Removing Pop Rivets

I have a boat and the wooden deck has been pop riveted to the boat itself. I wish to remove the deck but I don’t know any way to remove a pop rivet. Does anyone out there have any experience with this? The only thing I could think of was to drill through the pop rivet. Thanks a bunch.


If pop rivets are what I think they are, I drill off the head and let the… shank? take care of itself.

Yup, that’s right. Use a small drill bit, place the tip of the drill in the small indention on the rivet head, and begin to drill slowly. If you drill to fast the bit might slip and blemish the surrounding materials. Good Luck!

I would use a large drill (larger than the hole that the rivet passes through - the intention isn’t to drill it right out) or possibly a countersink bit; drilling gently into the centre of the flat side.

That’s all good advice as far as it goes, but some of your rivets may have swollen to a very tight fit in the wood in the popping process. You’ll have to drive those out with a punch, after you’ve drilled the heads off.

Skip the laborious drilling, there’s an actual pop rivet extractor that’s designed just to do this. If you’ve got a more than a handful of pop rivets to pull, this is the way to go. Consult your local hardware store.

I want to be sure that you aren’t talking about lets say removing teak planking on the deck to rebed the planking and solving a leak problem? If that is the case, you definitely need further advice that I’d be happy to provide.

Thanks for all your advice. I just ended up using my drill to remove the pop rivets and from there it was easy to remove the deck. I was even able to remove the metal frame for the deck because it was pop riveted in there and not welded like I had originally thought. Thanks again folks.