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Old 05-29-2021, 10:31 PM
skelrad skelrad is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 211
Default Space For Back Riveting

Before I modify the wrong work bench for a back rivet plate and kick myself later: I have no idea of the size of parts that can be back riveted and how much room is necessary. I have one permanent 2' deep bench that is up against a wall and one about the same depth that is open around all sides. I'd prefer to use the bench against the wall, but not sure if the wall will be a problem if there are big/awkward parts.

Will a bench against a wall make dealing with parts difficult, or are most parts that lend themselves to back riveting small enough that a 2' bench against the wall is ok? (building a 9)
RV-9A: Empennage
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:06 PM
Scott Chastain's Avatar
Scott Chastain Scott Chastain is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: KMCE
Posts: 341
Default Keep It Simple

You really don't have to modify anything, but if you insist on modifying a work bench, you will probably need more space than that back wall is going to allow.

My entire slow-build RV-8 was built with the same scrapped computer desktop and chunk of steel that sits just a little proud inside the cutout:

That way, I can back rivet anywhere I want to. Having the flexibility to come inside the house to do a little rivet smashing always comes in handy, but that's only because there's nobody else in the house to complain about the racket. Sometimes it pays to be single.
Scott Chastain
RV-8 N898W Descending Dove
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:12 PM
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PaulvS PaulvS is offline
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 713
Default Did not modify bench

I didn't modify a bench to take the back riveting plate and just kept it loose so it can be located and rotated wherever it is needed at the time. Most of the back riveting is on the empennage and control surfaces for the wing and thereafter there is not much use for the plate, other than the possibility of doing the firewall that way if you want to.

You can create a level surface around the edge of the plate with several loose plywood blocks of the appropriate thickness, if desired.

I know other builders rebate a bench top to hold the plate; I did not and there hasn't been any disadvantage that I've encountered. Actually I prefer the flexibility of being able to move it around and also store it out of the way when it is not being used.
Paul vS (yes I'm also a Van)
Building RV-6A #22320 O-320 FP. Wings and tail complete, working on fuselage
Flying my Aeroprakt A-22 STOL and the aero club's RV-9A while I build
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Old 05-29-2021, 11:49 PM
skelrad skelrad is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Redmond, WA
Posts: 211

Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like there’s no real reason to make anything all that permanent, so I’ll just leave the benches alone for now. This pondering is from the problem of having too much time on my hands while I wait for my tail kit will arrive!
RV-9A: Empennage

Last edited by skelrad : 05-29-2021 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 05-30-2021, 05:56 AM
Rich Pulman Rich Pulman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: CYQA Canada
Posts: 77

I found a long piece of rolled steel at a local supplier ($10) and a couple pieces of carpet of equal thickness at Home Depot. Works great!

P.S. It was just a coincidence that the length of the steel matched the width of my bench!
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RV-3A (C-FARV) bought
RV-8 (C-FRAP) building

Donated 2021
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:28 AM
David Z David Z is offline
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario
Posts: 751

I have a fairly large steel plate. Maybe 1x2 feet. The problem is its 1/4" thick, so flexes ever do slightly. Doesn't cause any issues with the plane, but the rivets don't drive very quickly. I'd like a smaller plate that's a bit thicker. Don't want it too heavy tomcat it's no longer mobile.
Empennage Passed Pre-close Inspection
Wings mostly done
Fuselage at the "porcupine stage"
Dash 8 day job is financing the RV8
Donation till September 2022
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Old 05-30-2021, 07:19 AM
wirejock's Avatar
wirejock wirejock is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Estes Park, CO
Posts: 4,669
Default Platform

The platform with a cut out works pretty well. Mine is a section of 1/4" plywood about 2'X4'. Basically turns any surface into a back rivet plate. One piece of advise. Draw lines extending from the edges of the cut out to the edges of the platfom. Use them to identify the edge of the plate. Only takes one miss to teach that lesson. Not that I made that mistake.

Alternate back rivet method may be found on my blog, Kitplanes Tips.
Larry Larson
Estes Park, CO
wirejock at yahoo dot com
Donated 01/01/2021, plus a little extra.
RV-7A #73391, N511RV reserved (2,000+ hours)
Empennage, wings, fuse, finishing kit, now FWF
I cannot be, nor will I be, held responsible if you try to do the same things I do and it does not work and/or causes you loss, injury, or even death in the process.

Last edited by wirejock : 05-30-2021 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 05-30-2021, 11:09 AM
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fl-mike fl-mike is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,586

I go a bit more "belt and suspenders". Just put the plate on the concrete floor of the garage and surround it as needed with scraps of 1/2" plywood. Arrange the wood depending on where you are riveting on the part.

This allows you to get right on top of the gun, and even use your head to hold up the opposite skin!

Yeah, you're on your knees for about ten minutes, but nothing beats a "rock solid" concrete floor for zero flex.

When you're done, just put the plate back in the drawer or cabinet.
Mike W
Venice, FL
RV-6A. Mattituck TMX O-360, FP, GRT Sport EFIS, L3 Lynx NGT-9000
N184WM reserved (RV-8)....finishing kit in progress. Titan IOX-370
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Old 05-30-2021, 02:13 PM
No_0ne No_0ne is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Martin, Tn
Posts: 88

I modified one of my benches to inset the plate. I have two plates that I made from some scrap 3/8" sheet. Both are about 20" long, one is maybe 8" wide and the other about 6". I found myself using the plate which was not inset into the bench more often than the other, due to the fact that It's much easier to move it around and orient it as necessary. Eventually I removed the one in the bench, and "flipped" the sacrificial surface of the bench over to make it a smooth again. I'm much happier with this setup, now I have two plates which I can use on my portable tables or on the fixed workbenches in the shop as needed.
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Old 05-30-2021, 02:21 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 4,997

What Larry said about the lines. You'd be surprised how helpful they are.

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