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Airstreams are built with brazier head solid rivets. Today, brazier head rivets are hard to find. We're having them made again for our customers who need the right size and shape head for doing proper repair of vintage Airstream exteriors.
The original rivets had 1/8" diameter bodies, but as is best practice in the aircraft industry, when working in "old holes" you should go up one size in the body diameter because the hole is no longer its original size or shape. That means going to a 5/32" diameter rivet. This is very important with buck rivets in order to get a strong and watertight hold.
Normally, the problem with going up a size is the head gets bigger, too. But we solved that conundrum by using the same size and shape head on both our 1/8" rivets and on our 5/32" rivets. They both have a head diameter of .312 inches. Cool, huh? So you can order either diameter and know the head will be the same size and shape as on your Airstream's original rivets.
We are currently selling our solid rivets in the soft 1100F aluminum alloy used on most Airstreams. We are offering them in 1/4" length, 3/8" length and 1/2" length. To determine the correct length, add up the thickness of your material plus the clinch allowance. The clinch allowance is the the amount of the shaft that needs to stick through the back of the material before you start bucking it.
1/4" rivets are typically the correct length for clinching up to two sheets of aluminum. If you need to clinch more material, choose the 3/8" or 1/2" rivets and cut to length for your application using our rivet cutters.
1/8" Rivet Working Specs
- Ideal clinch allowance = .187"
- Ideal shop head diameter = .187"
- Correct drill bit for preparing work hole: #30
5/32" Rivet Working Specs
- Ideal clinch allowance = .234"
- Ideal shop head diameter: .234"
- Correct drill bit for preparing work hole: #21