Help Bending Rebar

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Help Bending Rebar

Postby Alligatorz » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:37 pm

Hi, does anyone know of any stores (home depot won't, I asked) that will bend rebar for you (preferably in the denver area), or ways of bending rebar without having to buy some expensive hydraulic press or whatever? I am at a loss for how to go about getting that done....I just want to bend the ends of a few pieces to stake down our tents with.
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Postby Bob » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:43 pm

Heat w/ ordinary propane torch over a one-two inch length until dull cherry red, bend by slipping short lengths of 3/4" pipe over the end(s).
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Postby Token » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:48 pm

Why are you bending them again?
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Postby ygmir » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:49 pm

depends on how strong you are:
you can just slip a pipe over it and hold the other end in a vise and use the pipe as a lever, and, it makes a sharp bend.
If no vise, use two pieces of pipe, hold one, bend the other. You can use a longer piece of pipe for the short end than the rebar and increase your leverage that way.......makes a good, short bend.

Heating makes it easier, but, not totally necessary, rebar is very soft steel, quite malleable......

Most contractors, especially concrete people, have a slick rebar bender.....and, a lot of independent lumber yards do, too. It's a cutter/bender.

Just some ideas,
good luck
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Postby zabsinth » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:49 pm

Or get a helper (any will do - I used a 13 year old girl) and a couple of lengths of pipe - if one of them is at least 4 or 5 feet long, you'll have no trouble bending 1/2 inch. Just lay the shorter pipe on the ground with about 8" of rebar protruding, fit the larger pipe over the protruding rebar with about an inch of space between the pipes, have your helper stand on the short pipe, and then just bend it with the long pipe.

We did 18 stakes in less than 10 minutes this way.

If you use a vise, make sure it is strong and securely attached to your workbench.

I messed up two stakes and ruined a vise in less than 3 minutes this way.
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Postby LeChatNoir » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:19 pm

Rebar is usually a mix of all kinds of re-smelted scrap steels and occasionally has hard spots in it. I’ve had it shatter into pieces before when doing the pipe trick, so don’t let anyone stand down range just in case.
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Postby Bob » Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:29 pm

Needs heating if you want a tight bend, esp. if you scavenge Grade 60 bar scraps off a jobsite.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Tue Aug 05, 2008 10:10 pm

I second the heating plan. It's SO much easier to just heat it. Torches are cheap. Get one. And hey... working with fire should be a burner's first idea!
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Postby Joshatdot » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:06 am

I just YT searched rebar bending - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWgPCGYzt2I
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Postby Fire_Moose » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:14 am

Joshatdot wrote:I just YT searched rebar bending - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWgPCGYzt2I



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Postby Toolmaker » Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:43 pm

I fell on my ass once when trying to bend rebar without pre-heating, it can snap whilst trying to bend. Also consider grinding a nice point on the end to make it easier to pound into the playa, this also allows for a secondary use of a weapon if need be. I use rubber tool coating to keep the point covered, tennis balls and pool noodles suffice for covering the tops.
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Postby hsdavis » Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:15 pm

I used heat to make a nice bend. The candy cane bend is a bit of a problem when smashing with a sledge hammer into the ground. I needed a straight bend so I would hit the rebar nice and solid. Also, I painted the bent part with flourescent orange paint and ground off the sharp edges from the top and made a point on the bottom. 8 of these took about an hour.
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Postby Token » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:18 pm

1. Get pre-cut rebar from Home Despot
2. Go to 99c store and buy a bunch of tennis balls for cheap
3. Pound in the straight rebar at a 45 degree angle
4. puncture tennis ball and stick on protruding rebar
5. Bring vise-grip pliers for rebar extraction

Might want to learn how to tie some knots as well.

So, why do you want to bend rebar again?
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Postby capjbadger » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:53 pm

Token wrote:So, why do you want to bend rebar again?

