Falls of Clyde has a riveted iron hull. When thinking about the essential repairs that have to be made to the hull, there are many questions that pop up.
Some of those deal with riveting. Is it possible? Practical? What are the advantages? Disadvantages?
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Vern Mesler. I came across his name by chance via some videos featuring rivets and riveting that I saw on YouTube:
While Mr. Mesler has been dealing mostly with historic bridges, his interest is in historic iron and steel preservation in general and educating interested parties about various methods that can be used to repair and restore historic metal structures.
He has a website that features the work he has been doing: VJM Metal Craftsman, LLC
He is also involved with the annual Iron & Steel Preservation Conference held at Lansing Community College in Michigan. (The webpage features videos of various methods used in restoration.)
While local union contacts have been very patient and willing to answer my questions, the bad news from them is that they are not able to do any riveting of the type we need. This is unfortunate, but not surprising. Welding steel to iron may also be an issue.
Is it possible to train local people (professionals and volunteers) to do riveting? The answer is: Yes. Is there enough interest? That remains to be seen. I, for one, would love to learn.
Mahalo to Steve Hyman, who also provided me with information.