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Rivet Making

You may have noticed my obsession with cold connections, I would rather rivet than solder any day.

In saying that, I do have a great admiration for people who can solder delicate layers together without melting them!

Most of my pieces are held together using rivets.
Sterling silver and 9ct gold wire are my favourite materials to use for rivets, often 1mm or 0.7mm thick wire.

I make each rivet using a short length of wire, held in flat-nosed pliers against a vice. I then beat the end of the wire into a flat round rivet head.

I like to use a large sturdy vice, designed for woodwork, not a tiny jeweler's vice, as the larger vice provides more stability. I have raised my vice up on slabs of wood until it is exactly the right height for me to maintain a good posture while riveting.

A small piece of leather in the vice protects the jewellery piece as I rivet it together.

The rivets are inserted through holes in the layers of handcut metal. I use drill bits that are 0.1mm larger than the rivet wire.

So for example if I am using a 1mm rivet, the rivet hole will be 1.1mm. I find this helps to avoid denting the metal layers.

After the rivets are inserted into the holes, I cut the other ends of the rivet wire, and hammer them flat. Countersinking the holes helps to keep the rivets looking neat, and also helps extend the longevity of the rivet.


Images by Bron Flutterby


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