Monday, November 11, 2013

Hold Your Fire: Rivets

by Staci L. Smith

What is a rivet?  Using wire to connect two pieces of metal (or two items) together.  It is probably the most commonly used cold connection of all!

Learning to make rivets will prove to be life changing.  It will open up doors to new and wonderful creations that were just not viable before.  It is another valuable problem solving tool in your tool box as well.

Here are some references, links and printable  that should help to you learn and practice this new technique.
The first thing I like to have handy is the drill bit and wire gauge chart.  This allows you to know what size drill bit to use, for the gauge wire you will be using to rivet.
There is a nice printable version from
Art Jewelry magazines website here. (then you can keep it right in your studio)

I also refer to this one at Rio Grande because they give you the measurement in the fraction form, which is how some drill bits list them.
I was not able to make my own photo tutorial for you, but I did type up a printable PDF on making rivets.  I know I still like to have a paper in front of me while learning something new.  It has your material and tool list, as well as step by step instructions.

If you are like me though, you will need to see this in action.  So print the tutorial, and watch the awesome video I found by Charles Hamm.
 It is very thorough.  I love his diagrams, and step by step demonstrations.  It is worth the 8 minutes of viewing time! 

Rivets have really opened a whole new world to me!  If you don't have a good vice to make your own, you can use these from Rio Grande.  They are also time saving, but not near as nice and finished looking on the back as making your own.

I have used them a lot.  However, I now have a nice little vice in my studio, and can't wait to make my own rivets!

As soon as I do, I will post pics to the flickr group- and I hope you will too.  Its a fun way to show off what you are creating with cold connections during this Boot Camp.


TesoriTrovati said...

I first made a rivet in Tracy Stanley's class. I did it perfect. And every time since then I cannot get it to work! I think it would have been better for me if I had done it completely wrong the first time! I love to make tube rivets. I have the riveting tool but I really wish that it made BIG holes for rivets. My favorite tip is one I learned from Mary Jane Dodd to use thick walled copper tube crimps for rivets. I have a coil of copper pipe and I want to try that for really big holes. Makes for more finished piece but I do have a problem with them splitting. If anyone has some tips (or just tell me to go slower) I would be open to them! Enjoy the day. Erin

Ema Kilroy said...

Great post! I won a riveting kit from Rio Grande a few months back. I played around a little bit with it but I didn't feel too successful with it. This video is great. I think it's time to get out the materials I won and give it a try again.

To answer Erin. When I was making big hole beads and adding sterling silver liners I had trouble with the liner splitting as I flared it. I read that if you anneal the metal first it makes it softer and less prone to splitting.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Very cool! This is one technique I think I could use with my work (I picked up a vice from Harbor Freight a few months ago). Thanks for posting the pdf tutorial too! Try - Try - Try is key :)

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

I wonder about the splitting of the tube too. Could be either it is too long, uneven hammering or too fast trying to spread it. Although I do have a bead core liner press and have copper & sterling tube to use - and sometimes that tube splits - and they are all cut the same length, used in a press that has even pressure... And the beads were pressed with the same thickness when making - so they are all the same...

Curious about that...

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