How to Set Hollow Rivets

Written by jonra springs | 13/05/2017
How to Set Hollow Rivets
Hollow rivets are set to hold the handle and lock on an old suitcase. (old case image by Pefkos from

Hollow rivets are also referred to as semi-hollow, tubular and semi-tubular rivets. They're steel fasteners with a wide head over one end of a tube. Hollow rivet setting is accomplished with forceful impact that causes the tubular end to flare out and form a second head on the opposite side. The tube of a hollow rivet penetrates through two pieces of material such as leather. When the tube spreads into a head, the leather pieces are bound together.

Place hollow or semi-tubular rivets through holes in the materials to be joined. Place the head of the rivet on the base of an impact riveter if available. Pull the lever downward for quick hollow rivet setting. Release and lift the lever after hearing the ram snap against the hollow rivet end. Use steps 2 through 4 for manual hollow rivet setting with a mallet and rivet clinch.

Place the hollow end of the rivet through prepared holes in the adjoining materials, or hold the materials together with the rivet tube against the spot it will penetrate. Hit the rivet head firmly with a mallet to force the tube through the materials.

Turn the materials over and lay the rivet head on top of a small anvil or solid steel surface. Dig the cut material circles out of the end of the rivet tube with a small nail point.

Place a fitting rivet clinch against the bottom of the hollow tube. Hold the clinch over the rivet tube with the rivet head firmly against the solid surface and tap the back end of the clinch tool with a quick mallet strike to flare out the tube and set the rivet.

Things you need

  • Impact riveter
  • Mallet
  • Nail
  • Anvil
  • Rivet clinch set

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