'll
probably work fine. Riveting can be as basic or as fancy as you want
to make it.
Rivets made with tubing are called ... you guessed it, "tube rivets",
and any old tubing will do as long as it works and you want to use
it. Read up a little, try stuff, go from there.
Ditto with basic rivets, whatever works and suits your type of work
is fair game including but not limited to copper, brass, silver,
gold, nickle silver, aluminum, plastic, etc.
Check out Tim McCreight's "Complete Metalsmith". There's excellent
info on many types of rivets complete with drawings, related
techniques, special rivets etc. Easily worth the price of admission.
There's also a very good section on riveting in McCreight's "Jewelry:
Fundamentals of Metalsmithing" which, needless to say, is also an
excellent book for this kind of Tim always seems to hit
them right out of the park.
Trevor F. in The City of Light