I actually made very good use of "candycane" rebar when I was bringing my dome out there. The hook would go over the bottom struts so both ends of the rebar would be burried in the ground.

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Postby Captain Goddammit » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:05 pm

At any rate, the simple answer is heat the stuff with a torch, it'll bend like rubber.
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Postby cunfuzelled » Fri Aug 08, 2008 10:02 am

if you get 2 pieces of 3/4 inch or 1 inch rigid pipe you can slip them over your rebar, set one end on the ground and pull up with the other end. this is super easy i make lots of tools for my forge and other projects this way. no fancy tools involved
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Postby phil » Fri Aug 08, 2008 2:56 pm

If I understand the concept correctly, the reason to bend rebar is to drive the rebar into the ground so that people don't trip or stub their toe or cut themselves on the sharp edges of the hammered rebar. If you bend it, you can drive it in flush with the ground, capturing the tent stake strap so it can't slip off or out.

Hammering in straight rebar and leaving enough above ground so that the strap doesn't slip off is a serious problem for many of us burners who wander around with flipflops, no shoes, or soft slippers - that stub sticking up can break toes, bust the skin open, and do serious cuts needing stitches. Tennis balls and other protective covers may prevent cuts, but stubbed toes are still a serious problem.

Louise and I use straight rebar with one of two things over the rebar. One is solar lights on the rebar around our tent. Few people will walk into our tent day or night since it's nearly eye level and sticks out from the playa, but having the solar lights provides a cover for any sharp edges, a circular area of a few inches that exceeds the circumference of the rebar, and a light at night which gives notice of something on the ground.

The other thing is 6-foot white PVC poles. Most people will notice something at eye level; the pole covers the sharp edges of the rebar.

The purpose of bent rebar is to prevent injury, and it's not the only prevention. Your mileage will vary.
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Postby Elorrum » Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:17 pm

I have been able to obtain a lot of cheap malibu lights... accumulate might be a better word. obsessively accumulating cheap solar lights o.k. that's about it. Anyhoo... I keep my eye open for closeouts and returns and have gotten the six packs for under 5 bucks. I enlarged the little hole at the bottom of the plastic cup "shade" (these are the cheap ones remember) to fit tightly onto a piece of #4 rebar. I stuck the whole light on its plastic "stem" pipe, which covers about 8 inches of exposed rebar and squeezed, squoze? the hole in the bottom of the lamp onto the end of the bar. Worked fine I think.

My only attempt at bending rebar last year, the morning of departure, using a vice and a 4 lb. short handle sledge was silly and frustrating and gave me about a 30 degree deviation as the hammer and rebar worked like a slippery springboard "boing". I thought about using a torch this year and heating the rebar to bend it, but I liked having a straight spot to hammer on when the rebar is unbent, and that also makes a great lamp holder. Granted not too many landscapers set their solar lights at 45 degree angles to the ground, but hey, I like the rakish tilt style of landscaping.
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Also, when it is time to take that rebar home...

Postby alexn20 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:28 am

When the time comes to pack up you may find it very hard to get the rebar out of the ground. If you have some that are stuck try wetting the ground. Its a bit muddy but sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do. This worked well for me last year.
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Postby MarkM3 » Thu Aug 14, 2008 12:49 pm

How to bend rebar on the playa:
If your car/truck has a trailer hitch receptacle, you can use it like a vise! I usually stick one end of the rebar into the receptacle, and slide a piece of heavy duty steel water pipe over the other end. Pull on the steel pipe, and the rebar bends.

Not perfect, but works in a pinch.


I also take some empty milk crates with me. They work well for holding junk on the way up, then I place them upside-down over the stakes to stop people from accidentally tripping or hurting themselves on the stakes.
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Postby ilmarinen » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:36 am

I tried, half-heartedly I admit, to heat rebar with a propane hand torch and was getting no-where with it. How long do you folks spend heating it?

Of course, by this time next year, the forge will be operational....didn't happen this year, and by the time I realized how useful it would be, too many other projects to get done.

