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Discussion Starter #1
OK guys i am ready to admit defeat when it comes to getting this 1919 riveted.

I have been reading this board for many years now but have not paid close attention until i was ready to start building lately, therefore i am not sure if i am blind and/or stupid. This is my first experience with riveting as i have mostly done work on M16/M4/AR15s and USGI WWII guns until now.

I got me a set of drill bits, countersinks, and rivet tool from a nice gentlemen here on the board and a set of Black Bear rivets from another board member.

I inserted the LSP into the bottom plate and lined it up, inserted the rivets, placed it on a hard surface, heated one of the rivets with a propane torch, and beat the living day lights out of the rivet with the rivet tool and a ~3lb hammer. After almost an entire can of propane and alot of hammer swinging the rivet barely has a slight roundness at the very top of the rivet.

So back to the site i came to look for what i was doing wrong, and i realized there isn't alot of great detail about how to do the riveting (either that or i can't find it). The build tutorial by loboslanding (which has been a huge help) says to use a rivet tool in a pneumatic muffle gun or a really big hammer, and then skips to "rivets should be as uniform as possible."

Doing a search for rivets on the forum i found mostly talk about folks using big pneumatic muffler guns or multi-ton presses to form the rivets. However i do not have access to either at the moment (local machine shops here in MA that i know of are gun friendly).

Is it possible to do the rivets without a muffler gun or a press? If so what am i doing wrong? I am looking to do this as inexpensive as possible as i only have two kits to build and don't plan to buy anymore.

Sorry for the long post and i appreciate any advice you folks can give.

Thanks
Adam
 

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You don't need the propane. You don't need the muffler tool. You don't need the press..... What you absolutely must have is some sort of anvil (This could be the back side of a good vice bolted to a sturdy table), and heavy hammer ( You can actually get away with a regular hammer, but it will leave little half round divits when you miss. A three pound hammer will definitely help with those big ones), bucking material, and some testosterone.

It sounds to me like you are not securing the backside of the rivit. The head of the rivit has to absolutely be flush and tight against the anvil, then you HIT the other side HARD. It will mushroom with the first blow, then you pein it over and flatten it home. This technique will flatten both sides of the rivits.

Most folks use the muffler tool thing to get the rounded head. You can do the same thing with a press. Harbor freight has a nice bench top six ton press for $50.00. I use it for all sorts of things.

Beating the rivits with a hammer does not necessarily leave the prettiest rivit job, but it will be tight and serviceable. You can grind all the misses and divits fairly smooth when you finish.

If you do not have a nice tight and firm bed for the head of the rivit to rest on, you will never get the rivits to flatten.

The only difficult rivits in a 1919 project are the ones on lower right side plate. That is assuming you have already done the left side. This is because you have to use some sort of bucking bar INSIDE the receiver to make it work.
 

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That's odd. All of my rivets were done cold. I used the Black Bear rivets, and had no trouble smashing them with a hammer. Even the large trunnion rivets weren't too difficult. I used a muffler gun for a couple of my lower rivets, but found out it was easier to do with a hammer and a rivet set. In fact it was almost anti-climactic...I was expecting more difficulty. I used a piece of 1/2" plate as an anvil, and used 1/2" keystock cut to length for a bucking bar. The only difficulty that I really ran into was doing the rear rivets for the top plate.

I don't know what to tell you, but I'll be interested to hear what the more experienced builders have to say.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
While i am obviously no expert at this i did have the back of the rivets securely against a hard surface. I used 4 C-clamps to secure it to the work surface of my drill press, and nothing my helper didn't see anything moving when i was beating on the rivet with the hammer.

I will get a bigger hammer and find something more secure to use as an anvil.

Thanks for the advice and guidance.

Adam
 

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I had the same experience as "wanderin-ronin" with the rivets. Since I only intended to build one 1919, I used a grade 8 bolt and nut for the bucking bar. Yes, it is more aggrevating to use, but it was cheap and it worked! Now I have built three 1919s and wish I had bought a real bucking bar to do the work, but that is water under the bridge now, LOL.

I start the rivets with my air hammer and concave tool I made to dome the rivets. After the rivet is tightened up, but not finished, I get my 3-4 lb hammer, a concave tool I made and finish up with the hammer. The domed head rivets expand easy. For the large rivets, I put one side on a piece a railroad rail and beat the heck out of the other side as they are flush. Once the flush ones are as flat as they can get, I clean up with a grinding wheel and you can hardly tell where the rivet is located.

I get nice rounded heads with the tool and hammer with no "smileys". If they are not perfect, I can always use the Dremel to clean up and shape.
 

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Hard surface is good but not enough. All the hammer's energy must be directed into the rivet. If what you have it on is absorbing the energy, there's no way you'll ever head the rivet. A good aid is something on outside of the left side plate around the existing rivets. You can take a strip of 1/4 x 1" stock and drill a line of holes in it- this goes where the existing rivet heads are. The next is the bucking bar. I saw once where a fellow tried to use a piece if 1 x1 steel bar clamped in a vice, with 12" sticking out. He slid the receiver over it. Every whack made the bar spring down. One of the best riveting tricks is to get a helper to hold things while you concentrate on riveting.
 

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Absolutely right, yousay you are working on a Drill Press. Unless you want to snap the drill press plate, don't do it there. Those rivits have to be on a SOLID anvil type of thing.....IE. a piece of steel on a concrete floor. OR a vice or piece of steel on a very sturdy bench. The drill press base is not sturdy enough, and in fact will break off if you beat on it too hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I wanted to thank everyone for there replies and advice!! As suspected the problem was me and my being to careful not to screw up the parts kit.

And of course a big thank you to Finalygotabeltfed who is going to walk me through the building process and make sure i don't screw anything up or hurt myself.

Finalygotabeltfed said:
Iris,

Check your PM......got a surprise for you.
 

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don't sweat it

the first time you try anything it seams harder. heating the rivets is a waste of time and gas. it helps to have a spare pair of hands
 

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If you have to attach both the left and right side plates to the bottom plate, the BlackBear rivet set has exactly the right number of rivets - no extras for practice. Its worth spending a buck or two for some 3/16 annealed rod and practicing. Drill some 3/16 holes in a piece of scrap bar stock, cut off some rod so it sticks out of the hole 1/8 - 5/32, set in on the anvil (or plate on a concrete floor) and Bash away - you can't hurt the concave on that rivet tool. You should get nice round heads. Everything else I'd say has already been said.

MSG
 

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You have to have an adequate bucking block behind those small ones.

Also, to compliment the build tutorial there is a riveting tutorial under misc tutorials on the home page. Also, as a sticky on this forum is a thread labeled build checklist which gives some more insight.

One advantage of using a muffler gun for the small domed rivets is that you can lay the receiver on a block of wood so you don't deform the rivets on the opposite side and it will do the hammering for you...as long as you have a helper hold it down the gun will cycle the blows so quickly you don't get any bounce. With a manual hammer you almost have to lay it on an anvil or piece of steel with some mass and protect the opposite side rivet heads.

Good luck on finishing your build.
 
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