How to bend a steel rod

Written by k.k. lowell
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How to bend a steel rod
Decorative bent rods adorn many yards. (coeur en fer forgé image by Nokomis from

You don't have to be friends with Superman to deal with the problem of bending a steel rod. In fact, you can do it yourself. Smaller diameter rods-up to about one quarter inch-can be bent by hand with the help of a vice and something to bend the rod around. Larger rods can also be bent by hand, but may require the heat of a torch to soften them.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rod bending tool
  • Bench vice
  • Vice grips
  • Gloves
  • Oxy-acetylene torch
  • Hacksaw or other means to cut steel rod

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  1. 1

    Securely clamp two large-diameter bolts horizontally and about an inch apart in your vice jaws to create your own makeshift bender.

  2. 2

    Place the end of the steel rod between the two bolts. Pull the rod toward you, applying steady pressure to bend the rod. Where you place your hands on the rod will help determine the shape of the bend. If your hands are close to the vice the bend will be tight. Placing your hands farther away makes a larger and more gradual curve.

  3. 3

    Heat the rod with a torch if it is too difficult to bend by hand or if the radius of the bend is too small. Working with a longer section of rod will give you more leverage. Heat carefully to avoid melting the rod-red hot is hot enough. Apply the heat evenly to the inside of the bend and pull gradually to avoid cracking the rod as it bends. Wear good quality gloves during this operation to avoid burning your hands.

  4. 4

    Cut the rod to the correct length after your bend is complete. Steel rod can be cut with a hacksaw, cut-off tool or torch.

Tips and warnings

  • Bend steel rod the easy way with a commercial rod bender. These are available for home use from tool catalogues and online vendors. Rods are bent around steel pins on the tool. Insert the rod in the tool and pull to bend it. Larger capacity tools have an extending handle to provide bending leverage.

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