Acorn to Arabella: Setting Homemade Rivets

When Steve and Alix couldn’t find rivets that met their high standards for constructing their Atkins ketch, Arabella, they did what any sensible backyard boatbuilder does – they made them!  It’s probably not surprising that the young pair, who have harvested their family grown trees for planking and smelted their own lead keel from scrap, have decided to make their own 1/4 inch square copper rivets to hang Arabella’s planks.   Using copper bar stock and a 32-ton press with a die, Alix and Steve now have the beefy rivets they were looking for! Some of you may have contributed your muscle to their formation, as the pair dragged around their rivet making set-up to the Jamestown Distributors Tent Sale in April and to a few other shows.  Their fortitude and determination are very inspiring and we hope that even if you’re not growing your own trees and making your own copper rivets, that you enjoy seeing the Acorn to Arabella series of videos showing us how these two are impressively and quite literally “banging out” this boat!


3 responses to “Acorn to Arabella: Setting Homemade Rivets

  1. I have seen copper rivets set up on white oak frames simply by bending over the square rivet on top of the rove as you would a nail that was too long and the point exposed to human traffic in a close space. Was workboat construction. Am not recommending it but mention it to let you know there are a wide range of practices that will actually work well and your method is also time tested and strong, will be mostly invisible behind the interior ceiling or sweat battens if you have them. Aircraft rivets are mostly in view on the exterior of the plane and benefit from the machine formation of the head.

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