Jewelry Making Techniques: How to Use Wire & Snap Rivets


Riveting is the most popular cold connection technique in jewelry making today. Riveting allows the artist to join metal sheet or blanks without the use of heat or soldering. You can start riveting with a small number of  tools and materials. It is a great way to enhance hand stamped jewelry and build your metal forming skills. These instructions are a useful reference for beginners. There are also many instructional videos available on YouTube and jewelry publication websites.

We also offer a new riveting tool kit XH2 that  is ideal for jewelers who already have some jewelry tools for hand stamping or basic metal work. The kit includes the following additional essentials for riveting:

XH2 - Riveting Supply Kit

  • Riveting Hammer
  • Vise
  • Shear Wire Cutters
  • Reamer set
  • File
  • Wire segments for making rivets
  • Heart shaped rivet charms for embellishment
  • Snap rivets

Other items NOT included in the kit but required for riveting include:

  • Bench Block
  • Screw Punch, plier punch or metal drill set
  • Metal sheet or blanks – raw materials for your jewelry creations

You can also order just the 35 pc. riveting sampler set XH1 separately to receive segments of heavy gauge copper & brass wire as well as snap rivets and heart shaped rivet charms.

MAKING A WIRE RIVET  

  1. Punch or drill a hole in your metal piece(s) to accommodate the wire rivet.
    You will need a 1.2mm hole for 18ga wire
    You will need a 1.6mm hole for 16ga wire
    You will need a 2.3mm hole for 14ga wire
    Finer wires are not recommended. They will not form secure rivets.
  2. The hole can be slightly larger than your wire segment since you will be creating rivet heads to secure the metal.
  3.  If your hole needs to be slightly enlarged insert a reamer and use it to widen the opening by filing or grinding the edges. However, if the hole is significantly larger than your wire you will need a larger gauge riveting wire.
  4. Cut your wire to the appropriate length. You will need approximately 2mm of length on either side of the metal you are joining to create strong rivets.
  5. File the ends of your wire segment so they are flat cross-section surfaces. If the end is angled or pinched you will not be able to form a strong rivet.
  6. Insert the wire segment into your bench vise so that about 2mm is sticking out above the vise surface. Tighten the vise.
  7. To create a rivet head strike the top of the wire with the chiseled end of the rivet hammer. Rotate slightly and strike again. This technique will flare the metal out from the wire rod. Repeat rotating your hammer and striking the top of the wire until you have created a nail head formation
  8.  Once you are satisfied with your nail head, flip the hammer over to the flat, square shaped side and strike the rivet to flatten the surface.
  9. Insert this rivet into your punched metal pieces to be joined. Be sure to leave about 2mm of wire to create the back of the rivet. Trim any excess from the unformed end.
  10. Now put the assembled metal and rivet onto your bench block with the first riveted end facing down.
  11. Securely hold the assembly or tape it to your bench block so it does not move.
  12. Form a nail head on the back side by using the striking and rotating technique with your riveting hammer.
  13. Switch to the flat side of your hammer to tighten the rivet down and secure the metal assembly.

USING P40 SERIES SNAP RIVETS 

  1. P40 Series Rivets Punch a hole in your metal piece(s) to accommodate the snap rivet. You will need a 2.5mm hole. You can use the large side of a screw hole punch (item X402) and then enlarge the hole a little bit with a reamer (item X274)
  2. Snap rivets have 2pcs, a top and a bottom. Insert your snap rivet through the metal pieces to be joined and insert into the bottom piece of the rivet.
  3.  Place the assembly on your bench block (item X525)
  4. Use a flat hammer head such as a household hammer, the flat end of a riveting hammer or a stamping hammer to strike the top of the rivet with 1-2 hammer blows.
  5. This will “snap” the rivet together so it cannot be disassembled.

Halstead Bead


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