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Setting wire rivets

Use a brass gauge or calipers to measure the diameter of the rivet hole. Select wire in a gauge that’s the same diameter as the hole. The wire should fit snugly in the hole.

Measure how thick your metal piece is at the rivet hole. Your rivet wire will need to be this long plus a little more; a general rule is to add half the wire’s diameter for each end of the rivet. Cut the rivet wire to length, and file the ends flat with a needle file.
BASICS_wire rivets1
Figure 1

Insert the rivet wire into the hole, resting one end on a bench block. Center the metal piece on the wire, and lightly hammer one end of the wire with either the tapered face of a riveting hammer (Figure 1) or the rounded face of a ball-peen hammer. Flip the piece over and lightly hammer the other end to gently flare it. You’re only flaring a little each time, so you’ll need to flip and hammer repeatedly to achieve the flare you’d like. 

BASICS_wire rivets2
Figure 2

To further flatten the rivet, hammer each end with either the flat face of a chasing hammer (Figure 2) or a planishing hammer. Clean up the edges of the rivet with a needle file, if desired, and then sand and polish the rivet.

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