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Thread: Rivets for sheaths

  1. #1
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    Rivets for sheaths


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    I am a hobbyist knifemaker, and I usually make my own sheathes. I sometimes like to put rivets at the stress points, but I've had some failures, especially trying to use (misuse?) Tandy double cap rivets. In doing searches for rivets for leatherwork, I get a lot of mumbo jumbo of terms I do not know. Is there a rivet made for leather work that compresses and is (nearly) bombproof? What are they called, and can someone point me to a vendor?

    Thanks

    Phiil705
    Winthrop, WA

  2. #2
    If you have the room for them, (the heads are about 1/2" in diameter) try "copper rivets and burrs". McMaster-Carr calls them "Wide-Countersunk Head Solid Rivets with Bearing Washer", but you can find them lots of places like harness making suppliers, I've even seen them at OSH Hardware stores. They come in a few different body diameters and lots of lengths, I mostly use #9 or 10 for reinforcing tool pouches or putting buckles on straps. Punch a hole, put a rivet through that's about 1/4" longer than the thickness of what you are joining, rest the head of the rivet on an anvil, hammer the washer or burr firmly down the shaft of the rivet (you can buy a special tool, or use a piece of small diameter pipe or a rod with a hole drilled in the end), cut of the excess with a wire cutters, and peen the end of the rivet with a little ball-peen hammer. These are very strong, but probably overkill on a sheath for anything but a huge knife

  3. #3
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    Many long time sheath makers will argue that a rivet does not make a stronger sheath. It isn't that the rivet isn't strong - that is obvious - it is the leather around it.

    You have to remove leather to get the rivet in - and the tendency to tear out that leather around the rivet is just as much as with stitching. I have always been taught that a good double stitch at a stress point is as good as, if not better, than a rivet.

    TF

  4. #4
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    Thanks for both repies. Sometimes I like rivets for looks as well as reinforcement, but good point about double stitching. I am looking for a smaller diameter rivet than 1/2", probably 3/8" max, but everything else about the rivet sounds great.

  5. #5
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    Here is what Mahoney is talking about - from Tandy.

    http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/e...s/1294-92.aspx

    TF

  6. #6
    Actually here's what I'm talking about from Tandy

    http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/e...11280-006.aspx

    The tubular rivet is not as resistant to pull-out, and must be set with a "splash tool" which forms the end of the tube into sort of a star or flower shape with the ends of the petals curled down into the leather. It is smaller and more attractive from the front than a "rivet & burr", I don't really care for the look from the back, but I use them sometimes on stuff that's not subjected to high stress.

    Also, the 2 part rivets mentioned in the OP are a bit picky about how much thickness you are joining. Too thick and the male part will not upset fully into the female and the rivet will not lock together well, something I've learned the hard way. If the male part projects through the compressed leather about 1/8" or so they should work well, although they still are made from very light metal so their strength is still limited

  7. #7
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    I think I agree with both on this one. I use copper rivets occasionally and they are probably the most bomb proof for a rivet. In the end though I use them mostly for looks. You will destroy the leather before you pop the rivet and a good double stitch is at least as good as a rivet. Another point that is brought up regarding rivets is that there can be a tendency for the leather to rot under the rivet when moisture is introduced. However, proper care of the sheath can avoid this I believe.
    - Jared
    joeserknives.com
    Follow me on Facebook at J. Oeser Custom Knives

  8. #8
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    Mahoney - that is the one I WANTED to link - thanks for the fix!

    TF

  9. #9
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    Double and single cap rivets come in many lengths for various thickness applications. A good source for a large selection can be found at Ohio Travel Bag. The copper rivet and burr set up is VERY strong and is "bomb proof", but it generally fails to add anything remotely resembling good looks.

    Now having said all that, I will do almost anything to keep from attaching a rivet of any kind , any where on one of my sheaths....in fact, I just don't. I believe that a properly stitched sheath is just as strong, even at the stress points (what ever those are), as one where rivets were included in the mix.

    The use of rivets is, I believe, a short cut and a way to save money in the construction of the cheaper factory sheaths or any mass produced sheath or any other leather goods. I don't believe that rivets have any place on a piece of quality leather work.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Paul
    Instructional DVDs now available at http://chriscrawfordknives.com/ ***New third DVD is now available at the same web site***

    Paul Long------108 Briarwood Ln. W------Kerrville, TX---78028-9311----830 367 5536 pfl@cebridge.net

  10. #10
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    That is basically what Al Stohlman said too (in his Art of Making Leather Cases).

    TF

  11. #11
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    The use of rivets is, I believe, a short cut and a way to save money in the construction of the cheaper factory sheaths or any mass produced sheath or any other leather goods. I don't believe that rivets have any place on a piece of quality leather work.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    Paul
    the only time I would disagree with Paul about using rivets is when doing a bench copy of a period sheath - many did use rivets and in order to make an exacting copy then yes - So in general it's a sign of "cheap" work but not always.......

  12. #12
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    Thanks to all responders. I've learned a lot.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sheathmaker View Post
    Double and single cap rivets come in many lengths for various thickness applications. A good source for a large selection can be found at Ohio Travel Bag. The copper rivet and burr set up is VERY strong and is "bomb proof", but it generally fails to add anything remotely resembling good looks.

    Now having said all that, I will do almost anything to keep from attaching a rivet of any kind , any where on one of my sheaths....in fact, I just don't. I believe that a properly stitched sheath is just as strong, even at the stress points (what ever those are), as one where rivets were included in the mix.

    The use of rivets is, I believe, a short cut and a way to save money in the construction of the cheaper factory sheaths or any mass produced sheath or any other leather goods. I don't believe that rivets have any place on a piece of quality leather work.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Paul
    I put in one rivet in a horizontal bushcraft sheath last night. I come on the forums today only to read this bit of information. Lol. ah whatever.
    I'll let you guys be the judge of the sheath when I put the pics up.

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