Rebar bending tools ("hickey bars") are about $25 at Home Despot or Sears, and look pretty handy.
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Don't understand why I never see burners using them? What does the two pieces of pipe cost? The ones my campmate has are already badly chewed-up at the ends. I've been accused of being a little too ready and willing to buy new tools, but I've also saved many a project by realizing that the right tool (rented or bought) can make all the difference.

Of course, I am every increasingly dubious of rebar as *the* stake for BM. But, that's sorta heretical around here.

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Postby zabsinth » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:08 am

just bent another 20 stakes with two pieces of gas pipe. it is easy. torches and vises and benders i am sure are great, but there is no need to overcomplicate this process.
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Postby Alligatorz » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:02 am

Thanks for all your suggestions. We were able to bend a pile of rebar using the pipe method.....it was easier than I thought it would be.
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shade structure poles

Postby joemomma » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:44 pm

I have some concrete stakes, 4 x 24" and 4 x 36". I was planning on pounding them into the playa and putting some type of pipe over them, also have a few I want to put some type of 6 foot flag type pole.......
my daughter is drawing the Man with a Hello Kitty head......
Anyway, what type of pole/pipe do I need for my shade and the flag pole, figuring the shade will be no higher than 6-8 feet.....
Will i need to support the poles with support guy lines?
it is a shade sail triangle @ 11' x 11' x 11'
Think I will need to support it at the center with one of those camo net supports ?
sold at Reno Twin City Surplus for 22 bucks..
Am I crazy?
Also, will a pipe wrench, work to twist the concrete stakes out of the ground?
Thanks.....
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Postby apples » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:56 pm

i was at home depot this morning for rebar. they had a rebar bending tool by the bins of rebar, long handle metal thingie with three bolts sticking out of the paddle shaped end. looked similar to the "nails in a 2x4" method. it seemed like it was there for bending before purchasing.
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Postby Bob » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:10 pm

Yes, you need guy lines for shade sails, no you don't need a spreader, one inch steel tubing might be too wobbly, try larger tubing made for cyclone fence, & large vice grips w/ curved jaws are fine for wiggling form stakes out of the ground.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:26 am

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Postby justfred » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:44 am

How about, stop using rebar to hold down tents? It's a really bad solution when there's a product designed to do the job: strangely enough, they're called "tent stakes".

Sure, most tents come with crappy tiny stakes. So why not find a military surplus place, and get some decent ones? I like the "V" shaped military stakes, and the 8" or 12" ones will hold down any normal-sized tent in any playa wind. Use 8 stakes - or however many loops your tent has. Pound them in at a slight inward angle. Easier to get in, easier to get out, hold better than rebar, and less danger of injury.

For larger shade structures, rebar has its uses - but there are also great large tent stakes available that do the job even better.
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Postby epic_elite » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:49 pm

[quote="justfred"]How about, stop using rebar to hold down tents? It's a really bad solution when there's a product designed to do the job: strangely enough, they're called "tent stakes".

Sure, most tents come with crappy tiny stakes. So why not find a military surplus place, and get some decent ones? I like the "V" shaped military stakes, and the 8" or 12" ones will hold down any normal-sized tent in any playa wind. Use 8 stakes - or however many loops your tent has. Pound them in at a slight inward angle. Easier to get in, easier to get out, hold better than rebar, and less danger of injury.

For larger shade structures, rebar has its uses - but there are also great large tent stakes available that do the job even better.[/quote]

what if we are tieing down something heavier than a tent?

i use 2' rebar to fasten down my monkey-hut...


and in terms of bending rebar. we just kept the bar straight for ease of transport, then bend on site with two pieces of heavy 3/4" inside diameter pipe. it bends with minimal effort, granted you aren't trying to bend down the very tip. keep simple physics in mind, if you can't bend it move the pipe down and try make the short end of the candy cane longer.
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