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Guest woody36

question to Tom Black

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Guest woody36

 Tom,

        Due to your passion and enthusiasm for bending

 steel,i was spurred on to have a go myself.

I purchased some british standard 6inch 1/4 nails

and last friday managed to bend one to roughly a

1inch gap.I did this after a phonebook tear and at

the time i was really fired up.I have just proceded to

bend three more nails, i was wandering how many

nails you would recommend i bend in a week to make progress. I have no idea how our nails compare with

yours in terms of difficulty,it also takes four to five

tries to bend the nail.

     any advice tom would be appreciated.

    woody.

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Tom Black

    I only bend multiple nails once per week, but I do occasionally bend one or two during the week, usually, they are “easy” nails for me, however.  I don’t have any set routine, but my basic theme is quality over quantity.  Hence, I usually do 1 warm-up nail, one medium tough nail, and one nail near the maximum I can do.   I’ve probably done 100 variations of this, but I rarely do more than 5 pieces of steel.

    I’ve bent 12 nails/bars in around 10 minutes in training, which is my highest volume.  Over the years I seem to have been injured more with too much volume, rather than too tough of steel.  This is just a general recollection, with only anecdotal evidence.  If it takes you 4 or 5 tries, one or two nails might be enough.  Most of the ones I bend are done in 1 or 2 tries.

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Guest woody36

Tom,

       thankyou for getting back to me so quickly

 much appreciated.

     woody.

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terryduty

Woody36, I'd advise that you get Ironmind's Bag-of-Nails and try those. The Ironmind web site can be found at this URL http://www.ironmind.com by clicking on this address. The great thing about these "nails" is that there are batches of different levels of difficulty nails. So it helps determine where you're at regarding your bending compared to a lot of other people that bend nails and also provides the next toughest level of nails to attack as well as warm-up nails.

Good luck with your bending!

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Guest woody36

 Strongman,

                    thankyou for your suggestion it is

     much appreciated.in your profile it mentions your

love of steel bending,if its not too much to ask

could you give me a brief rundown of some of the

steel you have bent,and how long it took you to get

to the stage you are now.

 again thankyou for the reply.

      woody

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terryduty

woody36 here is some abckground on my bending.

When I started out (Dec. 2000), I couldn't even bend an Ironmind White nail (the weakest nail in their Bag of Nails) because I was using bad technique-too much thumb. After improving both my grip strength and previously pathetic bending technique (I now use the "Slim the Hammer Man" technique of bending with my hands in front of my chest palms facing down and "explosively" attacking the nail), I started bending 40d nails, and Ironmind "White" and "Green" nails. My hands are large (8 in.) and I find that I prefer bending a length of steel 7" or longer. Unfortuanately, this usually means tougher steel! Then I found 6" pole barn nails (which are about the same as the Ironmind white nail but cheaper) and 6 foot length of 1/4" hot rolled and cold rolled steel that I'd cut down to shorter lengths and bend. I also found some 7" carriage bolts that are great fun to bend.

I like to bend nails behind my back and my training partner videotaped me bending a couple of 7" nails behind my back. I could only bend the 2nd nail about half way because I ran out of steam. If anyone's interested, I can try and create a video file out of this recording and make a link available. One of my goals is to eventually bend the Ironmind Blue nail behind my back. But, I don't think I'll be doing a back flip like John Brookfield can when bending behind his back!

After reading an article (http://www.galaxymall.com/info/scrollwork/) about John Brookfield's scroll work sculptures, I bought a 6 foot length of flat 1"X1/8 steel and scrolled this into my own work of art (using just hand strength). Later, I learned that John Brookfield uses 1/2" steel and not wimpy 1/8" steel! But it was a beginning for me!

I've also bent Gorilla Hands' nemesis nail (6" x 1/4" Spiral nail from Home Depot), but this is the only nail that I've ever braced to bend and I don't brace nails anymore to bend them. For some pics, click on: here.

My grip strength continues to improve, but I'm no Tom Black!  But recently, my training partner has inspired me to tackle tougher steel and I just bent a 1/2" steel bar that is 4 foot long. I even made it "fish shaped" as is commonly done at strength exhibitions! I did have to brace this one on the side of my leg, though. But again, this is a start for me! Who knows? Maybe some day I'll be doing my own 1/2" scroll work sculptures like John Brookfield. (A guy can dream, can't he?)

Somehow, my wife readily tolerates having bend nails, spikes, and steel bars laying all over my training room! Without my family's support, a good training partner, and the terrific help from this Gripboard, I don't think I'd be anywhere near where I am at bending steel as I am today!

One word of caution: when I first started bending using Slim the Hammer Man's technique, I suffered some mild tendinitis and my training partner suffered major tendinitis (he was bending thicker steel). Since this, he has adopted the technique described in the chapter "Spike Bending with the Hands" found in Charles MacMahon's book "Feats of Strength and Dexterity" (1926). A link to this can be found at the http://www.naturalstrength.com/history/spike.html web site.

