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Washer-finding look rivets

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,

  Is it a special type of wire and tubing? Are there special tools? 

Nope, it’s just tubing. You can buy it at the hardware store.
There are always special tools. : )

It’s nice to have a tubing cutting jig, though not necessary. This
helps you cut exactly straight when you cut the tubing, reducing your
filing time.

People make tube rivets in different ways. I use a center punch to
spread out the head of the tubing, so help it spread evenly. Some
people just hit the tubing with a hammer.

You can also buy a bag of assorted tubing from American Science and
Surplus. They always have it in the store, but I’m not sure if it’s
always in the catalog.

I took a workshop where the teacher gave us very specific
measurements and charts for doing rivets. These are not necessary,
but they’re fine if you like to work that way.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Susan, please look in Tim McCreight’s two books, “The Complete
Metalsmith” and “Jewelry Fundamentals of Metalsmithing”. In these
two books he gives adequate and how to about regular
rivets and tube rivets. Probably more in Fundamentals
of Metalsmithing, but both are quite good.


Hello Susan,

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

There’s a cold-connection project in this month’s Lapidary Journal
(the one that came out this month, I think it’s the May issue).
They show how to make bimetal beads using a rivet.


You can use eyelets, they sell small ones at scrapbooking stores.

You can also get eyelet setters with them.

You can also cut tubing to the length you want, flare the edges, and
carefully (so you don’t get hammer marks on the piece) tap it until
it’s flat against your piece.