I got Tim McCreight’s very useful book, “Hot & Cold Connections” recently, read the section on soldering and ignored the rest. I revisited it the other day and found very straightforward instructions for making rivets. It looked like a great excuse to buy another hammer, a very small one with a flat head on one side and a blade on the other, a cross peen hammer. As usual, I got it on eBay, and just loved the way it was described as being for “delicate work”!
I had a piece of embossed silver left over from our top secret experimental project, and thought it would be suitable for playing with rivets. I cut a frame and a back plate from brass, and did a test rivet on a bit of scrap.
I bunged the Dremel into the vertical bracket on the workstand, complete with a 1mm microdrill, and gently drilled a couple of bits of scrap brass for a trial run. I filed the end of a coil of 1mm copper wire so I could ease it into the holes, and pulled it tight with pliers. The book said it was vital that the wire is a really snug fit, so that when you start bashing the ends, the only place the metal can go is outwards to form a domed head.
My new hammer was a bit rubbish, to be honest! I ended up bashing it with a 2oz ball peen hammer instead. The copper did it’s magic and formed a head on the front side. Annoyingly my bit of wire was a bit too short and ended up flush with the back, so I walloped it with a centre punch to flare the ends out a bit. Must have worked, because I can’t get it to come apart and neither can Beardy. And he is VERY rufty-tufty.
Obviously an expert now (I wish!), I filed and polished my component parts and drilled 1mm holes in the corners of the frame. To avoid annoying mismatched hole sets, I only drilled one hole in the back plate. I did the rivet and then drilled the opposite corner and riveted that. Just the other two corners to do, and onto some very laborious filing to get the edges of the two brass pieces flush. I could have done it with the Dremel in the shed but thought I’d be sociable and do it while watching the Carling Cup final with the menfolk.
I had originally planned to rivet this thing to some copper and make a bangle, but it’s too heavy to bend! So I’m going to add a couple more things to it and turn it into a Steampunk style pendant