Sorry for the long-winded post, woody36...but you asked!

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Guest woody36

 Strongman,

                   Thankyou for getting back to me,it was

not at all longwinded.It was well written,to the point

and very much appreciated.I bend my nails as

described in the article palms facing chest,after the

initial bend i place the nail into the palms of both

hands and crush inwards.I think the Slim Farman way

requires a greater deal of wrist strength,something

i will be working on.Again i must thankyou for the

links and the time taken to write back to me, good

luck for the future,all the best ... Woody

 ps. great ring design.

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Tom Black

    Yes Strongman, very well written indeed.  I recognize the “pole barn nail” as the farthest nail to the right on your profile page (the little rings almost look like threads, but they are not).   This must be a different brand than the one I bought because yours bent without breaking, but mine only bent 1” or so and then snapped!  I was searching for nails the other day on the net and found that pole barn nails are tempered (but very thin).  A word of caution, when I try to bend a nail that I’ve never attempted before I try to be careful, these pole barn nails were real surprising when they break so quickly!  My home depot doesn’t seem to have the spiral nails, I bought mine at Lowe’s, maybe they are a different brand, that is why mine seemed to be “mediums” too me.

    I think it is OK to brace 4-foot long steel, that long of piece is a bit unwieldy.   I’ve braced 3/8x4' in my teeth, but I’ve given it up for my dentist!

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Guest Paper clip

Strongman, I read the posts above and you seem pretty thorough in your answers, and wanted to know if you could answer a couple of questions for me.  I went to your web page and noticed you work with the COC grippers.  I own the trainer and have a friend who owns the number 1 gripper.  After a couple of months of working on the trainer, I can do six reps with my right hand and no better than four with my left.  Further, I have (on two occasions) closed the number 1 gripper with my right hand.  However, most of the time I can’t close the number 1.  My hand slips a little bit, and I don’t quite get it closed.  Additionally, some days I just feel stronger than others.  Some days the trainer feels really hard, and sometimes I clamp it shut easily.  I really don’t know who the best grip trainers are, so if you know who else I could ask, please tell me.  Anyway, here are my questions:

1) How do you train with the grippers, and what is the max you can do?  What could you do when you first started?

2) Is it normal that I have such a big gap between the right and left hand?

3) It’s really frustrating that I can’t seem to make quick progress on the number 1, you seem to have shot up in hand strength very fast, you can bend some pretty heavy duty stuff after just a few months.  Have you been a weight trainer for a long time or are you really huge?  My hand strength is changing very slowly, and I could use some tips on how to speed my progress.  Keep in mind I am not a big guy...

4) I tried to bend a 60 penny nail and I have decided that my arm would break before I bent that thing.  I finally bent it over a chair to see how hard it was, and I can definitely say I am FAR away.  The pain is horrible.  Is it painful for you?  This is why I call myself paperclip.  It’s about the only thing I can bend. (-: Anyway, I can’t bend the thing. What could I start with?  I don’t think I could bend any of the mail order nails...

Thanks,

The clip

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terryduty

Strongman, I read the posts above and you seem pretty thorough in your answers, and wanted to know if you could answer a couple of questions for me.  I went to your web page and noticed you work with the COC grippers.  I own the trainer and have a friend who owns the number 1 gripper.  After a couple of months of working on the trainer, I can do six reps with my right hand and no better than four with my left.  Further, I have (on two occasions) closed the number 1 gripper with my right hand.  However, most of the time I can’t close the number 1.  My hand slips a little bit, and I don’t quite get it closed.  Additionally, some days I just feel stronger than others.  Some days the trainer feels really hard, and sometimes I clamp it shut easily. I really don’t know who the best grip trainers are, so if you know who else I could ask, please tell me.

This board has lots of very helpful and experienced gripsters including COC #3 closers! Some people use "strap holds", negatives, or reps to advance with the grippers. Please review this Gripboard's "FAQ" and "Training Routines" sections. If you still have questions, post them. The people on this board are very willing to help new grip trainers. Regarding nail/bar bending, Tom Black is easily the most experienced in that area. Check out his Black Log on the GripPage and his excellent web site: The BigSteel Homepage

Paper Clip, regarding the COC slipping in your hands,  some people use chalk to keep their hands from slipping on the grippers, you might want to try this.

Anyway, here are my questions:

>1) How do you train with the grippers, and what is the max you can do?  What could you do when you first started?

I work out twice a week (Sunday and Thursday). This works for me, but there is no "correct" answer to how often to work out. You need to experiment to discover what works best for you. Twice a week gives me enough recovery time, but some people can train daily and others just once a week.

Regarding the COC grippers, after stretching my hands to warm up, I do 3 sets of 5 reps with each hand. Each set consists of the following. COC Trainer: 5 closes; COC #1: 5 closes; and COC #2:  5 attempts at closing. With the Ivanko, I start with the highest setting successfully completed in my last workout with that hand and then attempt the next highest one. If successful, I tackle the next highest setting. I repeat this until I'm unsuccessful.

