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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Men's Dance Styles > Straight Dancing HOw to rivet the bells to the leather HOw to rivet the bells to the leather

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Old 02-02-2013, 02:22 AM   #1
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HOw to rivet the bells to the leather

Hey everyone , im trying to figure a way for the bells on the leather that is reliable and wont fall off after a grand entry.. ive tried many different ways but nothing so far holds up that well , any input will be appreciated... AHO Wanishi
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Cgreen View Post
Hey everyone , im trying to figure a way for the bells on the leather that is reliable and wont fall off after a grand entry.. ive tried many different ways but nothing so far holds up that well , any input will be appreciated... AHO Wanishi
I have also tried many different methods to attach bells to leather. My current set I have used for about 5 years now and still holding strong. I purchased a set of bells that are attached with rivets instead of strap. But I have found that rivets are tricky also. Although the rivets are made of a soft metal, leather is even softer! So when you pull them during the installation of the bell they will sometimes cause a slight tear or elongate the hole in the leather. But if you use a thin washer under the head of the rivet it will stabalize that hole better, just make sure you use a washer that is the same dimension of the rivet and fits tightly.
I have used sinew and although that works for a while they will wear through and you will drop a bell.

But if you do not want to buy another set of bells because they are the strap kind then use a cotter pin to attach them. What I do is cut a slot in the leather so that the back of the bell sticks through and then slip a cotter pin to pin it. I glue some backing over the pins so that they don't chafe your leggins and dance with your bad self LoL...
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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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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Old 05-10-2013, 08:34 PM   #5
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Noc Bay sells something akin to a cotter pin that works real well. In fact, their bell kit has some artifical fleece to put on the inside over the pins to keep the rubbing down.
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