On Location

Christmas time for me means traveling. It is back to the Milwaukee area this year, leaving the Garaggio and related projects behind. With the way the holidays fall, I have some extra down time between family parties. I’m not used to being idle (and around family 🙂 ) this long, luckily I had planned ahead.

Craig, a long time friend and a Garaggio guest worker, is building an RV-8. A week ago, I did a little prodding and he was able to arrange his job schedule to be off today as well as have his wing skin ready to be riveted on.


I haven’t done a lot of sheet aluminum working and most the riveting I have done has been with a squeezers. Granted I know the theory behind bucking rivets, but I’ve maybe set a dozen this way. So I figured it was a good opportunity to learn, and have some fun.

There really isn’t that much to it, at least the end I was on. Just hold the bucking bar against the rivet, inspect, repeat. Two things I did learn was to use tape. Masking tape on the rivet gun set to add a slight amount of friction helping the gun operator to stay on the flush rivet, and duck tape on unused sides of the bucking bar. Another thing was to work from the center of a skin outwards so you don’t trap a “ripple” in the skin somewhere.

Another thing I learned was unrelated to riveting. Have you ever had a plumb bob that sways with the air currents in the room? No matter how hard you try to stop the string it continues to move slightly? Simply put the plumb bob in a cup of water. The water dampens the motion and stays the plumb bob quickly. Cool, huh!

We probably set close to 500 rivets today in the top right wing skins. There are a few more to go once the wing is removed from the jig. We only had to drill one rivet out and I slipped off another making a small mark. All in all Craig seemed pleased, and I learned a few things. Not bad for a days work.


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