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Old 02-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
Gledanh Zhinga
Blacksmith
 
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Santa Fe, NM
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I'm a blacksmith, so I purchased the flat head (1/2" diameter) copper rivets from Tandy's. They come with copper burrs, which are washers which fit over the rivet shank. My bells were 1 1/2" diameter, beehive pattern, so the bell holes were the right size for the rivet shanks. Appropriately spaced holes are punched in the strap leather. The rivet is inserted from the flesh side, the bell placed on the shank and the burr is placed using a narrow pliers. This is a trial fit; the shank will probably be too long. I cut the shank back with large nippers (end cutters). Heavy duty side cutting wire cutters or a cold chisel could also be used. Once assembled, you'll leave about 1 times the shank diameter protruding above the seated burr. You'll need an intermediate tool to reach inside the bell slot, probably a length of mild steel, either of a flat or round cross section, say, 4" or so in length. With the flat rivet head sitting on a solid block of steel, you can upset (thicken & spread) the protruding shank by hammer-striking your tool which is held over the nub. The shank can be upset in different places, just so long as it is somewhat flattened and that it TIGHTENS THE ASSEMBLY TOGETHER. Seat the washer before upsetting using the intermediate tool. A flashlight can be used to check the progress of the upset.

Another route to go with the thicker solid brass bells is to purchase self-tapping screws which have a moderately flat head. These are inserted through the strap and turned so that they make a thread in the bell hole. The heads might need to be covered to keep from wearing out your ribbonwork.

Last edited by Gledanh Zhinga; 02-17-2013 at 12:18 PM.. Reason: clarity
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