What is the best method to remove pop rivets from a boom to replace a worn-out clam cleat? And what type and size of rivets should I use to replace the hardware?
Tom Wood responds:
The only way I know to remove pop rivets is to drill the head off and push them in. Use a sharp twist bit just a bit bigger than the center holesteel for aluminum pop rivets and cobalt for stainless steel. Drill with a slow speed and lots of pressure.
Unfortunately, unless the boom (or mast or spinnaker pole for that matter) has one end open, the old rivets will rattle around inside for the rest of their lives.
If you are replacing the old cleat with an identical new one, all you need now is the cleat, a handful of rivets, and a pop-rivet gun. Coat the back of the cleat in Lanacote and smear a little on each rivet before installation to prevent corrosion.
Cheers, Tom Wood
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