Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 37

Thread: Domed Split rivets

  1. #1

    Domed Split rivets

    I got a query from a forum member asking about the availability of replacement rivets that have a higher dome, like the originals. The ones I find through Gerstner and other suppliers have an almost flat, or truss-style head.

    truss head rivets.jpg

    After many months of dealing with manufacturers in China and Viet Nam, I think we are close to getting a domed, steel, nickel-plated split rivet. I have sent samples and have struggled with the language barrier.

    two rivets.jpg

    I hope that soon we will have an accurate reproduction available to us.

    Is their any interest out there?

    I would appreciate it if you would let me know.

  2. #2

    I'd definitely be interested. The last two vintage chests had domed and I was very careful to remove and straighten the split. The end result was one chest with truss head due to replacement hardware that was needed and one chest with polished and reused domed. What's the min qty that the manufacturer will run and breakeven on cost?

    Retired Los Alamos Weaponeer
    Placitas, NM
    Mark Domzalski
    Retired Los Alamos Nuclear Weaponeer
    Placitas, NM

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Winston-Salem, N. C. 27103
    I am interested.


  4. #4

    Domed Split Rivet Samples

    Here are the preliminary photos of the sample run. They just got back from nickel plating. They are being sent to me for my approval.


  5. #5
    The samples of the domed split rivets are due to arrive today from Viet Nam.

    Is anyone else interested?

  6. #6

    Samples are in

    They look better than the flat or truss head rivets:


    Only thing is, the new ones are 5/32" instead of 9/64" like the originals.


    They work fine on the older locks, but are tight on the Gerstner reproduction locks.

  7. #7

    They look great! What's your timeline for a "consumer" run? I have an O-52 restoration in progress that might wait depending on your timeline.

    BTW, I spent a fair amount of time in the RVN, back in the day... I can't reconcile a visit. That said, the the most industrious, innovative and dedicated immigrants I've ever had the privilege to work with were RVN refugees. With what you've found as a source for parts, it confirms that their culture and upbringing have transcended their change of government.

    BTW, I'd really like to join your site as well.


    Mark Domzalski
    Retired Los Alamos Nuclear Weaponeer
    Placitas, NM

  8. #8

    It's a miracle that I allowed myself to do business with a concern in Viet Nam, considering my experiences there in 1968 and 1969, but I've progressed in my battle with PTSD. Also, I just couldn't get through to the Chinese! It's a giant leap for me... I'm not ready to visit either.

    Please drop me an email privately at I think we can work something out as a trial.

    Thanks for your interest.

  9. #9
    The sample rivets have been trialed and they work just fine. I have used them to attach a handle and a friend used the on hinges, etc. They performed as expected and look very much like the originals. The manufacturer has agreed to adjust things like the diameter and concentric circles on the heads before commencing with the initial order. I have tried to lower the limit of how many to purchase, as I can't really afford to order 30,000 of them!

  10. #10

    High Dome round head split rivets

    I was surprised that the rivets offered by our regular suppliers were of the truss head, or flat variety. The originals I was removing from the locks hinges, and handle ferrules were, in most cases, domed, rounded, and nickel plated. I had been getting mine (the truss head variety) through a wholesale supplier.

    I had no luck finding the domed variety here in the states, so I put a request out on Alibaba. It seemed I could not communicate well with the Chinese, but I found a person in Viet Nam who has been more than helpful. Who would have thought that an old Viet Nam veteran would be doing business with the Vietnamese? Yet they responded with samples and are refining the product to my specs and our critiques.
    compare.jpgtruss head.jpgspec.jpgSamples.jpgIMG_2709.jpg

  11. #11

    Did another handle

    I used the new old split rivets to attach another handle and its ferrules to a Gerstner Chest:


    I think they look better than the flat truss rivets.

  12. #12
    Terry offered me some rivets to trial and critique.

    Below are the inside of the lower hinge, albiet upside down, and the outside. The lower of the hinge rivets is a recovered, polished and reused OEM rivet. With close inspection it's clear that the nickel on the old rivet is gone, but they compare well.


    By comparison, one can see that the new rivets are slightly larger (more robust and harder to set) as Terry indicated.

    There are some cosmetic issues that Terry is working with the manufacturer to resolve, but I'd gladly buy into a quantity purchase. They add the touch to a vintage restoration that "joe six-pack" won't notice, but a restorer will admire with satisfaction.

    Now I'm into a B-52. For an old USAF SAC veteran it's a little surreal. The chest has an SPI tag on the bottom drawer and appears to be constructed out of Baltic Birch cabinet grade plywood. The drawer fronts appear to be Basswood. The drawers have less depth than an O or W-52. So, what does the B stand for? And, who, or what, was SPI?


    Mark Domzalski
    Retired Los Alamos Nuclear Weaponeer
    Placitas, NM

  13. #13

    We need pictures of your new chest; lots of pictures! To my knowledge, Gerstner didn't make a B52, nor use birch plywood on a chest.

  14. #14

    A little off topic for domed rivets, but... My sleuthing has uncovered that SPI is Swiss Precision Instruments a part of Penn Tool, Inc. Penn Tool has in their current online catalog, a Gerstner chest in Golden Oak or Walnut. The front panel has a serial numbered tag for Tri-State Instrument Service in Ft. Wayne, IN. I can only surmise that Tri-State purchased from Penn Tool and got one or more special purchase B52s...

    The drawers are 6-3/4" deep, but otherwise normal. The drawer fronts are all solid wood stained to match the ply veneer. I'm guessing the drawer fronts are the same wood as the rest of the carcase, just stained. I think that makes the solid wood - Basswood?

    This is cleaned... Based on the shavings a metal dust, I'd bet the chest lived in an inspection area within a machine shop that had surface grinding.



    Attachment 6012Attachment 6013Attachment 6014Attachment 6015Attachment 6017Attachment 6018Attachment 6019Attachment 6020Attachment 6021Front Panel.jpgLeft Quarter.jpgRight Rear Quarter.jpgRight.jpg
    Mark Domzalski
    Retired Los Alamos Nuclear Weaponeer
    Placitas, NM

  15. #15

    Back to the drawing board

    After a long wait, I got another set of samples in that were supposed to correct the shaft diameter and the finish on the heads. Unfortunately, they used the wrong information and sent perfectly finished samples that are still oversized in diameter, and a second set that are the correct 9/64" diameter, but have plating that flakes off. Neither is acceptable. Back to the drawing board... I have a new Chinese supplier waiting in the wings if this doesn't work out.

    I tried adding photos, but the site keeps giving me errors.

    upload fail.JPG


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts