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  • Decent Pop Rivet Tool?

    I have two pop rivet tools and have used several more that were owned by my employers. Mine are a name brand one that I have had for decades; it does 1/8" and 3/16" pop rivets. And a newer one, probably an import, that has noses for four diameters. Both of these tools work.

    My problem is both of them and every other manual pop rivet tool that I have used requires using a long stroke. You must start with the handles fully open and that position is too big for my hand to properly grip. So I either use a short grip where the force is more than I can apply or press one handle against my leg while pushing the other with my hand. Either of these motions are only good for about half a stroke so I must change the grip in mid stroke. Since they do not pop the rivet in one stroke, I must then repeat it again and sometimes a third time for each rivet.

    I see dozens of manual pop rivet tools on the internet. But I can not just buy them one by one until I find one that is satisfactory. Does anyone know of a manual pop rivet gun that works with a smaller stroke. I wouldn't mind making more strokes if I could just keep my hand in one position on it. I would prefer one with four or more noses to allow use of the various diameter rivets available and that I already have in stock.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    Make it fit.
    You can't win and there IS a penalty for trying!

  • #2
    Actually I think your problem is not unique. I have long/large hands (long and lanky/tall build) and I have to take 2 or 3 strokes to pop most rivets. So I don't think your hands are the problem, and I don't think the tools are the problem -- rather I think its just the nature of the process because of how the rivets themselves are made. FWIW I bought mine off a MAC tools truck years ago, 4 noses and high quality build, etc. Sure, you could shorten up the handles easily, but then would you have enough leverage to do anything?

    I think the answer maybe an air-powered aircraft riveter.

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    • #3
      Your problem isn't unique. I have a Richline riveter. It always took two squeezes of the handle to get the rivet to pop and the handles opened up so wide that I could barely grab it with one hand.
      Steel rivet shanks took 3 squeezes to pop. As the gripping jaws wore it the problem worsened.
      I never did a lot of riveting but if I were I probably would have bought one of the pneumatic riveters.
      I think it's just a common design issue because of the leverage factor vs the stroke and length of travel to get the rivet to pop in one squeeze.
      If the handle didn't open that wide it would take more squeezes to pop. Then you have to factor in the jaw slippage too.
      I remember having some junk off brand one where the handle opened to a comfortable size easily grabbed with on hand but that model too like 4 squeezes to pop the rivet.

      JL...............
      Last edited by JoeLee; 02-26-2020, 08:02 AM.

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      • #4
        Click image for larger version  Name:	pop3.jpg Views:	0 Size:	837.1 KB ID:	1858036 I have small hands as well and these are the best I have found. I don't know if they are still made, but they do come up on Ebay occasionally.. I can rivet 1/8 and 5/32 SS rivets with one stroke.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	pop2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	681.2 KB ID:	1858035
        Last edited by Stu; 02-26-2020, 08:17 AM.

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        • #5
          I have one of these: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Arrow-On...-302344967-_-N

          I have pretty long hands but they have an adjustable stroke if you want to take a greater number of smaller strokes. Might be what you want... I will say it is the most comfortable rivet gun I've ever used.

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          • #6
            There is a way to get a smaller span on the tools handles. When one inserts the rivet into the tool, don’t seat it with the rivet head touching the arbor. This allows the tool handles to close as the tool seats the rivet. With the handles at a comfortable span, squeeze the rivet to start to collapse the rivet and don’t allow the handles to separate to the uncomfortable point. Then ratchet the seating squeezes to complete the pop. It takes additional cycles to seat the rivet and snap the pin but it is an easier process.
            Joe

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            • #7
              McMaster has a "Manual Lever-Handle tool" for 1/8 to 1/4 blind rivets with long handles for a two hand operation. Overall length is 21" and handles look to be about 13" long. Basic tool no. is 90239a510. There are options and a list of parts. My older cat. no. 118 lists the price at $112. From the looks of the tool and McMasters general quality I would think this would be the last rivet tool a person would ever need to buy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
                I have two pop rivet tools and have used several more that were owned by my employers. Mine are a name brand one that I have had for decades; it does 1/8" and 3/16" pop rivets. And a newer one, probably an import, that has noses for four diameters. Both of these tools work.

                My problem is both of them and every other manual pop rivet tool that I have used requires using a long stroke. You must start with the handles fully open and that position is too big for my hand to properly grip. So I either use a short grip where the force is more than I can apply or press one handle against my leg while pushing the other with my hand. Either of these motions are only good for about half a stroke so I must change the grip in mid stroke. Since they do not pop the rivet in one stroke, I must then repeat it again and sometimes a third time for each rivet.

                I see dozens of manual pop rivet tools on the internet. But I can not just buy them one by one until I find one that is satisfactory. Does anyone know of a manual pop rivet gun that works with a smaller stroke. I wouldn't mind making more strokes if I could just keep my hand in one position on it. I would prefer one with four or more noses to allow use of the various diameter rivets available and that I already have in stock.
                Cherry rivet gun. But as mentioned I switch to the air riveter for more than 5 rivets, especially anything bigger than 1/8. I have had the expensive ones and the cheap one from Horror Freight and the HF one works just as good. Had it for years and thousands of rivets through it. Go air if you can.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have two manual pop rivet guns, a regular one from Canadian Tire and a very narrow Bostich one, and I have an air riveter from Princess Auto also. The very tips of the CT gun go from 1 1/2" when closed to 8" when fully open. Ridiculously wide! It's as if nobody who manufactured these things actually ever used them.

                  Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                  • #10
                    Seems to me the way to go is simply modify your handles so they're closer at full open. It'll take more strokes, but that isn't the problem, right? Mine is the type below I've had for decades, I think I could easily mod it by cutting the top handle at the bend and either welding it or sandwiching it between 2 aluminum plates at the preferred angle. I recently did a job for the 3rd time that required 100 rivets, had me thinking of an air model.

                    Click image for larger version

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ID:	1858084
                    Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                    • #11
                      I'm with you Paul and the rest. It's like the folks that designed the darn things never used them. I do the slip to shorter stroke deal as well but setting up the shorter stroke is a two handed thing and then once set I have to shift hands again to hold the item pressed tight to the nose of the tool to ensure a good tight joint. Then shift to two hands to set up for the next partial stroke.. It's a proper PITA for sure.

                      For occasional and budget use that Arrow with the adjustable grab distance linked above does look really nice. And not overly pricey. I never use pop rivets tools more than once or twice a year. And I "busy year" would see me use perhaps 30 of them... When I set up the dust collection system for the wood shop I did a bit more sheet metal work with pop rivets for a couple of months so that one year was likely more like 50 to 60 of them. Still far from justification to buy an air riveter though. But I'd pick up one of the Arrows in the link and retire one of the old ones in a blink of an eye.
                      Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                      • #12
                        If you go too short on the stroke, the jaws may tend to slip back into the previous jaw marks, and you get no progress. Depends on how much movement they are set up to give at full stroke.
                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

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                        • #13
                          I bought a pneumatic one a few years ago, probably from Taiwan. It comes in a plastic box with a complete inventory of spare springs, seals, jaws and tools plus decent parts and instruction manual. If your hands are weak from arthritis, it is essential if you are pulling more than a couple of rivets.

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                          • #14
                            As far as I know most manual pop rivet guns have a large stroke, I did stumble across this on McMaster -
                            https://www.mcmaster.com/rivets/=8ae...686746k73s8m8x
                            researching further into it they seem to be prevalent on eBay, the best I can ascertain is that a company in spain
                            originated this design, it's on my list to buy and try.

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                            • #15
                              I have four different ones, the crappy looking one works just as well as the others- all seem to need three hands to operate properly. But they do work, and the number of strokes required depends on the length of the rivet and the thickness of what you're riveting together. If you can pop the rivet in one stroke, you're at the limit of thickness. If it takes three strokes, then you should be using a shorter rivet.

                              I had a job building flight cases a few years ago. Needles to say there was a lot of riveting to be done- we bought an air riveter for that. This was not a cheap tool, and it was recommended by people who build flight cases commercially, but it was not without problems. I can imagine that a cheaper air riveter would probably be just fine for most uses- probably jam up sometimes, but you'd just expect that and deal with it as it happens.

                              I would not want to use the hand pop riveter for larger than 1/8 inch rivets. I've done it, but what a good way to hurt your hands-

                              For the air powered models, don't get lax on using air tool oil- and like any shop using air tools, make sure you have proper air dryers and a sturdy air pressure adjustment.
                              I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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