We believe that superior tools are a pleasure to use and inferior tools are only a frustration. Through teaching builders’ classes we’ve seen that even a novice builder quickly improves and their technique can soon outpace the quality their tools can deliver. Ask any experienced builder; we all have a box full of tools purchased at “bargain” prices that proved to be inadequate for the job.
While others might suggest “upgrade options” to nearly every tool they sell—we remain committed to carry only the tools that make the difference—and when you can pick something up locally for less, we’ll say so.
So let's get down to the 3 Big Decisions you'll make in customizing the tool kit for your build. First, our kits are geared toward Van's RV Series builds. That's what we built and fly ourselves, and what we specialize in.
1: Your drill
Air or Battery?
Of the more expensive tools you'll choose, the air drill might be one you can skip. As kits have improved the drill is becoming less necessary. Back in the day when we started the RV-4, kits weren’t pre-punched, so we had to layout and drill each hole. As you progress in the build, you’re likely to reconsider adding an air drill to the toolbox due to decreased weight and increased speed. We like the 4000 RPM Nova Drill best, weighing just over a pound when paired with our Lightweight Air hose Kit—but you can certainly get going on that tail with lesser equipment without a lesser result. Battery powered drills can be sourced locally, shop small.
2: Your bench dimpler
Hammer or squeeze-mechanism?
Our C-Frame's design dimples and sets rivets and is a combination of the best features of several similar tools we have used during our builds. The 0.401” receiver on the front end, allows standard rivet sets to be used in the base for back riveting. The 0.401” riser can also be used to hold a die in the rivet gun, eliminating the need for an additional tool to accomplish this.
New builders gain confidence within a couple dozen practice hits.
The larger, squeeze mechanism DRDT drop ships and requires a different in-shop set up.
3: Your squeezer
Muscles or pneumatic?
Here's where a splurge might be really satisfying. Everyone drools over the air-powered pneumatic squeezer—it dimples and sets rivets along an edge easily and consistently. You'll learn how to adjust it for the perfect result on our YouTube channel.
But even if you're going with our hand squeezer—you're winning. Our innovative patented design sets a rivet using ONLY 35% OF THE FORCE required of other models.
The Main Squeeze accepts pneumatic 214C style yokes which can be used on a pneumatic squeezer body. Quick change yoke pins allows you to rapidly change yokes without using tools. Threaded ram is easily adjusted to compensate when setting various length rivets or when dimpling various skin thicknesses. Compare quality and features, then the price of other hand squeezers and you will find this is an outstanding value.
For the most toolbox envy, go with both. (Remember that money saved on a drill?)