Hello there! Currently in the constructing process of my zenith-701 and I am seeking some advice to secure (pound) the soft solid rivets on the elevator trailing edge.  For these small soft rivets do I require a bucking bar, hammer riveter and air compressor?  Or can they be secured in another manner-cheaper method?  Any response applicable would be appreciated. Kerry

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Hi Kerry,

Tatco hand rivet squeezer, sold at the usual aircraft tool suppliers. Aircraft Spruce sells them too.


Thanks Jim, I had no idea about that tool, great info.

Kerry M

Thank you for the info, I am really glad there is such a tool.

Thanks again


I use a hand squeezer for the trailing edges. I found it gave me the best control and results with the small rivets. It is doable to use a large set of channel locks or linemans pliers, modify the faces for the rivet head on one side and smooth the other side to form the shop head and squeeze away. I tried this method with a medium size set of channel locks and modified them to accept squeezer sets, but it took more effort to set the rivets than I was willing to put forth for that many rivets.

Forgot to add if you have not drilled yet please do use a straight level workbench, length of wood, or pvc to drill and cleco right into the wood or pvc as you go, prevents wavy trailing edge syndrome (WTES). 

WTES. I just made that up.


Hi Jim, luckily I have not drilled any holes yet. I try to be very thorough in planning and be a couple of steps ahead before drilling or cutting. So, your WTES avoidance information will be applied:)


Kerry M

Thanks Dan, that is a clever solution I will give a practice piece a try but will most likely order a hand rivet squeezer.

Thanks again

Kerry m 

One more question, with the hand rivet squeezer what size of rivet head and shop head squeeze set did you use with it?

Appreciate your help.


Kerry they are an3 rivets so I beleive they take a 3/16 head? (didn't check), I bought a set of the squeezer heads from I think spruce. I needed a variety anyway since I am scratch building, but they give different thicknesses for both the rivet head and the shop head so you can adjust for the amount of squeeze and if you add such things as access prrrates you may need different rivet sizes or thicknesses. Dan.

Thanks Dan

If shopping for aircraft specific tools, The Yard Store is a great resource and has good prices. Just throwing it out there.

I will check that out, thanks for the info Chris.

Kerry M


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