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Sharing all I have learnt about rivets!

Rivet - Dictionary definition: 1. Nail or bolt for holding together metal places etc., its headless end being beaten out or pressed down after passing through two holes.  2. Verb, to Clinch (bolt); join or fasten with rivets; fix, make immovable.

When I mentioned using rivets to my other half, we soon established that the rivets he used in metalwork (like the ones that hold your saucepan handle on) were completely different to the rivets used for handbag handles!  Before I could buy them, I needed to find exactly the right ones.

RIVET NAMES

I found out that the rivets used for handbags and leatherwork are variously called Cap, DotRapid, Speedy, Jiffy or Tubular!

RIVET TYPES - They can be Single Cap or Double Cap.

These are Single cap rivets (a.k.a. Jiffy or Speedy rivets) with a shiny domed cap on just one piece.  The back piece has the hollow post, without a cap.   You use them where only one side will be seen on the exterior and the other is hidden in the lining.

I googled and searched in e-bay and found a bewildering array available.  I finally bought the ones above from FIKASHOP on Etsy.  They were listed as “6 mm Silver round Rivet rapid studs”.  

These ones are Double cap rivets, as they have a shiny domed cap on both sides, so they can be used where they are seen from both sides, i.e. on handles and straps.

I bought these from Popstuffs in Etsy, they were listed as “6 mm Metal Rivets, Round Cap Double Headed Metal Rivet - Size: 6mm (Cap), 5mm (Rivet Head Diameter)”

RIVET SIZES

They come in different sizes, and you need to select one that has a post which is the right length to go through however many layers of bag fabric and handle materials you are using, and emerge far enough out to fit into the other cap. 

Neither FIKASHOP nor Popstuffs actually quoted the length of the post.  I assumed the 6 mm referred to this when I bought from FIKASHOP, but I did double check with Popstuffs before I bought from them.  (Nothing wrong with FIKASHOP but Popstuffs had something else I wanted to buy and it saved on postage!)

I then found an alternative Rivet is available from Prym.  They call them Tubular Rivets, and as you can see from the picture on the card, they are for handles and straps.  Look carefully at the pack and you can just see that they are Double caps. 

There are 3 sizes available, 3 – 4 mm, 4 – 6 mm and 6 – 9 mm.  This does relate to the size of the post, not the width of the cap, and this is illustrated on the card by this symbol I.  Nice and simple.  I bought mine from www.fabric-dreams.co.uk which despite the name are in Germany.

So here is my Rivet collection.  At the far left you can see the hollow end of the post in the back of the Single Cap Rivet.  You can also see the varying width and height of the cap part.  Below you can see the varying length of the posts and width of their caps.

Key, from left to right –  

  • The Single Cap Rivet 6 mm FIKASHOP
  • The Double Cap Rivet 6 mm Popstuff
  • The Prym Tubular Rivet 3 – 4 mm Fabric-Dreams
  • The Prym Tubular Rivet 4 – 6 mm (ditto)
  • The Prym Tubular Rivet 6 – 9 mm (ditto)

As you can see, the size of the cap varies quite considerably, the smallest Prym cap being larger than both the generic caps.  Below I had used a 3 - 4mm Prym rivet, then panicked and added 2 of the 6mm double cap rivets either side to make sure it was strong enough!  You can just see the difference in cap size.

RIVETING TOOLS

a) H0LE PUNCH

1. Single punch – a metal spike you hit with a hammer to cut holes in your fabric/leather.  One punch for each size.

2. Rotary punch – a tool with a wheel you rotate to use the various sized punches.  You will need to clear the holes out now and then, and it will eventually go blunt, but it is a handy tool and no hammer is needed.

3. Prym Vario Pliers – Spring loaded pliers with interchangeable parts to cut holes in varying sizes (also fits snaps and eyelets/grommets) without using a hammer.  You can buy spare parts to replace them when they get blunt.

