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How to Measure a Rivet

Using a Rivet Gauge to Measure a Rivetrivet gauge

Many of our customers get in contact with us and ask us how to measure rivets. We used to find rivets annoying to measure ourselves, until we found this. This rivet measuring gauge is perfect for measuring rivets. We are so sure that it’s the perfect measuring tool we use it ourselves in our warehouse.

Made of sturdy plastic, this tool comes with preset sizes and lengths used to measure all kinds of rivets. So, where should we begin?

Understanding a Rivet

Rivets are odd-looking fasteners composed of two parts. The hat and the mandrel. The hat is the short stubby side which needs to be measured for its length and diameter. The mandrel is the long thin end that is pulled off of the rivet during the installation process.

To understand what size rivet you will need you need to determine the diameter of the hole to be filled and the material installation thickness. You then need to find a rivet size that fits this range.

Measuring a Rivet Using the Gaugemeasuring rivet diameter

So, first things first, we are going to place the hat of the rivet into the circular holes on the rivet gauge. The holes represent different diameters that rivets come in. When you place the rivet into the hole it should be a snug fit. If you have a lot of wiggle room then you are probably in a size that is too big. On the other side, if you cannot fit the hat into the hole the hole is probably too small. The diameter of our test rivet was 4.

Next we are going to measure the length of the rivet. insert the hat into the open-ended top areas. You will want to make sure the rivet’s washer or flange area is pressed up against measuring rivet lengththe top of the plastic. As you can see from our example, the first section did not properly house the hat of our example rivet so we had to check the next size up. After checking that we determined that our length was 4.

This rivet is a #4-4.

What Comes Next?

Now that you know the size of your rivet you can find out what range it fits to determine if it is the proper rivet to fit your needs.

For everything you will ever need to know about rivets we have compiled all of our information about rivets onto our free Fasteners 101: Rivets Guide Resource. Please check it out to find any information you are looking for.

If you are interested in buying one of these tools, check out our Rivet Gauge page to learn more.

Tool: Rivet Gauge

Rivet Installation Guide

How Do I Install A Rivet?

It’s a question many people ask the first time they see a rivet and not one that’s incredibly easy to explain. Today we will show you how to install a rivet, but first, we need to determine what tools we will need for the job.

The Tools You Need

  • Riveter
  • Rivets
  • Drill
  • Drill Bits

Installing Your First Rivet

hand riveter

The first thing to do when installing a rivet is to choose the appropriate tool for the job. There are many different riveting tools but we find that for day to day use, a simple hand riveter will do nicely. If you plan on installing a large number of rivets, check out this Battery Operated Rivet Tool and our review of a similar tool here.

The next step is to use your drill and drill bit to create a hole in the materials you plan on fastening together.

After drilling the hole its time to prep the rivet for install. All you do is slide the mandrel (longer thin end of a rivet) into the hand riveter until it sits against the flange.

After the rivet is placed into the hand riveter you place the hat of the rivet (the end still sticking out of the tool) through the hole. Now while keeping pressure against the rivet so it stays all the way in the hole, squeeze the handle.

install a rivet    installed rivet

When you squeeze the handle several things happen at once. The tool bites down on the mandrel and begins to pull it backwards. As it does, the mandrel, which starts in the hat of the rivet is pulled through the hat towards the riveter tool. As the mandrel is pulled through the hat the hat expands creating a fat end which can no longer slide through the hole. Once the maximum torque is reached the mandrel snaps and leaves only the hat and flange behind.

installed rivet (front)installed rivet (back)

Above are images from the front and back of 6 installed rivets. The image on the left is the front of the rivet which is what is exposed once the installation is complete. The picture on the right is the back (blind) side of the installed rivet.


As you can see, installing a rivet is a simple process that can be difficult to explain. You should also note that rivets need to be sized based off the thickness they are being installed into. If you do not choose a rivet in the correct grip range your rivet will either be loose or try to expand into the hole during installation.

Need more rivet information? Check out our Free Rivet Guide. We have compiled helpful videos, charts, grip ranges and other useful information to make rivet installation a breeze!

How Do You Protect A Door From a Hurricane?

Hurricane Protection For Doors

With a number of record breaking hurricanes striking North America in the past few months, we’ve had many customers call in or email asking us what kind of equipment, hardware and fasteners they should buy to protect their doors during a hurricane. After some research, we set out with our fastener expert to demonstrate how to and build a temporary emergency hurricane barrier for our door.  We built this door cover with materials you may have handy in your garage, basement, or workshop.

tools for hurricane protection

The Tools & Materials

The first thing we had to do was get the tools we needed for the job. We decided on a list (see below) of simple tools that are common and not some fancy “hurricane protection kits” that we have seen popping up. We’ve also linked them to our website so you can find out more about them.

Step One

Now that we have all of the tools we need assembled, our first step was to cut our 2 x 4s to length. We recommend having two pieces running down each side and one piece on top to prevent anything from falling in from the top.

frame for door protection

The 2 x 4s, our fastener expert explained, are there to add space between the door and the plywood because the handle and lock stick out too far. This means we cannot simply press the plywood against the door archway as it will not sit evenly. This method allows you to cover the door without needing to remove the hardware you will use to lock it.  He then proceeded to flip the plywood on top and align the boards beneath to the edges. The Wood screws were then places around the edges of the plywood roughly 3 feet apart. He told us these screws actually aren’t very important as they are only holding the 2x4s to the plywood so we can properly install it.

Step 2

Hammer Drilling frame into door

The next step was to press the plywood over the door with the 2x4s facing the door. The added extra space in front of the door which in turn allowed the door knob to fit nicely. Taking the Hammer Drill and SDS Concrete Drill Bit, he then proceeded to drill 3 holes into each side of the plywood (directly through the 2×4’s). We recommends 10 or more per side. But use as many as makes you comfortable.

