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How to Use a Chinese Pipe Bender for a Metal Art Sculpture

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: Trying not to pinch my fingers while I work on this commission for a home and garden sculpture. I'm going to put a sculptured steel balcony on a front porch that's two stories up in the air. When finished, it'll be an impressive piece of metal art.

What I'm trying to do now is make the pieces that go in the sides and fill in this edge. So I'm taking a piece of one-inch metal strap and running it through my pipe bender, trying to twist the metal sideways without catching my fingers or making too many mistakes.

Now I have to bend it back the other way. That's where the finger catching comes in. This is a lot easier with a hydraulic version of this machine. They're a lot bigger. I really don't use it enough to justify spending that kind of money on a machine that I only use on occasion.

Here, we got it closer, but now I've got a little wrinkle in it, so I've got to go to the anvil and pound it back out again.

If it was cold out, we'd have the forge running; then I could just put this in the forge and get it red hot. I could just stand here and do this one-handed.

You might put it over your knee, but you'd set your pants on fire.


In the world of tools, there are so many different kinds to do the things you want to do.

This is a flattening hammer. It's because of the shape of the head that you use with an anvil.

This is a little detail hammer, much smaller head on it, but it also has a little point on it, so if you were working on the edge of a piece of metal down in here, you could see here to work down into that little edge where your hammer just won't reach down inside.

There are lots of different tools, lots of different purposes. I don't have quite all of them in my studio yet, but we're getting there.

I've got to go back to work. Bye.

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