We are not going to waste our time taking a guess as to the number of people who have an unfavorable view of rivets as a form of fastener in the rigging process. Instead, we will quote the simple and enlightening tweet of a Twitter follower and kayaking junkie: “Rivets rule, screws drool!” While this may be an unmistakable exaggeration, there is some intuition in this simple approach to rigging.Stainless steel screws and locknuts do not actually drool. In fact, they are the strongest and most reliable way to secure accessories to your boat. However, as an alternative, rivets have become a popular method for quick installations or installations in areas without inside access. People just don’t seem to be giving rivets the respect that they deserve.
So you have a nice, new accessory. How are you going to install it? Let’s start with Kayak Rigging 101- When inside access is available, it is always best to use stainless steel screws and locknuts.
Without inside access, you have two obvious choices: rivets or self tapping screws.
Why does everyone view this as being pinned between an oyster reef and a hungry shark? We think we can answer this question and provide some reasoning past the newfound “Rivet Epidemic.”
In the market, there are 100’s of different types of rivets. Walking into your typical hardware store, you will find what are called bulb rivets. This means that when compressed, the bottom of the rivet expands or “bulbs” out to fill the hole you have drilled for installation. While Homer at Home Depot may be comfortable with this security, we do not recommend using any such thing for paddlesport accessory installations. This is because most bulb rivets have about 20 pounds of tinsel strength, meaning with just a little bit of pressure the accessory and the rivet will easily pull out. This becomes especially true in warmer months, smack dab in the middle of paddling season, when plastics heat up and are softer.
Through all of our experience in the rigging game, we have found that the “Chuck Norris” of the rivet world for paddlesport installations is; wait for the drum roll, the Tri-Grip Rivet.
So, what makes a Tri-Grip Rivet so special? Yak Gear has made some improvements to the standard Tri-Grip Rivet, improvements that we think will make you more comfortable giving them equal treatment.
The Tri-Grip acts like a molly bolt in sheet rock. When compressed, the three legs spread out behind the deck creating a true “locked in place” installation. Tri-Grip Rivets offer over 200 pounds of tinsel strength, which is over 10 times the strength of bulb rivets, thus giving you that many more installation options.
We know what you’re thinking! “Well guys, what’s wrong with these rivets then?” Here are three common misconceptions of rivets and how Yak Gear has is working to fix them.
1) There is no such thing as a waterproof rivet.
All rivets should be installed with two layers of waterproof silicone. One layer is applied into the hole before insertion of the rivet. The second, and most important, should be added on top of and around the rivet once installed.
In wanting to get as close as possible to a true, waterproof rivet, Yak Gear is using aluminum over plastic rivets and adding a rubber gasket under the head. Don’t believe us? Check out the above picture! When the rivet is compressed, the rubber gasket creates a better water tight seal between the rivet and the accessory being installed. While no rivets are waterproof, we are working to get as close as we can. Of course, waterproof silicone is still recommended.
2) The shaft does not break flush as intended.
In the case that a rivet disappoints you and breaks uneven, whether it is the rivet or the users fault, sanding or trimming it down is an easy fix; an easy fix that will scratch the exterior finish.
With the Yak Gear improvements, taking into consideration the problem of uneven shaft breaks, we designed our rivet to have a shaft that breaks cleanly below the cap head at the bottom of the shaft. This leaves a properly placed tiny hole in the head of the rivet, to be filled with waterproof silicone.
3) Sometimes removal of rivets gets a little tricky.
In most cases, rivets can easily be drilled out. However, with the old style of rivet that breaks flush to the cap head (without the below flush break), it is hard to get a starting point for your drill bit. After all, we have all had that one rivet who likes to stay put by using it’s slippery, drill bit resistant shield.
The new Yak Gear design helps rivet removal as well. The cap head allows you to easily use a 3/16” drill bit and carefully drill straight down. Instead of fighting a slick surface with a slippery drill bit, the below the cap break design gives you a hole to stabilize your drill. Drilling will split the cap away from the three grips on the rivets expanded leg, thus letting you easily remove and replace the accessory.
Let’s get one thing straight, we don’t intend on converting you from stainless steel hardware. Instead, we hope our efforts to improve the rivet will comfort you on the stability of your accessory if you are ever in a situation where using rivets is necessary.