Jump to content


Jim Roadt

Recommended Posts

I have 2 different methods of rivet removal.

If you are removing tubular rivets (typical with steel hub Emersons), I use a drill bit with a diameter large enough to remove the flare on the back side of the hub. Once the flare is removed, I use a spring-loaded automatic center punch to drive the rivet out. 

If removing solid rivets, I'll use a small cutoff wheel (like for a Dremel) to remove the portion of the rivet that sticks past the hub. I'll use the edge of the cutoff wheel parallel to the rivet to "wipe" the rivet down. You get a lot more control this way versus coming in perpendicular to the rivet. Coming in perpendicular also increases the risk of marking up the hub. I follow this with using the automatic center punch to drive out the rivets. 

Another method for solid rivet removal is basically like the tubular rivet removal. Use your center punch to dimple the exact center of the back of the rivet. Using a SHARP drill, drill off the back of the rivet until flush with the hub, then drive out the rivet with the automatic center punch. 

Give me some time to post pics, as I'll be dropping some Emerson wings later today. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And now for the photo tutorial... Excuse the bad lighting and goofy angles. Typically a two hand job. Holding the tools plus a camera got fun. But even with taking the pics, I removed the blades from the fan, dropped a wing and riveted it back on in about 15 min. The fan here is a 28646 that I picked up in the Fan Fair auction. IMG_20220724_145450398.thumb.jpg.fb3dbe9b93f35f2c4731eb03412a70af.jpg

Using a SHARP drill that is larger than the flare on the back of the rivet, remove a good portion of the brass. You don't need to completely remove the flare, just want to get it very thin, as brass is very soft and any remaining brass will easily pass through the hub (so no need to worry about making marks in the hub if you aren't planning on refinishing the hub). 


The other method is using a small cutoff wheel parallel to the rivet to wipe off the flare. I like this for solid rivet removal. Again, get most of the flare gone. No need to contact the hub. 



Using an automatic center punch, drive the rivets out. I do this all in my hands so there's no risk of scratching blades/hub on a table or vice. A couple snaps of the punch and each rivet fell out into my hands. 



For my rivets, a #26 drill is the perfect size. I drill open all of the hub holes, but only the inner most hole on the blade. I'll explain why later. 


Here's my arbor press. With my recommendation, Jim bought a press with a deeper throat, allowing him to do 6 wing 16" blades more easily. I can do 12" 6 wingers and 16" 4 wingers on mine. A hole in the base of my press was drilled to hold the die that the rivet head goes into. You can also see the die for my semi tubular rivets with the point in the middle. This gets installed into the holder handle which happens to fit inside of the 1/2" hole in the arbor press's ram. Before buying the press, I used to simply do these by hand with a hammer. So if you only occasionally want to do rivets, no need to buy an arbor press. I'll list the part numbers for the dies and die holder later. I used to just put the die in a small vice and hammer the die holder down. 

Duct tape on the press is to keep from making metal to metal contact and scratching blades. I boosted the lower die up with some washers to allow for more deeply pitched blades. Sometimes I'll even boost that lower die up on a little metal tube to really allow for no-contact between blades and the base (my metal tube is actually an old Cake bearing 😁).


To get the rivets a bit softer (easier to press and lessen the chance of splitting the tubular types), I anneal the rivets. I just use a butane kitchen torch (the kind you'd use for creme brulee) and get the rivets red hot. Drop them in a cup of water, and they are quenched.


You'll now notice the head of the rivet looks grungy. A quick touch onto my polishing wheel gets rid of that.


Yes, my buffing wheel is actually belt driven off an Emerson fractional motor!

Now install the rivet into the inner most hole of the blade, get that into the hub, and get it all into the press. Keep the finger of the hub flat and perpendicular to the press. Make sure the hub is flush and tight to the blade, press it on down (or hammer it if you are sans arbor press). 


Now, using the hub as a drill guide, open up the next hole in the blade. This ensures that the hub hole and blade hole is perfectly in line. Trust me on this. In the past, I've went through and drilled all the holes open prior to riveting and occasionally came up with out of alignment holes. 


Install your next rivet, and set it. Hey look! One wing back on! Once you get a hang of this, polishing blades is a breeze. The time you spend dropping the blades from the hub and riveting them back on saves you even more time when it comes to polishing the blades. No worrying about other blades getting in the way. No hub fingers to detail around with your Dremel. 


The rivets I used for this are from Jay-Cee Sales & Rivet. They do sell 100-packs of these rivets, but I buy in the bulk 1000 pack. That last digit in the part number is the letter "O", not the number "0"!


The 2 dies and the die holder (this is what I started with hand-hammering them in place prior to arbor press purchase) were sourced from Hanson Rivet & Supply.


Feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions. Hope this tutorial helps!

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Install struts onto cage first. Point all struts towards the rear. Move cage in towards fan. Slowly fold in struts as you clear the blades. Just had to do that procedure on Luke Skelnik's 17666.

@Luke Skelnik You gotta post your fan now! We used longer semi tubular rivets on his cast hub. Not original, but easier to set versus solid. I still fear busting a finger on a cast hub. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Patrick Ray said:

I've heard of the hand style being used for the tubular style, but not working too well for solid rivets. Just got the arbor press to have the most versatility. 


I have a pneumatic gun. Ill have to test it on some dimestore blade first. Dont want to damage anything good

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...