Rivet Revival?

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.

riveted frames and plates

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.

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4 comments on “Rivet Revival?

  1. Steve Hyman says:

    Susan,
    Talk with the folks in Sydney who restored the JAMES CRAIG by riveting. As far as welding steel to iron we did that on ELISSA using 7018. Desruction testing of the welds revealed that the weld held but the iron failed in the heat zone next to the weld. Walter Rybka should have more details about the testing.

  2. Buck says:

    One more thing I didn’t think of. You’ll be writing THE book!

  3. […] Here is a San Francisco TV news video featuring Vern Mesler (see Rivet Revival?): […]

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