Step 3

Now that you have your holes you can take your impact drill and hex driver to work. Use the hex driver to drive the Tapcon screws through the wood into the concrete. We recommend at least an inch and a half to two inches of length be placed into the concrete for a proper and secure hold.  It is important to always comply with local building code, we also recommend researching if your town or city has specific requirements, however keep in mind that this is a temporary fix and would not be installed as a permanent hurricane shutter or guard.

screwing masonry screws into the hurricane protection


Once the hurricane is over, these Tapcon screws can be removed easily with the hex driver. Then the wood fixture can be stored for the next hurricane or simply used for other projects you may have.

Safety Considerations

Albany County Fasteners wants to help make your house as safe as possible during a hurricane.  Hurricanes are unpredictable and mother nature is not a force to be taken lightly. You should always follow the directions given by leaders, law enforcement and the government and evacuate or leave the area during a hurricane and go somewhere safe until it has passed.

While we have shown you a way we believe to be sufficient to protect your doors, it is impossible to know what is going to happen and we can only prepare for the worst. If the storm coming your way is strong, add additional plywood sheets or thickness to your installation to make it as durable as possible and resist penetration.

temporary hurricane protection door - DIY

Threaded Inserts for Wood – Brass Inserts

Brass Threaded Inserts for Wood

threaded inserts for wood

We hear all the time about how people don’t get threaded inserts. Well today we are going to discuss how to install brass threaded inserts into wood. Lets start with the tools you will need:

Threaded Inserts

Threaded inserts are fasteners that are driven into a material (in this case wood) which house internal threads for a fastener to screw into. Threaded inserts have their own cutting threads designed to cut into the installation material and provide a strong hold.

spade bits

They are mostly used in situations where the fastener will need to be installed and removed multiple times. In a normal situation this process would destroy the installation hole requiring that new ones be drilled. But with these inserts you can tighten or loosen fasteners with ease over and over in the same hole.

Step 1

The first and most important step in any installation is making sure you are wearing the appropriate safety gear! So since we will be drilling and working with sharp objects lets first get our safety goggles and gloves on! Now that we have our gear on let’s get started.

The first thing we need to do is get a spade drill bit. Spade bits are made specifically for boring holes. When you start drilling the hole you will notice that the but has a tendency to bounce around. To prevent this wobbling effect we recommend drilling at a very slow speed.

Step 2brass threaded insert installation

Once you’ve drilled your hole your going to take the E-Z Lok Drive tool, or Flathead driver bit, and set it in your drill. The threaded inserts have two breaks along the top of the insert where you can fit a slotted screwdriver but we recommend using the E-Z Lok tool. This tool fits snug into the gaps making driving these inserts much easier.

You’re going to want to hold the insert and fit it as straight into the hole as you can. It is critical that the insert goes into the hole as straight as possible so your fastener can also sit flat once installed. It may also cause chipping of the wood

Step 3

fastener install into brass threaded inserts

Continue driving until the threaded insert is flush with the surface. Now just line up your new material over the hole and begin tightening your fastener into place.

How to Remove a Spinning Rivet

Removing a Spinning RivetSpinning Rivet

We frequently get calls about trying to remove worn rivets. What we’ve found is that the most frequent problem our customers have with removing them is that they are loose in their holes and spin when they attempt to drill them out.

We asked our fastener expert to help us understand this dilemma and to give us a few tips on how we might be able to fix the problem. He came up with two methods for removing them. Once we suited up with our safety gear (glasses and gloves) we set out to test these methods. The answer it turns out, is much simpler than you might imagine.

Method 1

We are going to start with the method that is harder first. All it requires is a drill, a drill bit, and a slotted or Flathead screwdriver.

To begin locate the loose rivet and slide the slotted head of the screwdriver behind the rivet head. You will need to leverage the screwdriver to exert a fair amount of pressure against the flange of the rivet to keep it from spinning. After its in place take your drill and begin screwing through the rivet slowly. You should be able to work through the rivet and drill it out.

Flathead spinning rivet     adding pressure to a spinning rivet

The Good and The Bad

We like this method because it allows the used to only need a Flathead screwdriver which is typically a tool that is readily available on most job sites or in homes.

What we didn’t like is that if you do not have something to leverage the screwdriver against you will not be able to create the necessary pressure to hold the rivet in place. It also requires that one hand be on the drill and the other is holding pressure on the screwdriver. Also, if the rivet begins to spin then the screwdriver may slip and cause scratching on the surface material. You can remedy this situation by placing duct or blue painters tape over the surface of the screwdriver head but, at that point, we might as well recommend method number 2.

Method 2

The second method he recommended to us was to use a piece of painters tape over the rivet to hold it in place, or better yet duct tape. We tested both and found they both work quite well but duct tape does have a better hold. Simply place a patch of duct tape over the rivet and press down on it to make sure it creates a sturdy bond. Once the tape is on it you can easily see the rivet through the tape. Simply place the drill into the center and begin drilling.

The Good and The Bad

We liked this method because it allowed us to keep both hands focused on one task and does not require having a leverage point.

We didn’t like that you would need to have access to duct tape or painters tape which still may be readily available but less frequently. Also if you plan on using duct tape you should determine if the material you are working on will be damaged by the duct tape.

Duct tape spinning rivet drilling duct tape rivets

Our Choice

In the end, we decided the convenience of having both hands focused on one task was winning factor. The Rivets are less likely to spin with properly applied tape and it makes removing spinning rivets a breeze.

If you need any more information on rivets check out our Free Fasteners 101: Rivet Resource Guide and let us know if there is anything we forgot to add!

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