Ornamental iron is an intriguing home and garden decoration. The observer marvels at its intricate swirls. The secret lies in the tools used for bending the various shapes. Ornamental iron is bent with a simple workbench-mounted vice and interchangeable formers, workbench-mounted benders with separate tooling for specific bends and heavy-duty geared benders with their own pedestal stands. Costs increase with tool complexity.
Simple Bending Tools
A vice mounted on a workbench forms the base of the simplest bending tools. Various cast iron formers or jigs are clamped firmly into the vice. A vice grip pliers holds an iron bar while the craftsman bends the bar by hand around the formers.The formers are designed to create small scrolls, large scrolls and curves. A cranking jig is capable of creating small loops, and a wrought iron twisting tool enables the craftsman to put decorative twists in the iron bars.
Benders designed to work with hot rolled and mild steel can also be fitted for ornamental iron work. Options include the bench-mounted planetary ring roller, a heavy-duty pedestal arch and ring roller and the compact bender. A scroll attachment is available to form scrolls out of 1/4-inch solid round and square stock as well as 3/16 x 1 inch hot rolled steel flat. Also available are a picket twister, basket and wrap attachment.
Pedestal benders with tooling sold separately can be fitted to bend sharp bends, U-bolts and short close hooks on the ends of rods. Ornamental iron shapes and complicated bends can handle work as small as the making of a tiny nail. Bend cold flat stock edgeways up to any degree, including a 360-degree circle. Ornamental hand rail capping edgeways is also easily accomplished with a pedestal bender that accommodates 3/8 x 1 3/4 inch flat cold iron.
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