Leather Rivets/Setters

A rivet is a two-piece mechanical fastener used to join two pieces of material together. One side of a rivet has a round shaft with a head on the end. The other side, called the “tail” has another head and an area where the round shaft pushes into. Rivers require pressure to be set into place.

When riveting, holes need to be made into the leather where the rivet shaft will push through. The non-shaft head is set onto a base, the shafted head placed through the material, then pounded with a hammer or mallet. The shaft mushes/deforms into the non-shaft head, creating a joined piece that resembles a dumbbell shape. the leather material is now secured between the rivet heads.

Since rivets need to be secured on both ends during the riveting process, special tools are available to help. They are called rivet setters. Rivet setters are usually a combination of 2 pieces. One is a base that the bottom rivet head sits on. the other is a metal bar, about 6” long, shaped to fit over the top rivet. This bar can be struck with a hammer or mallet to “set” the rivets.

Mechanical rivet machines also exist, where instead of setting them with a hammer, they are set by the pull of a handle. Since rivet machines have a fixed range of motion, they can help produce more accurate results than when done by hand with a hammer.