Replacing the rivets

I have been asked so many times why I initially assemble the armour using blind 'pop' rivets and how one should go about their replacement, that I have decided to devote a whole page to the subject of riveting the plates.

The blind rivets are much easier to use for initial assembly and, more importantly, are very easy to remove by simply drilling out - which only takes a couple of seconds. The first time I make a piece from a pattern inevitably it is necessary to carry out a number of alterations to the shape of the various sections as assembly takes place. This necessitates having to dis-assemble sections of the piece, sometimes a number of times, before I'm happy with the final articulation. This task is made much quicker by using the blind 'pop' rivets initially - and only when I am quite satisfied that I have got the piece right do I substitute the blind rivets for conventional steel ones. Sometimes this is not until the whole armour is complete - as is the case with this armour.

Round-headed 4mm x 4mm mild steel annealed rivets are used to replace the aluminium rivets. These most closely resemble those found in surviving medieval armours. The aluminium rivet is drilled out and the steel rivet substituted. The plates being joined are held together with the round head of the rivet resting on the anvil. The rounded end of the small ball-pien hammer is used to create a mushrooming of the rivet and in Fig. a this process has just started.

Fig. a

As piening takes place the rivet is progressively pulled through the plates drawing them together. In Fig. b this is complete.

Fig. b

For articulation the plates are not drawn together as tightly as fixed plates. Some advocate drilling a hole slightly larger in diameter than that of the rivet being used, or using a washer. I have found that neither is really necessary as long as one takes care not to pien the rivet too aggressively. Figs. c & d show the inner aspect of the shell articulation of the elbow with the steel rivets pienned.

Fig. c

Fig. d

The remaining two images on this page show sections of the armour with their steel rivets complete.

Fig. eFig. f

The next page shows the completed armour.

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