Alright, so I always thought of peining as some sort of long, hard process. After all, you are smooshing metal all over the place. Well, as you will see by the number of pictures and elapsed time counter, this was actually easy as could be.
Drill press and bit
ball pein hammer
So first things first, cut all of your rivets. I had them stick out about 1/8” each side, perhaps a little more. How much will depend on how much taper you put on your holes and how much you want to hammer. I just cut these with a hack saw and cleaned up the ends on the belt sander so that they wouldn’t catch. Also, after tapering there was a small burr left inside each hole, so ran the drill bit through them real quick to clean them out. I slid two pins in to each piece just to keep things from jostling out.
Now for the actual whacking. I gave 3-4 good solid raps on one end of a pin, flipped the plane, recentered the pin, and gave another 3-4 solid raps on the other side. I did this 3-4 times each side. The point of doing this is to begin the pin flaring so that you can then really get to peining. After checking with my fingers that I couldn’t slide the pin back and forth, I would then give 3-4 good pounds on each side. Then I had at it with the flat side for a little while (6-8 good hits each side).
You could probably get by with a claw hammer, but I got a cheap ball pein hammer at Harbor Freight for $5. Let me tell you, this makes a world of difference, and here is why. When peining, you want to smoosh the rivet into the taper you made. This will make it invisible after sanding it down and keep everything locked together (without the taper and a good peining, the thing would come apart). The ball pein end concentrates the force in the center, making it so that you can really work the metal around where you need it. I found that tapping around the edge and then tapping the center a few times got it smooshed out fastest and most regularly. I also found that this helped lock all the pieces in more firmly than just a claw hammer.
One thing to keep in mind. After your good hits mentioned above, flip the hammer to the ball pein side. From here on out, you won’t be hitting hard, you will really just be tapping, but not like a sissy. Work around the edges of the rive, then in the center until it gets smooshed down really well. I found I got better and better as I went along. Here is what a decently smooshed rivet looks like:
This is not all that hard, though it can be painful. I can now understand why every representation I’ve ever seen of a black smith has humongous arms. All that hammer work is fatiguing for the forearm and shoulder.
Just keep going until all your rivets are in. Using the ball pein side of the hammer you are guaranteed to get a few hits on the body. That’s okay, we’ll sand them out later. Here is where we sit for tonight:
Time elapsed to this point: ~12.5 hrs
-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science