Bending Rebar by Hand


Rebar, or reinforcing bars, are made mostly of steel, their main purpose to help reinforce concrete constructions by adding tension and support. Rebar is used in the construction of bridges and buildings, in the building of retaining walls and seawalls, and often as an unseen element to help strengthen and secure large sculptures and pieces of outdoor artwork. Since the invention of rebar, however, even more uses have been discovered for this unyielding material. Today, rebar fills many needs — as a medium for garden art and outdoor furniture, as stakes for fencing and planting, and as hangers and connectors for various containers.

In order to use rebar in ways other than as a straight medium for reinforcing concrete, it may be necessary to learn the best way of bending rebar by hand.


How to Bend Rebar By Hand

The safest and easiest way of bending rebar by hand is to encase it inside two pieces of metal piping — a shorter piece, and a longer piece. Thread the rebar through both pieces of pipe, allowing them to intersect at the point where you want the bend to occur. Weigh the piping down on one end of the metal piping and expose the area of the rebar that you want to bend. Use leverage to lift the long piece of pipe up from the ground. You’ll need an adequate amount of muscle to bend the sturdy steel rod, but the leverage you’ll gain from using a longer piece of pipe will help move the process along.

Getting the Right Angle

Once you’ve encouraged the rebar to yield, it helps to have a large carpenter’s square on hand to help you measure the bend. This will help you better achieve the angle you’re going for. If you can enlist a third person to hold the square as two others bend it, you’ll have the right angle in no time at all.

Why You Should Never Heat Rebar

Although the main ingredient in rebar is steel, this is one material that also often encompasses a wealth of other elements such as zinc, lead, or tin. Heating rebar will make it pliant enough to bend, but it often cools brittle. And if you’re counting on your rebar construction to support weight or provide an element of safety, heating it is not the safest way to go. Rebar that’s been manipulated by heat is susceptible to breaking at inopportune moments — resulting in injury or worse.

So the next time you find yourself gifted with an abundance of this sturdy construction material, and you want to find an innovative way to put it to good use, consider bending it into any number of usable shapes, including plant hangers, tomato cages, and unique metal garden art. So long as you handle it properly and place it safely where pointed ends can’t present a hazard, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy this material as a decorative element in your DIY landscape.


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