Riveting from one side only

An ingenious fastener that sparked a revolution

A blind rivet, sometimes called a pop rivet, is tubular with a mandrel through the centre. Blind rivets are mainly used when the joint is accessible from one side only.

The FTS RT 10 hand riveter is a well-made tool that should last a lifetime of use. It costs R180 including VAT from Builders Warehouse.

The rivet is inserted into the drilled hole and a riveting tool slipped over the shaft. Under hand pressure, specially hardened jaws grip the mandrel shaft, pulling the mandrel head into the rivet body, expanding the rivet body and causing it to flare against the reverse side.

At a predetermined force, the mandrel snaps at its break point. This forms a very tight joint.

Some types of blind rivet, however, have non-locking mandrels and are unsuitable for critical structural joints as the mandrel may fall out due to vibration or other reasons, leaving a hollow rivet with a lower load-carrying capability than a solid rivet.
Before blind rivets became available, installing a solid rivet required access to both sides of the assembly: a rivet hammer on one side and a bucking bar on the other side.

Blind rivets are made from soft aluminium alloy, steel (including stainless steel), copper and Monel.

They are available ith flat heads, countersunk heads and modified flush heads in various lengths in standard metric and imperial sizes. There’s an array of speciality blind rivets for specific applications. For example, a TriFold rivet splits into three equal legs like a molly bolt. It is typically used in soft plastics requiring a wide footprint at the rear surface.

A structural rivet is designed to take specific tensile and shear loads. It is an ‘externally’ mechanically locked blind rivet for a watertight, vibration- resistant joint and requires a special nosepiece to apply .

The Industrial Riveter (RT-10) by FTS Industries is a plier-type rivet setting tool suitable for home repairs. It takes rivets from 2,4mm to 4,8mm. The chain retaining the latch keeps the handles in the closed position for storage and enables it to be carried safely in your pocket. There’s also an accessory hand tool, a combination screwdriver and wrench to tighten and remove the four screw-in nosepiece adaptors.

Remember to make sure to use the correct size rivet. It must fit the nosepiece precisely and smoothly, or else it may jam the jaws so tightly that it cannot be removed, turning the now-useless tool into an interesting paperweight.