A traditional approach to increasing fatigue resistance of many assemblies involves the creation of regions of compressive residual stress. For example, riveting holes used in modern passenger aircraft are currently subjected to cold expansion using split mandrel tools. The method is relatively expensive and not entirely problem-free. In the present study we consider a method of creating residual stresses around drilled holes referred to as ‘dimpling’, that itself is a variation of a novel technique known as the StressWaveTM process. An experimental procedure is described for the creation of localised regions of significant plastic deformation and residual stress by ‘dimpling’, allowing the production of cold-worked and residually-stressed specimens. The overall aims of this study were to determine thickness-average residual stresses by two different techniques, namely, one destructive technique (Sachs boring) and one non-destructive (high energy X-ray diffraction); and to compare the results. In Sachs boring experiments the variation of strain gauge readings with increasing diameter of the central hole was recorded. A classical elastic-ideally plastic axisymmetric model for plane stress conditions was used in the analysis. Energy dispersive synchrotron X-ray diffraction experiments were performed for non-destructive assessment of residual elastic strains. The two different stress evaluation techniques used in this project led to consistent results. Good correlation was found between the stresses obtained from X-ray diffraction results and those deduced from Sachs boring experiments.