Some background: As I refit the boat, I'm slowly trying to acquire the tools I'll need/want once I'm full-time cruising.
A lot of these are easy decisions. Needs lots of tools relating to the engine, electrical, and fiberglass work. I feel it's totally worth the money to invest in good quality tools for things like that that I'll need often, and may need in an emergency.
So, now I'm about to install my new radar, and it's designed to be mounted to the mast with 3/16" pop rivets.
I don't have a pop rivet tool, and at that size, there are a few interesting choices, such as the cheapo Lowes deal:
The slightly more expensive heavy-duty Lowes deal:
Or, the hog-wild high-end pantograph model with cruise control and heated bucket seats:
Now, let me say that I'm not afraid of spending $150 on a tool that I will need and use. But I haven't seen a whole lot of need for riveting as I've worked on the boat this winter. If I buy the cheapo tool and it's a PoS and I just throw it away after installing the radar, would I regret not having it at some point? It's just one of those tools where it's not immediately obvious if I'll need it ever again after this one use.
Unfortunately, I also can't find a tool rental place that will rent me one, and I can't seem to find any friends that have one of that size to borrow.
So, to those who have been cruising and/or owned their boats for a long period of time: how often do you need a pop rivet tool? Do you find the more expensive ones to be worth the money?