Tips and Tricks

This page will hold various tips and tricks I learn along the way, mostly as a reminder for myself, but also to share with others.

Problem: When riveting, gap exists between rib flange and skin.

Solution: Here’s a trick I learned from others. Cut a small length of rubber tubing (like for fish tanks). It will rest on bucking bar and slip over tail of rivet. It should be slightly longer than tail. This will allow you to compress the flange against skin, yet still allow rivet to get bucked. I did this slowly, removing the rubber tube once flange was snug enough against skin, then finished riveting.

Problem: Flush rivets clinching / tipping over while bucking, even though they’re the correct size and everything else seems to be going well. Or, replacing a rivet in an oversized hole (such as replacing a rivet that had to be drilled-out).

Solution: It’s well known that a dimpled hole diameter will enlarge a little bit after dimpling. If this hole is on the larger side of what is typical (perhaps due to too much hole deburring, original hole being a tad big, etc.), the flush rivet will have too much slop and will not be able to remain perpendicular to the hole. To fix that, you can pre-squeeze the rivet, just slightly. For a -3 rivet, nominal diameter is 0.094″. If the dimpled hole it’s going into is 0.108″, for example, I can pre-squeeze it about 0.010″ larger, or around 0.104″ diameter. This makes for a well fitting flush rivet that will buck true. It’s also a good idea to use a slightly longer rivet, next half-size should work well.

A 3-4 rivet that has been pre-squeezed, becomes length of a 3-3.5 rivet (in this case).

This trick works well with rivet holes that may be slightly larger due to a rivet being drilled and removed, which can leave a slightly expanded hole.

Swivel Mushroom Flush Set with Rubber – Sand down rubber cap

Having purchased such a set through YardStore (similar to those sold elsewhere), the rubber cap around the face protrudes far too long and needs to be sanded down, nearly flush with the set. Once installed onto rivet gun, you should be able to hold the set up against the flush rivet with just enough pressure to keep the gun in place. The face of the set SHOULD be contacting the rivet surface (no gap in between). Without sanding down this rubber cap, it can not properly contact the rivet surface. To sand the rubber cap, I took some 150 grit sandpaper, set it on my bench, and carefully pulled the rubber cap across the paper, rotating it about 15 degrees each time to ensure it was being evenly sanded (you don’t want to develop a low spot).

I had placed some blue masking tape on the face of the mushroom set to ensure I didn’t damage the polished face with the sand paper. The tape also lets me visually see once I’ve sanded down to being nearly flush with the face. You don’t want to go too far or you want have enough rubber sticking up to prevent the set from wondering around while riveting. The rubber is so stiff, that I didn’t need much at all. The result… it works great!! My process uses rivet tape on the flush rivet and a single piece of blue masking tape on the flush set itself (like seen above).

What NOT to primer

Tip: Don’t prime any external surface that is expected to be painted later. For proper paint prep, it would be highly likely that any primer exposed would need to be removed or at least sanded an re-primered to ensure compatibility with the paint. I didn’t do this on my HS, but will try to avoid the extra work going forward.