I’ve been very busy in the workshop lately, building brass kits for Edwardian era Great Western Railway rolling stock. (If you don’t know why, you can find out here.) These kits require the builder to punch out half-etched rivets – in some cases, a couple hundred of them.
I have a lovely riveting tool from GW Models. I found out about it through the pages of Model Railway Journal magazine, and picked up my riveter in person when my wife and I visited the UK in 2000. I must admit it has had more of a workout in the past couple of months than it did in the previous 20 years, but I’m glad I got it when I did because it has been invaluable for making short work of the task.
However, now that I’ve used it a lot I’ve discovered that the steel handle is hard on the hands. The edges are all nicely rounded, but the steel is unforgiving and the end of the handle tends to dig into the palm of one’s hand. One feels the bruise forming well before the 200th rivet has been punched.
I mentioned the problem to my wife and said I was looking for something to cushion the end. She suggested a cork – and since we’d had some fizzy wine with dinner that night, I already had the materials to hand. I drilled a couple of holes next to each other in the bottom of the cork then used the drill bit to carve out the cork between them, to form a slot. (I did this on a drill press, with the depth stop set so I could not drill all the way through the cork.) The slot is slightly undersized so it’s a secure press-fit: The modification did not require any adhesives so if the cork fails over time I can simply tear it off and make a new one.
Any excuse to open the bubbly…