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BillMoran 05-12-2018 06:15 PM

Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
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?

capta 05-12-2018 07:15 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
I have a cheap rivet tool and I really should just throw it out, 'cause it doesn't do the job well. However, as you are posturing, I so seldom need a rivet tool, it seems a waste to buy an expensive one. Until I do need it!
I have 7 different tool kits, and a bunch of others tools, like both manual and hydraulic crimpers for cable/wire to 2/0 and a 4 ton Porta-Power, stashed about the boat; the frequently used tools are in a tool box in the engine room. Most I use so rarely I often forget I have them until I need them.
So it seems I, a pack rat, am the wrong one to ask. lol

KayakerChuck 05-12-2018 07:46 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
I use the el cheapo one. It will pull 3/16 SS rivets. I won't be fun, but it will do the job. If you haven't found more need for pop rivets, spend the extra money on something more useful. The others work better, but for a handful of rivets, I wouldn't worry about the cheapie.

(I only use el cheapo when I forget my hydraulic pop rivet tool at the shop.)

Edit- DO NOT MASH YOUR FINGERS BETWEEN THE GRIPS. On the plus side, it is self correcting. You will not forget ;-)

ggray 05-12-2018 07:54 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
The second two mentioned can set a bigger rivet.

contrarian 05-12-2018 08:53 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
Arrow RHT300 should be all you would ever need, well that and an assortment of rivets. It's not like you are going to be riveting all day every day and if you were you wouldn't be using a manual riveter. So unless you've just got money to burn spend the 25 or 30 bucks for this one and save your money for a quality cordless drill with an assortment of quality bits. There's a little Makita that's B.A. for $250 or so.

Rocky Mountain Breeze 05-12-2018 10:37 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
For a handy rivet tool you need a tool with a long snout so you can get into tight places, also with long handles so you have the leverage to properly install stainless rivets, interchangeable guides so you can set smaller or larger rivets, and one with a ratcheting mechanism is handy too. You should be able to get all of these features plus an assortment of rivets and a storage case for under $50.

SeaStar58 05-12-2018 11:11 PM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
Unless your working in a very confined space there is no need for the swivel and the more plain version long nose Arrow that is less than $20 will do the job. Nice thing about the cheaper ones is that if you need to grind down the nose piece to get into a countersunk casting you aren't risking that much of an investment.

I have the cast knockoff of the plain long nose Arrow which I purchased at Harbor Freight about 30 years ago for less than $10 and despite some fairly heavy commercial usage it still works well.

aeventyr60 05-13-2018 12:41 AM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
10 buck version working fine after 20 years..used mostly for the rivets that connect the roller furling extrusions together.. A Schaefer unit..which is a real pain in the ass to get the rivets out when changing the wire.

MarkofSeaLife 05-13-2018 02:50 AM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
In 10 years cruising I have popped about 10 rivets.
I bought a $10 or $15 popper that included a bag of rivets.

Yes you need to squeeze pretty hard..... Once per year.

Go a cheapy.

Spend no money on junk you'll never use because cruisibg is VERY expensive as it is.

MarkofSeaLife 05-13-2018 02:56 AM

Re: Riveter: what's it worth paying for?
In fact here's the exact one I have... But my Handel is red so it's faster...

£8 = US$11

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