Riveting Frames / Ribs (small boats)


Copper rivets are the standard method of fastening the planks to each other in clinker constructions, or in this case the planks to the ribs or frames. It is a very traditional method and both fastening planks and fastening ribs to planks are skills that have been covered for the Traditional Maritime Skills project.

The principle of riveting is straightforward; there is an easy process to follow, however, like many of the skills doing it once is easy, but applying it to a whole boat is a different matter. Knowing the way to approach the process will be demonstrated in the videos. As your experience grows, the process will become straightforward.


The process is demonstrated in the accompanying video clips with a step-by-step guide. The conversation with the boat builder, in this case Marcus Lewis, is unscripted and covers the technique from his experience.

Video Content

Part 1

  • General introduction to riveting
  • Introducing the equipment used
  • Riveting ~ the process

Part 2

  • Riveting process continues

Part 3

  • Removing the final mould and finishing riveting
  • Discussion on the use of the top batten
  • Riveting the box gunnel


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Tools Required

  • Square shanked copper boat nails (1¾” 12 gauge)
  • Copper Roves
  • Rove driver
  • Light Hammer (ball-peen hammer)
  • Side cutting pliers or snips
  • Dollie
  • Drill (battery powered)
  • Drill bit (suitable size)
  • Sand paper
  • Clamps
  • Saw
  • A guide to position the frames / ribs (make from a scrape of wood)
  • Punch
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Pencil

Materials Required

  • Square shanked copper boat nails (1¾” 12 gauge)
  • Copper roves
  • Scrap piece of wood for the guide