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Josh Smith

Rebuilding a Boat -- Rivets? Or Better Option?

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Hello,

 

I'm currently rebuilding the boat Dad and I used during my childhood. It's a Smokercraft Big Fisherman aluminum boat.

 

When my friend and I tore out the wood floor, we had to remove the live well, storage area, and rear seat to do it. This involved drilling rivets out.

 

Now, I've been trained as an auto tech. However, in auto technology, we just always replaced rivets with screws. I've never been a fan of rivets as they're too hard to take apart for routine maintenance.

 

However, this thing's not coming back apart.

 

What do I need to use to put it back together? I've never in my life used the types of rivets they used. I have used pop rivets and have some of 'em, but I really doubt that would work as some of them will be submerged and need to be water tight.

 

What's the best way to go about doing this?

 

Regards,

Josh

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I would install solid rivets everywhere possible using a pneumatic rivet gun with the proper rivet set. This process is easier with two people, one working the rivet gun while one holds the bucking bar.

 

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Rivets or threadserts

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Unless you are extremely good with a TIG welder, it looks like you are about to learn the art of installing solid rivets.  Just understand, anything you use will either need to be aluminum or stainless, ABSOLUTELY NO GALVANICED.  Galvanize against aluminum will corroded the aluminum and create much larger holes to fix.

You could probably use a button head stainless screw with nuts, but make sure you use red 271 locktite and a dab of marine silicon 5200 under them.  However, there's still a chance some might still a little

Not too many automobiles operate below the water line, so replacing rivets with screws is no big deal there.

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Aluminum rivets only. I would study how to rivet aluminum using solid rivets and practice with a sheet the thickness as your boat hull. You are basically cold forming the rivet stem with a setting tool and backing the rivet head.

Good luck,

Tom

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All of the above......

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Thanks, guys.

 

In researching, I'm seeing a lot of folks riveting these with closed-end pop rivets and rivet burrs. Why can I not use these?

 

Don't get me wrong; I have nothing against a new tool purchase :D I just have experience with pop rivets, and already have a pop rivet tool.

 

Regards,

Josh

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Pop rivets have poor tension strength & not much shear strength but do what ya want.

 

I come from an aerospace back ground where pop rivets are frowned upon.

 

I would rather use bolts-n-nuts with red 271 locktite and a dab of marine silicon 5200 under the head.

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Cherry Max rivets are a blind fastener and are widely used in aircraft.   Solid rivets are great if you have the experience/ tools necessary to properly install them.  If you do not have the experience with solid fasteners I would recommend cherry max rivets installed wet/sealer.  You can make a real mess of things trying to install solid fasteners, they have a learning curve associated with them.  Clean round holes of the proper size are critical.  Check your grip length and order your fasteners accordingly.

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@Heartland Cherry max rivets will probably cost more than solid rivets & require a specialized gun to shoot. 

 

Solid rivets aint that hard to in stall but like I mentioned it's easier with two people.

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I have a hard time seeing how a pop rivet can create and maintain the compression pressure installing a solid rivet can.  I just see them as being probable leaks once the aluminum has vibrated and flexed the way it will be when running down the lake after a few months.

To install solid rivets, it takes usually takes a minimum of three hands, especially if they are in a corner or area where you can't get a clean, flat lick with a hammer. 

One other thing you have to be aware of, if the repair is on the bottom of the boat and in the path of the sonar transducer, heads protruding from anything will create a turbulence that can totally screw up you sonar display. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Catt said:

@Heartland Cherry max rivets will probably cost more than solid rivets & require a specialized gun to shoot. 

 

Solid rivets aint that hard to in stall but like I mentioned it's easier with two people.

Cherry Max hand puller will cost you about 100 dollars.  Rivets are comparably expensive, but offer consistency and ease of use.   Been an A&P for more years than I care to disclose.

 
 
 
2
15 minutes ago, Way2slow said:

I have a hard time seeing how a pop rivet can create and maintain the compression pressure installing a solid rivet can.  I just see them as being probable leaks once the aluminum has vibrated and flexed the way it will be when running down the lake after a few months.

To install solid rivets, it takes usually takes a minimum of three hands, especially if they are in a corner or area where you can't get a clean, flat lick with a hammer. 

One other thing you have to be aware of, if the repair is on the bottom of the boat and in the path of the sonar transducer, heads protruding from anything will create a turbulence that can totally screw up you sonar display. 

 

But yet we assemble aircraft with them......

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43 minutes ago, Heartland said:

Been an A&P for more years than I care to disclose.

 

Licensed A&P mechanic, Certified Manufacturing Engineer specializing in metallurgy.

 

Down here one can rent a rivet gun, rivet sets, & bucking bars.

 

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1 hour ago, Way2slow said:

I have a hard time seeing how a pop rivet can create and maintain the compression pressure installing a solid rivet can.  I just see them as being probable leaks once the aluminum has vibrated and flexed the way it will be when running down the lake after a few months.

To install solid rivets, it takes usually takes a minimum of three hands, especially if they are in a corner or area where you can't get a clean, flat lick with a hammer. 

One other thing you have to be aware of, if the repair is on the bottom of the boat and in the path of the sonar transducer, heads protruding from anything will create a turbulence that can totally screw up you sonar display. 

 

What do you consider an acceptable KSI?

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Don't know what KSI is.

Not an aircraft or boat engineer. I do have a EE but don't really think that applies to anything here.

I just figure the engineers and companies that build these things know what works and don't work, and I've never seen one assembled with anything other than welding or solid rivets. 

Back when I was young and dumb, I tried various redneck short cuts and almost every time they ended up leaking.

With age came wisdom and decided maybe those people that build the things knew what worked best and started using solid rivets or TIG weld for repairs, patches etc.  Rarely did I have a leak afterwards and the few I did have were easily fixed with a couple more taps on the rivet. 

So, as I been known to say many times before, it's your boat, you can repair it how you please, you can use zip ties and silicon for all I care. 

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10 hours ago, Way2slow said:

Don't know what KSI is.

Not an aircraft or boat engineer. I do have a EE but don't really think that applies to anything here.

I just figure the engineers and companies that build these things know what works and don't work, and I've never seen one assembled with anything other than welding or solid rivets. 

Back when I was young and dumb, I tried various redneck short cuts and almost every time they ended up leaking.

With age came wisdom and decided maybe those people that build the things knew what worked best and started using solid rivets or TIG weld for repairs, patches etc.  Rarely did I have a leak afterwards and the few I did have were easily fixed with a couple more taps on the rivet. 

So, as I been known to say many times before, it's your boat, you can repair it how you please, you can use zip ties and silicon for all I care. 

Solid rivets are fantastic for a lot of things like structural repair and assembly, but if you just have a leaking rivet or two there are much easier solutions than a rivet gun and bucking bar.   Like you said it is your boat fix it how you want, weld it, shoot it full of solid rivets or stick a carrot in the hole for all I care.

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57 minutes ago, Heartland said:

Solid rivets are fantastic for a lot of things like structural repair and assembly

 

@Josh Smith is reassembling a nice section of the boat.

 

Josh, being mechanical inclined you would be able to handle solid rivets. If prefer not to bolt-n-nut will be structurally fine.

 

Most importantly with rivets of any kind or bolts is proper fastener diameter to hole diameter. Even if you have to open the hole diameter up one possible two sizes.

 

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