Picture of How To Make Rivets Out Of Nails
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This is how to make rivets out of nails. In the photo you can see them being used on a hatchet. These are easy to make and are pretty cheap.
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Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need
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13, 9:29 PM.jpg
13, 9:29 PM.jpg
13, 9:29 PM.jpg
You need -thick nails -a hammer -a hacksaw -a drill and drill bits as big as the nails -something to use it on

Step 2: Drilling

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Drill a hole through whatever you will use it on that is as wide as the nail

Step 3: Measuring

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Now you need to put a nail through the hole. Make a mark with a sharpie on the nail that is about 1/8 of an inch from the wood.

Step 4: Cut The Nail

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Cut the nail at the mark you made with a hacksaw.

Step 5: Finishing

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Put the nail through the hole again. Then hit the end until it mushrooms out and you can't pull the nail out. Make sure the nail doesn't bend. You could smooth it down until it is shiny, but I like the way it looks now

Step 6: Applications

Picture of Applications
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I have used rivets like these in many projects. One of my other instructables used it to hold a hatchet head to the handle and it worked perfectly. I have also used it to make knives.

Thanks, Krinkov. It is useful to know that.

gazumpglue1 year ago

You are both right. They are made of soft steel but they are also hard. The process of making them work hardens the nails. Just heat them up an let them cool in the air and they will be soft again.

chimplost1 year ago

Good idea,

Thanks, Krinkov. It is useful to know that.
sk8er61 year ago
DanW131 year ago
Brass/Copper would look as nice or nicer than a Nail but It's a Very neat idea….Ever thought to use the Tinners riveting tools to set the rivet & then round the other side ? Seems tht a Nail would be almost the same O.D as a Tinners rivet would'nt it ?
Its fantastic :)
Good idea,
rimar20002 years ago
Pardon, but the nails are made of hard iron, or soft steel. What you must use for domestic rivets is a soft metal, like mild iron, copper, aluminum or so. Anyway, your proposal is valid in extremis case.
You are both right. They are made of soft steel but they are also hard. The process of making them work hardens the nails. Just heat them up an let them cool in the air and they will be soft again.
Thanks, Krinkov. It is useful to know that.
I've been using rivets made from nails for years (mostly in building SCA armor). They work. But unless I missed a step here, you should do one more thing that addresses rimar2000's point: Anneal the nail. In the batches I generally work with, I just heat them to a nice bright yellow heat (and hold it there for a couple of minutes) with a propane torch. Heating them in your forge works, too. I anneal before cutting the points off, because that makes them easier to cut. Also, I usually clip them with heavy duty lineman's cutters; a hacksaw works, but is tedious when you're prepping a few dozen rivets.
i agree. and let's see that armor!( i intend to go to SCA one day but i'm geographically challenged).

nail steel is pretty soft, usually similar to 1010 or 1020 steel, it won't take temper and is fairly easy to cold work.

i disagree with rimar2000, i don't think you MUST use soft metals and it will weaken some constructions. this is what they did in the past (the presented method).

pop rivets do have aluminium body, but different application all together.
Well, enfieldbullet, you think different from me. This is a good thing.

I think nails are made of harder than 1020 steel, but I have not a way to verify that.
Yes, i don't mean to be rude, i just disagree.

Here in Brazil standards provided by Gerdau, the biggest steel company around, says that the steel used for nail manufacture is from 1008 to 1020. can't find more info on ISO or ICS though, a lot about other wires but not so much for nails.

there are hardened nails, but these are not common and cost more.

also we must consider that for ductility, which is needed in the nail making process, you want a low carbon content steel. also, if the nail comes under stress you want it to bend rather than break, which would also agree with lower carbon steel.
Well, if nails's steel is 1020, then rivet's iron is 1000. I often use iron rivets, and see that they are very soft compared with nails.

I insist that nails may be used as rivets for emergency cases, but they are usually too harsh. Surely making them a softening by heat are most appropriate.
Yeah, nail steel is pretty forgiving. Most of what I've used _does_ have enough carbon to take some temper though; certainly not knife-edge quality, of course. But if you manage to work-harden your framing nails, you're doing something wrong. [grin] Concrete nails _are_ pretty hard.

I gave away my old armor when I left the SCA. I still like messing around making stuff just for the heck of it though. This was my latest project, a couple of months ago: Mitten Gauntlets

These are pretty crude because I just got bored one evening and whipped them out in a couple of hours from scrap laying around. Didn't even use a proper pattern; just eyeballed it. Never got around to cleaning them up or mounting the straps and gloves. All the rivets started life as roofing nails (prepped as described: annealed, then clipped).

There're a few more how-to type articles on my site. Spangenhelm. Medieval shoes. Hand-made paper. Inks and pigments. Sundials. Mead. Other assorted stuff. (Lots of SCA anecdotal material.) I used to be active in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), so a lot of it is written from that perspective, and for that market.
these look great! i bet they'll polish up real nice.

my next in line is a mongolian bow, i'm still gathering all the materials first though.

had a few laughs reading through your site! cheers!
Good idea, I never did it. I have done rivets with nails, but as I said before, "in extremis case". They are too hard to use them comfortably. Anyway, it is not too difficult get iron rivets in hardware stores. Maybe you don't get the exact measure, but that obstacle occurs with nails too.
ceanes2 years ago
clever, thanks for sharing
pheenix422 years ago
Sir, we did this exact method back in my junior high metal shop class, some 35 years ago!....nice to see good ideas being used even today!
pfred22 years ago
I did this to put a new handle onto a machete quite a few years ago. It works well. I use plain nails, not roofing nails.
This is a good tip, thanks for sharing.