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!

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One thought on “Rivet Installation Guide”

  1. Thanks for the reminder that I should also be mindful of the size of the rivets that I will use. I want to buy metric fasteners soon because I plan to look for a good way to make it easier to work on projects in my workshops. If I have a lot of parts stocked up, I wouldn’t need to do a lot of shopping in the future.

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