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Two piece Tubular rivets
This is the most popular type of rivet. It consists of a stem and a cap. Holes are made in the pieces of leather to be joined and the stem is placed on a hard anvil. A block of steel is ideal, wood is not hard enough. The pieces of leather are then placed over the stem of the rivet with 2 or 3 mm protruding. The cap is then placed on the stem and will usually click into place. A rivet setter is then put over the cap and hit firmly with a hammer. The stem will mushroom inside the cap and form a permanent bond.
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Two piece tubular rivets come in two forms, single capped and double capped. A single capped rivet is smooth on the front (cap) side and the stem has a small hollow in its base. A double capped rivet has a smooth finish on both front and back.

Two piece tubular rivets are normally made from steel and are commonly available in nickel plated (silvery) finish and brass plated (gold colour) some are available in gunmetal (antique/almost black)

Machine rivets
These rivets must be fixed by machine, normally a foot operated press fitted with suitable machine tools. They are self piercing and cheap after the initial outlay for tooling.
They are made from steel and are available in nickel plate, brass plate, and gunmetal.

Saddlers copper rivets
These are a traditional rivet and are although they are slow to fix and rather crude in appearance they are very strong. They are made from solid copper. They consist of a stem and a washer. Holes are made in the leather to be joined and the stem is placed on a solid steel anvil. The leather is placed over the stem and the washer placed over the point of the stem. The washer is a very tight fit and must be driven down the stem with a copper rivet setting tool. The protruding stem is then cut off 3mm above the washer. The stem must now be mushroomed over the washer and this is done with a ball peen hammer. By tap-tap-tap-tap-tapping many times round the cut edge of the rivet stem a smooth round dome is produced which traps the washer below.


Choosing a Rivet