Removing Solid Rivets

From Matronics

Removing Solid Rivets

How to Remove a Rivet Safely,

Without damaging your project in the process

Gil Alexander – EAA Technical Counselor – Chapt. 81

Step 1

Ensure you have a Center Point in the center of Manufactured Head to start drilling.

The factory “dimple” should work.

If you are not sure of your ability to drill accurately, use an automatic center punch.

If the head is damaged, file or grind a flat and then use the punch.


Step 2

Drill 1/32 inch undersize (#40 for a -4 rivet)

Drill down enough to penetrate into the shop head, but try not to break through.

If you do break through, it’s not disastrous, but go slow and it will work.


Step 3

Now drill through the head the using the same size drill as the rivet hole.

Stop just short of the material as shown.


Step 4

Using an accurate straight sided punch (or the non-cutting end of a dull drill bit)

Lever the head off.


Step 5

Now use a punch and just push the rivet out.

Since all that remains of the rivet in the material is a thin shell,

This is easy. If you accidentally drilled all the way through in Step 2,

a pair of pliers on the back of the rivet should just pull it out.


This two-step process takes a little longer, but it greatly reduces the risk of

damaging the hole, helping the replacement rivet to go in easier.

No original credit claimed, and I’ve heard this method referred to as the

“Navy Method”.