hello. finally got the perception koho in after waiting a few weeks. very pleased with one exception. one of the side handles, attached wiht rivets, is very loose, one rivet in particular. it wobbles considerable and its only a matter of time before it fails. i’m curious how i should go about fixing or replacing this. i have no rivet gun, nor do i have a drill nor do i know the correct size. any help or suggestions would be much appreciated. thanks.

Two choices:
Buy a few tools and become a do-it yourselfer or take it to a outfitter and pay to get it fixed.



Simple fix
I would advise you to look into buying a rivet gun. You would be surpised how cheap you can find one. I found one for 6 dollars with rivets. It is a very simple procedure. You can practice on a block of wood if you are not comfortable.

its not so much a matter of the procedure itself, i just want to make sure i buy the correct size rivets and that they’re hold most of all. i wish the side handles were attachd w/ screws like some of the other kayaks, but they said screws can pull out just as easily with sometimes worse results. i tried the local shop. they said they’d be willing to help, its just a matter of them having the right size rivet. thanks again.

Try tightening the existing rivet first
You might try tightening the existing rivets first. Hold a large (heavy) hammer against the rivet head on the outside of the hull, making sure that the head of the rivet is pushed in tight against the hull. Tap the rivet on the inside a time or two with a lighter hammer. If you can’t get a swing on the inside, you can reverse hammer positions (heavy inside, tap outside) but this usually doesn’t work quite as well.

Very often you can compress the rivet enough to tighten it up this way. If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to replace the rivet. Good luck!

Prefer bolts to rivets, when possible.
Whenever you can access both sides of the fastener, I prefer machine screws to rivets. Pop Rivets, and several other forms of blind fasteners, are particularly useful when you cannot access both sides. From a manufacturing standpoint, they are also faster and cheaper.

An assortment of stainless steel 1/4", 3/16", and possibly 10-24 diameter philips round or pan head machine screws, with matching washers, fender washers, and plastic-filled nuts, is a great addition to any paddler’s workshop. These are usually available in the specialty fastener section (little yellow drawers) of your local hardware store.

Include nylon wire clips on the inside of the boat, and you create a dual anchor use for each hole in the hull. The fender washers distribute any stress over a fairly large area. To avoid points where clothing might catch, ensure that the screw length fully engages the plastic in the nut, but the threads do not protrude.

The machine screws, with plastic-filled nuts, resistant to vibration, easy to tighten, easy to change, and probably the strongest link in any chain of events. A socket wrench is handy, but they can be installed with a screwdriver and pliers. Oh, and depending on the location in your boat, you might appreciate a second set of hands.

Some manufacturers use flat head screws, but the taper on the bottom of the head, when over-tightened, can act as a wedge and split the item being attached.

With more brittle material (fiberglas?) or to absolutely ensure against leaks, you may want to add rubber washers against the hull material; these are also available in the same section of the hardware store.

thanks for the info.
i am unable to reach the underside of where the straps are riveted, otherwise i would use screws as you suggested. i found some rivets today at ace hardware, but they weren’t the kind i needed. they didn’t hold like i was hoping they would. i guess i’m going ot have to somehow track down aircraft rivets, that kind of spread out once tightened. does anyone know wheere you can purchase these locally by chance. none of the big chain stores had them, including ace. i have also checked some of the local kayak shops with no success. i believe the size i need is approximately 3/8" with about a 1/2" flange. i may attempt to track them down tomorrow if possible. thanks in advance.

Race cars…
They are commonly used in the fabrication & repair of race car bodies.

Find you where the local racers are getting them or get a couple from a local race shop. They even come in colors!

“Blind” nuts,
blind anchor, can’t remember the exact name. It is a device which allows you to insert a nut from the front, tighten with a screw to flare anchors on the inside, leaving the nut attached to the inside and a thin flange on the outside. You can then attach your handle with a machine screw. These are also in the small drawer section of the hardware store, but I don’t know whether they come in stainless steel. I have used them to attach a wind deflector above the rear window of an SUV, and they worked well. If you buy them, be sure to get one of the little wrenches they provide to keep the anchor from turning when you install it.

the right rivets
Go to McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com) and look for peel-type blind rivets. They work well on plastic and fiberglass because they split and spread the load instead of pulling through the hull material.

Don’t Fix It
If you mess with the boat you are then responsible for any problems. Take it back to the dealer. The only way to remove that rivet is to drill it out. If you don’t even own a drill you’re not a fix-it kind of person. It’s their responsibility let them handle it.