Folding Kayaks Forum

Broken aluminum clips
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Author:  DLee [ Sun Jul 13, 2014 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Broken aluminum clips

Well it finally happened... I didn't really think it would, but I found one completely broken and three cracked clips today on my T9.

The broken clips are right about where you would think. They are the four that connect the two center ribs to the keel. This is obviously the most stressful place and carries the greatest load. What a bummer. The one that is broken has completely lost the bottom of the aluminum slot, the other three have cracks in varying degrees and obvious bending at the bottom of the clip.

I was drying her out after a little water got in the boat after last weeks heavy rains. I had the two frame halves drying in the sun today and was fiddling with the ribs when I made the discovery. Aaaargh. So frustrating. This may be the end of the T9 for me. I really love the classic qualities of the boat... but more than anything I want a solo boat that I can just go out and paddle or sail - and not fix or worry about each trip.

Fix is possible yes. But these old rivets are monsters... uhg.


Author:  gbellware [ Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips


Chill! With all the crazy stuff you have done with your boats, this clip issue should give you no trouble at all. The rivets are soft and easy to drill (a drill press is nice but not required), the clips are readily available, and with a little care you can swap them out good as new. Don't quit on that classic.


Author:  DLee [ Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

Ok...ok, I won't throw in the towel yet.

I don't have a drill press... when's the Bellware garage open for drill press time rental? ha.

Do you think these can be drilled out by hand or would that get too messy. My thought is the latter...


Author:  gbellware [ Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

A drill press is helpful but not required. I use a sharp punch to locate the center for starting the bit, and use some oil and a very sharp drill bit. When you put the new rivet in, you can peen it using a bolt with a concave end (the threaded end) to give shape to the rivet. You also may need to use some rivet washers, certainly on the wood side of the fastener, if you know what i mean.


Author:  ChrisO [ Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips


As an option, I would ask Mark at Longhaul if he is willing to replace the clips. Should be simple, if they are set up for this. Stress free for you too!

Alternately, if tackling it myself, I would grind off one rivet head and see if the rivet can be driven out with a steel punch (and a good backing plate!) before deciding on drilling out all rivets.
Did that on a running repair for a broken keel rivet on my AE II. I had to resort to drilling out the remaining rivet stub. It was just fused to the ash by salt water corrosion and would not budge. Mushroom yes, budge no. If you don't have a drill press, try a steel guide plate. Drill a hole in it with the same diameter as the rivet shank. Clamp the guide plate to rib, now the drill bit won't wander around or slip off the rivet.
Tip on the new rivets: For a nice rivet head drill a dimple in the blank end of the rivet. Makes it much easier to form the head. Learned that trick on my Nautiraid where I had to replace a brass rivet in one of the gunwale hinges.

For the rest, Greg has it pretty well covered!


Author:  thalweg [ Mon Jul 14, 2014 4:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

I have always been able to grind/file off the rivet head and drive out with a drift punch. I open my vise a crack place the clip on the vise and use the vise for backing when I drive out the old rivet.

Author:  kayakolyte [ Tue Jul 15, 2014 11:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips


I have clips, rivets, and a drill press. If you can make it out to Colorado this summer, we can fix the parts.


Author:  BobK [ Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

Hi guys,

Where do you find the right size rivets for the Klepper?
I am attempting to reattach the hinges on the gunwales (AEII) and they are 5/32 rivets.
I can find 5/32 diameter, but the length is close to an inch (maybe 7/8") and I can't find them anywhere.
I don't need need the hinges, just the rivets. I even asked a few hardware stores to order them but they can't either.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Bob Klein
Long Island NY

Author:  ChrisO [ Sat Aug 16, 2014 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips


Finding them in large(r) quantities is easy: Grainger and on-line rivet suppliers.
Finding a place that sells "just a few" less so. I suggest calling local aircraft supply houses and contacting Longhaul Kayaks.


Author:  DLee [ Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

Bob, contact Mark at Long Haul. You can always cut the rivets down with a good pair of nippers.

My hinges are screwed in with tapered seats on the metal...

How many do you need?


Author:  DLee [ Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

Well I started working on one of the two broken clips today as the snow has cleared and the weather was holding in the mid forties I think.

I centered my marks with a punch and then drilled all the way through two rivets with a small drill bit. On the second rivet I jumped up to something like a 3/16 bit and although I haven't gone all the way through yet (dinner was ready) it looks very promising.

I totally mangled the first rivet though. Broke a slightly larger bit in the first hole and then broke a second bit in the other side of the hole trying to drive the other broken bit out... ha. What a @+*$! mess!

So I don't have a grinder, (I actually came back to this thread because I remembered there being some alternatives to drilling... thanks) but I do have these stone wheels for my drill. Can you grind with these things? Hacksaw? any suggestions? It's a real mess.

I think on the next one I may just drill a small pilot hole from the tap, and then go straight to the larger bit. The larger bit seemed to bite into the aluminum pretty nicely.


Author:  mje [ Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

As the rivets are aluminum they're pretty easy to cut, so control is more important than power. I've drilled them out, and I've also used a Dremel tool with their little cutting wheels. You could probably use a hacksaw, if you took your time and were careful not to cut the wood.

Author:  gbellware [ Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

"I think on the next one I may just drill a small pilot hole from the tap, and then go straight to the larger bit. The larger bit seemed to bite into the aluminum pretty nicely."

Yes, I think you have the answer. And hacksaws are not allowed near an antique Klepper :-) Well, if you have to, put some kind of protection on the wood, even duct tape, to save having to sand and revarnish too!


Author:  DLee [ Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

I had a chance to work on it a little this morning before we left for Easter Dinner with Grandma. The stone wheels I have for my cordless drill do a pretty good job on the aluminum and I learned a couple other things as well.

Unlike the newer AII that I have, the rivets on the T9 are a little more heavy duty and not as flat. The rivet head on top of the aluminum clip is very rounded where the head on the wood side is pretty flat but elevated. For this reason I started my drilling on the wood side with the flat head. This was a mistake. I discovered today that I can very easily flatten the rounded head on the clip side (with the grinder bit) and then drill down through the head into the clip until the rivet head pops off. I'm sure this is what the rest of you do... initially the rounded head scared me away.

As Michael has mentioned, the aluminum is quite soft and it was easy to flatten the curve of the rivet and then do the pilot hole followed by the large drill bit wide enough to take the head off as I believe Greg was originally suggesting. Then I could drive the rest of the rivet through the wood with a punch. Pretty easy actually.

Unfortunately I have made a real mess of the other rivet by sticking two drill bits into it... which aren't quite as soft as the aluminum... it's going to take a little more time to get that one taken care of. Then I can move onto the second clip.

Now the next question. Should I try and get new clips from Long Haul or Klepper America, or scavenge clips from the second/older AII frame that I have? If I end up scavenging clips it would have been smart to have done those first as a little learning curve... duh. Well, perhaps this is wisdom for someone else.

Happy Easter everyone,


Author:  idc [ Mon Apr 06, 2015 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Broken aluminum clips

Thanks for sharing your hard-won wisdom, Dennis. Many of us are at risk of making similar mistakes.

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