and Roves have long been a
favoured fastening method in boat construction.
to using a copper nail and rove.
Copper has good corrosion resistance especially when the
protected from moving water with a .
The flat heads are less likely to cause splitting of the
wood and the
area under head can easily be increased with washer/rove.
Because of their superior withdrawal resistance the holes
in the wood can
They are cheaper to buy than or
They can be replaced using the same hole or just one size
Nail and Rove.
riveting is square in cross section with a diamond point and flat
They can also be bought with a proud or rosette head.
Common copper nails with a
smooth shank and a flat copper
burr are also sometimes used.
is a dished copper washer.
The rove should be slightly
under sized so it can be
driven tightly onto the nail without falling off.
Copper Nails are manufactured
to the wire gauge, the
higher the number the thinner nail.
And they are normally soled by
There are only a few,
simple tools needed.
Although they can be purchased
from specialist suppliers
the dollies can be easily made at home and the rest are standard
A drill with a bit one
smaller than the nail
diameter, for boring the .
A ball-peen hammer, this
doesn’t have to be
large as you wont need a lot of force.
Side cutting pliers or
nippers, for nipping off the
The ‘bucking iron’ or
holding iron is a
solid, cylinder of metal, the flat end should have a slight chamfer
could be the head of a sledge/lump hammer, a piece of propeller shaft,
large bolt if the nails heads are not countersunk.
will either need a stud or tip protruding from one end or be tapered to
rove iron or set is rather like a
large nail set which has a
countersunk hole drilled in one end.
It is used to drive the rove down
This can be simply made from a piece of heavy rod with a hole
suit nail size, drilled down one end and countersunk to fit the rove.
You might also want some
hearing protection as
peening rivets can be a noisy affair.
first job is to tightly clamp the pieces to be joined.
Although the riveting process
will draw the pieces
together it is best to have them tight to start with, this will also
the pieces from backing away while you drill.
If you are replacing an old
fastener, replace an adjacent
rivet with a bolt to draw everything together.
Next, drill the pilot hole,
one size smaller than the
Tap the nail through the pilot
hole with the hammer while
holding the bucking iron at the back.
Holding an iron to the inside
next to the pilot hole will
prevent damage to light construction, this may not be necessary on
The end of the nail should be
left protruding by at least
¼ inch 6mm, preferably longer.
you finish off each
nail as you go or not is up
to you however, if the
boat is being built upside down you may not have
Leaving the finishing off to
last will mean having to
work around all those
fit the rove, the bucking /holding iron needs to be held against the
The rove is then ‘set’ using
or set and hammer to drive it down over the nail.
The protruding part of the
nail is then nipped off close
Peening the Rivet.
With the bucking iron braced against the
or thigh hold
it against the nail head, then peen or chase the rove.
Peening only requires a three
or four hammer hits with
the ball of the hammer around the side of the rove.
Then finally, two or three
whacks on the nail end to
flare the metal, then finish off with a few light taps to round it
Beware of too much hammering
as this will only harden the
metal, causing the peened end to crack.
Harden up old fasteners only
takes a couple of whacks on
the rivet while holding the bucking iron to the nail head.
It is probably due to this
simplicity and the speed of
insertion that the copper nail and rove has remained such a popular
Herreshoff’s Rules for the Construction of Wooden Yachts
Riveting Comments Very clear and accurate description of copper nailing.
The only thing you forgot was the tedium involved if you rush ahead and leave the fastening …