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How to Bend Thick Metal Without Traditional Tools



A friend from North Carolina said he doesn't have all the fancy tools Kevin has, but he is still able to bend railroad spikes. Kevin says he learned this simple trick in high school, and it's still really helpful.

If you have something big and heavy and want to bend it, and you don't have any machines to bend it with, just cut slices in the metal. Don't cut quite all the way through, though - "That's embarrassing," says Kevin.

The closeness of the slices will determine how smooth your curve is. The closer they are, the smoother the curve.

The slices are easy to cut. Kevin just uses his 4-1/2" angle grinder with a cutoff wheel. He clamps whatever he is cutting in the vise. Be careful, bracing yourself, and cut your slices the way you want the metal to bend.

Kevin is ready to show you how to do it, so he puts on his safety equipment and fires up his angle grinder. He braces his hand on the vise he has a railroad spike clamped in, and cuts some slices.

Then he picks up a hammer and hits the spike away from the solid end of the slices. In addition to a hammer, you also can use a crescent wrench to bend the metal. The spike bends beautifully.

If you've bent the metal over so much that the open ends of the slices touch but you still want a deeper bend, just use your angle grinder to open up the outside edge where the metal is now touching - don't go all the way back inside.

You can use this trick for any thick metal - railroad spikes, solid rod, square stock, round stock - anything you can't bend over your knee.

Then you come back and weld up your slices, grind your work smooth, and you have some beautiful turns and twists.

Kevin thanks Pops for the how-to video idea and hope it helps some folks out there.

He's ready to head back to work, but you might want to wait around for another moment to see how a professional clamps things into a vise ....

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