Riveting With a Wire Rivet

by Tammy Honaman, Author, Jewelry-Making Expert and Educator,
Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Riveting is a cold-joining process, bringing two pieces of something, in this case metal, together. A wire rivet is formed into a nail-like head on each end, with the layers to be joined sandwiched in between then held in place.

Check to make sure the end of the 14-gauge wire is cut flush or has a blunt cut end; trim using flush-cutters, if not. Insert the wire into the vice so about 1/2 to 1-inch of the wire is above the vice surface.
Using the ball-peen hammer, strike the end of the wire as if drawing the wire out from the center to the side. Repeat working around the entire end of the wire. Repeat until you can feel you have established a head on the end of the wire, something that feels like a nail head.

Cut about 1/2-3/4 inches below the end you just formed. Set the rivet aside.
Prepare the pieces to be riveted, placing holes in them to match the gauge of the wire.

For 14-gauge wire, the smaller hole (1.5mm) on the steel hole punch works perfectly.
Stack the layers to be joined. Insert the wire through the hole so the nail head of the rivet is on the front.
Place the layered items, with the rivet in place, face down on a bench block. Using flush-cutters, trim the wire about 2mm above the surface of the last layer.
Using a ball-peen hammer, begin to form the nail head in the wire, working the same way you did for the other end. Check the assembly to make sure everything is lined up as you like. Adjust if necessary. Hit the wire again to ensure the join.

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