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DIY Rebar Bender

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Steel reinforcement bar -- rebar for short -- is an essential ingredient of concrete foundations, footings and walls, and it has many other uses as well. Pros often bring a rebar bender with them to a job site, but if you need to make a only few bends, there is an easy way to do it without a professional's bender.

Vise and Pipe Method

You can bend 1/2- and 3/4-inch rebar quickly and easily by using a vise and a length of 1-inch steel pipe. Mark the position of the bend on the rebar, then insert it into the vice with the mark aligned with the jaw. Tighten the vise, then slide the pipe along the other end of the rebar until it's just short of the mark. Stand in front of the vise and pull the pipe toward you to bend the rebar. The longer the pipe, the more leverage it will give you.

Add Heat

If you need to make a bend near the end of a length of 3/4-inch rebar, you may have trouble doing it while it's cold. Using a propane torch to heat the joint makes the steel malleable and easier to bend. Be sure to wear goggles and protective gloves -- the rebar and pipe will get hot.

Bend Rebar Manually

Rebar (short for "reinforcing bar") is used to reinforce concrete in construction work. Because it's made of steel, rebar expands at roughly the same rate as concrete during temperature changes. Often rebar must be bent to fit specific architectural forms. This can be done with machinery, both industrial and handheld, but it can also be accomplished manually. All you need to bend rebar is a vise, steel pipe and a blowtorch. Put on a pair of leather work gloves to protect your hands. After you've bent the rebar a few inches, stop and check the angle with a protractor. Heat the rebar again and continue bending it until it reaches the desired angle. Repeat this process until all required bends are complete.

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