The Prym Rivets pack includes some basic tools and instructions.  There is a flat plastic disc, a flat metal disc (not mentioned in the instructions) and a single punch.

The instructions show that after you use the punch, you place the plastic disc on a flat surface with the rivet back on top, laying with the post pointing upwards.  You then place the fabric over the post and fit the other cap (shiny dome side up) on the top.  When you push down they will ‘click’ together.  You then hit it with a hammer!

However, even with a thick piece of cloth over it, this dented my cap slightly.  The reason for this is that the pack does NOT include a setting tool and anvil like these!

b) SETTING TOOL

This is a metal pen-shaped tool about 3” long, with a concave end.  It is used to set double cap and regular rapid rivets.  You set the concave end on the cap and hit the setting tool with the hammer, not the rivet, and the concave end prevents flattening the cap.  

c) ANVIL

Also known as a micro anvil, this is a small metal drum shape.  One side is flat for single caps, and the other side is concave for double caps. 

I searched on-line and bought mine in the U.K. here http://www.theidentitystore.co.uk/products.asp?SubCatID=92 but you can get them from the The Tandy Leather Factory who ship pretty much worldwide.

 

d) HAMMER

Fairly simple, just pick one you like that’s not too heavy.  If it’s pretty like these ones, it might not get “borrowed”!  Mine is an 8oz claw hammer with a rubber grip.

RIVET STORAGE

They are fiddly little things and come in zip lock bags, or the Prym card.  I bought a bead storage box for the Prym ones, and may buy another now for the generic ones I have.

 

RIVETING TUTORIALS

Lisa Lam (u-handbag.com) demonstrates using single cap rivets in tutorial "How to use metal rivets"

Chris Welsh (ChrisWDesigns.com) shows "How to install rivets" using double caps.

Lastly I found this excellent video tutorial “Setting a Rivet” on you-tube from MaineLineIndustries


Hope you found this useful, and enjoy banging them in as much as I do now now that I have everything I need!

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Comment by Kelly McDonald on February 10, 2014 at 4:02pm

Thank you! Superb learning info!xx

Comment by Kiki Polglase on January 6, 2014 at 10:13am

Yet another SUPER USEFUL and INFORMATIVE post !

Thank you, Karen ! x

Comment by L. Rochelle Kidd on January 1, 2014 at 12:56pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. My father-n-law knew I liked to craft and gave me a kit for Christmas. I have to hang my head and admit, I never use it because I didn't know how. You have given the kit new hope.

Kudos,

Hunny

Comment by Jean M. on January 1, 2014 at 8:37am

I as well, don't plan on using rivets; but you never know. It was very informative and therefor I printed it out.

You did a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Renee Kettley on December 31, 2013 at 11:51pm

You need to check out http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com. They have every kind of rivet you could ever need. and tutorials. Pretty inexpensive.

Comment by Lebec Egirl Sews on December 31, 2013 at 10:54am

What an informative article.  I wish it was set up to just print it.  I would like to keep this handy.  I now feel that I can try using rivets on handbags.

Comment by Karen on December 31, 2013 at 4:16am

I have just realised it may not be obvious you can get the Setting Tool from Tandy as well as the anvil.  

Also I show a bottle of Fray Stop in the last photo and forgot to mention you can use it around the punched h*** if you are worried it might fray.

Comment by Hildy Berner Schwarz on December 30, 2013 at 10:23pm
I wasn't going to read this because I never use rivets.I am glad I did because I found it very informative. I think I need to stock up on rivets now. Thanks for the info
Comment by Forest on December 30, 2013 at 9:01pm

You might also check out a company called Bee Lee.  They have a web site and I have bought buttons and snaps from them for years.  Pricing is very good and they are very good at describing their product.  Loved the information on rivets.  Will be using it shortly. Thanks

Comment by Susan on December 30, 2013 at 11:09am

Awesome Post!!!!

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