Tyson "T-bone" Brown with his dimpler and squeezer, used for his RV 14-A project. 

RV-14A Dimpling and Riveting

Tyson “T-bone” Brown is building an RV-14A project at home in Georgetown. He’s currently working on the empennage, and it’s coming along nicely. He demonstrated how he dimples the pre-drilled holes in the aluminum panels used to cover the tail section of the plane.

Tyson uses a compression dimpler with dies to manually make dimples in the pre-drilled holes. It squeezes the hole into a shallow little dish just deep enough to accommodate the head of a solid aluminum rivet with a tapered head. He also can use his pneumatic rivet squeezer with special dies to dimple holes. You can get these tools from Cleaveland Tool as part of a tool kit when you order a kitplane, saving money (they are each $300 to $600 retail).


There are two sizes of rivets, AD3 and AD4, in the RV-14A. They are small aluminum rivets that you squeeze or drive. Sometimes they are driven with a pneumatic rivet gun against a bucking bar, especially in tight places where the squeezer cannot reach. All of this makes for a beautifully smooth airplane. Sometimes pulled (pop) rivets are used in especially tight spots. 

Photos and videos at Dimpling with Tyson Brown

Bill Elliott, April 19, 2023, renewed July 13, 2023. 


RV-10 Fuselage Dimpling and Riveting

 Ryan Gromfin and his RV-10 wing section

Ryan Gromfin in our chapter is building an RV-10. He has a YouTube channel at 


Bill Elliott, 13 July 2023