Mike came over today to help me back rivet the top skins on the wings. If you are considering whether or not you should backrivet the top skins, let me take the indecision out of your mind. DO IT. The back riveting results in flawlessly flat and smooth skins. Today was the first big sense of accomplishment for me in quite some time, and I couldn’t be happier with how the riveting turned out.
Here are the two tools needed to back rivet the skins. At the top is the bucking bar we use as the backplate. This one I borrowed from Jack Savage but you can find one here from Avery Tools. The second is an 12″ double offset back rivet set. Again, being cheap, I borrowed this one from Mike, but you can also find it at Avery. Here you can see both in action. Here’s Mike helping as the back rivet holder. For the right wing, Mike was on the bucking bar while I shot the rivets, and we switched it up for the left wing. My riveting was of course superior but I can’t fault free labor! He even brought me a quality beer! Good man! On each wing we had a few rivets that were not flush and sat proud. This was due to one of two errors. Either the person shooting the rivets pushed too hard / back riveter pushed too lightly on the initial shot or there was a communication error between the two. We marked all the bad rivets we found and came back to correct them last. I believe I’ve mentioned this rivet removal tool previously but here is again. It’s available from Avery Tools or Cleaveland Tools. This little tool is fantastic. It makes drilling out rivets a stap. The heads are sized to fit and ensure the drill stays centered. Additionally, you can set the drill depth ensuring you drill just deep enough to remove the rivet head. A punch will snap the head off, and a quick punch will send the remainder of the rivet out the other side. We had a few slip ups today and used this. All told, we drilled 6 rivets in probably 5 minutes with absolutely no problems. Here you can see how the drill bit extends based on how you set the tool. It comes with several heads and drill bits to fit all of the common rivet sizes on an RV. Halfway through riveting the left wing Mike noticed a rib with about 10 holes that had not been dimpled. We had already riveted a large section of the skin so using a squeezer was not an option. I used the close quarters dimple set through the skin. It worked flawlessly. Here are photos of the finished product. In the previous post, I was worried about the scarf joints. They both turned out perfectly after riveting, and I’m proud of the top skin finish! I did begin riveting the bottom spar with the squeezer, but I didn’t complete the job. It’s not needed for the move to the hangar.