How to Set a Tubular Rivet

What You'll Need
Tubular Rivets
Small Hammer
Flat Bar
Drill/Drill Bits

A tubular rivet is a good way to attach two pieces of metal together without the use of welding. Using a tubular rivet is a good idea if you are rebuilding a classic auto, or creating something that does not need any strong welds. The tubular rivet is a fastener that has a hollow tube with a head that resembles that of a flat screw. There are different ways to install a tubular rivet into the workpiece, but they all depend on making a mushroom end so that it holds the two pieces together. Here are a few steps for the best way to install tubular rivets in your next project.

Step 1: Line Up Two Pieces

Before you get to the installation of the tubular rivets you will need to line up the two pieces that you are going to join together. Take some time to make sure that they are perfectly lined up, as you will not be able to take them apart without breaking the rivets if there is a mistake. Hold the two pieces in place with clamps so you can move onto the next step.

Step 2: Mark Each Rivet Hole

When you install rivets into a workpiece they are slid through a hole that has been pre-drilled. Use a marker, or a piece of chalk, and mark the workpiece where you want the tubular rivets to go. They should be spaced every couple of inches for the best holding power. 

Step 3: Drill Each of the Rivet Holes

Using the same diameter drill bit as the tubular rivets, you can drill in the holes for the rivets. Once the holes have been completed you should go over them with a very light coating of oil to prevent rust from developing. 

Step 4: Insert Rivets into Hole

After you have the holes drilled into the workpiece, you can then begin to insert the tubular rivets into place. You do not want to place them all in at this point. Work with the tubular rivets one at a time until the are all fastened into place. 

Step 5: Use Small Hammer

Have a friend work on the other side of the workpiece with a small hammer. You can use your hand, as the rivets are hollow, but you will have your hand from blisters by using a hammer. Your friend will be mushrooming the end of the rivet so that it flattens out onto the work piece. When this happens the rivet is held into place. You will need to use a flat bar to hold the rivet head in place while they use the hammer. 

Step 6: Repeat the Process

After you have finished with the first rivet, you can then continue to put the rest of the rivets into place. Use this same method and finish the process of installing the tubular rivet. 

Step 7: Check Solid Rivets

One all of the rivets are in place, you need to go around and check them all for a tight fit. If they are loose, or move around too easily, you will need to give them another punch with the hammer. All the rivets should be completely secure so that the metal will be stationary.