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Old 04-14-2013
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Re: Pop rivets: AL vs SS

In addition to comments by others, it's a matter of engineering.

3/16-inch SS rivets are very common on many beach cats and easily outlast the boat, if properly applied. They do well when holding something thin (plate or flange) that will be purely in shear (mast hounds) and sometimes small blocks (1/4-inch line). They never seize (rather they are always drilled-out and it is easy). But they are quite susceptible to working loose if the force has a lifting component and can shear if they are not:
* installed tight
* holes drilled correctly
* load not evenly distributed
* enough; too few
* SS or monel. aluminum is simply too weak.

A matter of horses for courses. Tapped machine screws are better if the section is thick enough, nuts are better when possible, but rivets have a place in thin sections (dingies) where threads won't hold.
(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber

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