Removing and Re-setting the Heads of Hickory Irons - Part 2

As noted previously, I am not an expert or a professional in this area - I just do a lot of it, and this is how I do it. In Part 1 I dealt with removing the heads, cleaning, and re-gluing the heads in place with wooden pins in. We left the clubs with the epoxy curing for 24 hours. This part covers the removal of the wooden pins, insertion of new rivets, and making good. Please see the captions on the individual pictures for details.

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The clubs were left with heads up to allow the epoxy to settle in between the cone and the hosel and to cure.

The next step is to remove the temporary wooden pins. First the protruding ends of the pins are snapped of with pliers.

Then a knife is used to further take off protruding wood.

Now an 1/8" drill bit is used to drill out the wooden pin. Almost all standard clubs will be riveted with 1/8" pins. An exception would be clubs with aluminium heads, and those are tricky to work with, and require special procedures.

I drill the pin a little from one side...

then a little from the other, in order to better get a clean pass-through.

I have never really had problems getting the drill through cleanly from one side to the other.

Once the hole has been thoroughly cleaned out with the drill, use a knife or similar tool to ensure that all epoxy, scrap wood etc. is removed from around the hole ends on either side. This is important, as a proper metal-to-metal contact is required for good riveting.

This is what I use to make my new pins. These are 14" mild steel rods, sold in hardware stores as electrodes for arc welding. Except for one end, they are coated with a clay insulation, but this is easily removed by crushing with pliers and then polishing with steel wool.

This is a piece of rod left from an electrode from which I have already cut quite a number of pins. I smooth off any burrs from previous cutting with a rat-tail file, to give a flat end.

I put the rod through the hosel, and mark the place to cut with a razor saw. I want about 1/16" or a little more to protrude on each side.

You could cut the rod with a hacksaw, but I use a carborundum cutting disc on a Dremel tool. Cutting this way will make the rod hot, so hold it in pliers, not your fingers.

Once the piece of rod has been cut to the right length, square off the ends again with a rat-tail file.

Put the pin through the hosel. There should be about 1/16" or a bit more protruding on each side. If the pin comes out the wrong length, it is better to cut another.

Now I hammer the ends of the pin with a standard, full-size hammer. The other end of the pin needs to be braced on something like an anvil. I am actually using the top of a heavy vise in my workshop.

Strike just a few blows on one side, then turn the head over and strike the other end.

Here the head of the pin has started to spread under the blows.

Keep hitting a few blows first on one side then another, spreading the pin on each side to fill out the hole.

Try to hammer the pin evenly in such a way as to spread the pin both side to side and up and down the shaft direction.

When the pin is spread out like this on both sides we are done. Don't over hammer the pin, especially if you have a bit more than wanted protruding, as this could damage the hosel.

When I started doing this, I used to use a file for all of the levelling off of the pin heads. But now I use a stone grinding wheel on a Dremel tool to take of the initial excess of metal.

I try to take metal off the pin head to bring it down to an even surface about a paper thickness above the hosel. And yes, I have caught the hosel with the grinding wheel slightly here.

Once the pin head is down to around a paper thickness, I take the rest off, blending the pin head into the hosel surface with a rat-tail file.

This is about as much as I can do with the file. Running a finger over the pin head is probably better than relying on looking - it should end up feeling smooth with the hosel.

To finish up, I polish with emery paper, down to extra-fine.

Then a final polish of the hosel with steel wool.

This is the final state of the new pin in this club. Not my finest work, and not up to the highest professional standards, but quite serviceable.

I finish up by cleaning and lightly sanding the shaft, and then applying new shellac.

Ken Leedham, GHSC. If you have questions or comments, please email