How To Properly Remove A Blind Rivet

While installing a blind rivet (commonly referred to by the trade name Pop® Rivet) is a relatively simple process, removing them can be a bit more challenging. But with the right tools and techniques, removing them can be done safely and effectively without causing damage to the surrounding materials. Here’s a simple step-by-step process for how to safely remove a rivet.

Step 1: Identify the type of rivet

Before attempting to remove a rivet, it's important to know what type of rivet you are dealing with. The most common types of rivets are solid, blind, and tubular rivets. Different types may require slightly different approaches for removal.

Step 2: Gather the necessary tools

To remove a rivet, you will need a few tools, including a drill with a drill bit, a punch or pin, pliers, and a hammer. Make sure you select the correct drill bit based on the material of the rivet you wish to remove. For most rivets, we recommend the Champion XL5 135° split-point twist drill bit. For structural rivets, you will need a Champion Cobalt twist drill bit. (We sell these bits, so ask your salesperson!)

Step 3: Mark the center of the rivet

Using a marker or center punch, mark the center of the rivet to ensure that you are drilling in the correct spot.

Step 4: Drill out the rivet

Using a drill bit slightly smaller than the rivet, drill a hole completely through the center of the rivet. Be sure to use a slow, steady speed and apply consistent pressure to avoid damaging the surrounding materials. For solid rivets, this step may be quite a challenge. Use plenty of wax on the drill bit to prevent overheating. (We sell the wax too!) Do not rock the drill – drill straight and true only, using a guide if necessary.

Step 5: Remove the rivet

Once you have completely drilled out the center of the rivet, use pliers to grip the exposed head of the rivet and twist it to remove it. If the rivet is still firmly in place, you may need to use a punch or pin to push it out from the opposite end. (Not all rivets have grippable heads! If your rivet does not have a grippable head, this step may be impossible. In that case you will have to carefully re-drill the rivet further using a larger drill bit.)

Step 6: Clean the hole

After removing the rivet, you’ll want to clean out the hole with a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any remaining debris or burrs.

Step 7: Replace the rivet

If you need to reattach the materials, you can replace the removed rivet with a new one of the same size and type. If the hole is damaged, you may need to bump up to the next diameter.

While removing a rivet may seem like a simple process, it's important to take caution to avoid damaging the surrounding materials. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Always wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and eye protection.
  • Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the rivet to avoid damaging the surrounding materials.
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the surrounding materials.
  • Do not use the highest speed setting on your drill.

With a little bit of patience and caution, you can remove a rivet without causing any damage. And if you have any riveting questions about these rivets, you’re always welcome to email us at


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