When I first started, I could close the COC #1 my right hand, but couldn't close it with my left (I'm right-handed). Now my left hand is about 1/4" from closing the COC #2 and my right hand is just the thickness of a penny away.

2) Is it normal that I have such a big gap between the right and left hand?

The gap doesn't sound that big to me. The dominate hand is usually 10%-20% stronger. So, I wouldn't worry about the difference - my hands had a bigger gap when I first started but by requiring my weaker hand to tackle the same loads as my dominate hand, it has grown stronger faster than my right hand.

3) It’s really frustrating that I can’t seem to make quick progress on the number 1, you seem to have shot up in hand strength very fast, you can bend some pretty heavy duty stuff after just a few months.  Have you been a weight trainer for a long time or are you really huge?  My hand strength is changing very slowly, and I could use some tips on how to speed my progress.  Keep in mind I am not a big guy...

I am really huge (6'4" and weigh 350 lbs.). I did a little weight training when I was younger, but I've always had a strong grip. But, as in most sports, technique is everything and this is especially true with regard to bending nails. My progress with nail bending stems mostly from using improved bending techniques. When I started, my technique was pathetic! My training partner would laugh and shake his head as he watched me try and bend a relatively weak nail. My training partner and I are very competitive, but even he took pity on me and helped me improve my technique. He showed me a better hand position and using that technique, I found that I could bend thicker nails!

But, my technique still needed improving because I would take the nail and slowly and quite methodically try to bend it. He could still bend thicker nails than me! He advised that I use an explosive attack on the nail rather than a slow deliberate one. This enhancement really worked for me! I could now bend tougher nails!

But he could still bend thicker steel than me. My training partner's secret was that he gets incredibly angry and focuses his fury totally against whatever steel he is attacking! The anger level my training partner reaches is terrifying! In this blind rage, he has injured himself having no regard for pain or injury as he bends whatever steel is unlucky enough to be in front of him! I'm a very laid back kind of guy, so trying this technique with my nail bending wasn't very successful. In a previous training session, I'd tackled a very tough nail and had only been able to bend it about a 1/4". But an event happened that royally upset me and I picked up that tough nail and I bent it like it was nothing. Awesome! I was so shocked when I realized what I'd done, my anger quickly gave way to excitement! Anger is a very strong emotion, but I'm not sure it's my cup of tea and so, I eventually hope to tap into some other strong emotion, instead.  I still experiment with different techniques trying to perfect mine. All along this journey, I was also increasing my strength by bending nails (of course), using the BeefBuilder, COC, and Ivanko grippers, levering a Weaver stick, crumpling newspapers, tearing playing cards and folded newspapers, doing pinch grip work, etc.

4) I tried to bend a 60 penny nail and I have decided that my arm would break before I bent that thing.  I finally bent it over a chair to see how hard it was, and I can definitely say I am FAR away.  The pain is horrible.  Is it painful for you?  This is why I call myself paperclip.  It’s about the only thing I can bend. (-: Anyway, I can’t bend the thing. What could I start with?  I don’t think I could bend any of the mail order nails...

All 60 penny nails are tough to bend! John Brookfield, the author of Mastery of Hand Strength wrote that it takes about 150-350 lbs of pressure to bend a 60d nail. There is no pain when I bend nails, where do you feel the pain when you bend? Did you protect your hands against the ends of the nail with a cloth? The nail that you tried to bend might have been a very tough 60d nail. I've been lucky and have only experience a little tendonitis in my elbows back when I started.  

If you want to bend 60 penny nails, then here's what I suggest: ONLY bend nails/bars/etc that are 6" long.

Go to a hardware store and buy a 1/4" thick rod of aluminum. They usually sell these in 3', 4', or 6' lengths. Cut this rod into 6" lengths. Try to bend this 6" piece. If successful, try to bend two pieces together. If bending a single 6" piece is too challenging, go back to the hardware store and get a 1/8" aluminum rod, cut it into 6" lengths, and try and bend it. You can also take wire coat hangers and cut them into 6" lengths. These can also be used to warm up with. After you can bend the 1/4" X 6" lengths of aluminum, go back to the hardware store and get a 1/4" thick rod of of a tougher metal. In order of toughness, I would list them as follows: aluminum, brass, hot rolled steel (HRS), and cold rolled steel (CRS). Cut all of the rods into 6" lengths. Mark or keep separate the different steel, because HRS and CRS can look the same, but cold rolled steel is much harder to bend.

For your routine, I recommend that follow Tom Black's advise (see above response) and tackle easy, medium, and hard all in the same routine. I also recommend that you keep a log. It's great to look back and see how far you've come! With dedication and hard work, you'll conquer 60 penny nails!

Whew! This is one long response! I guess I like to bend ears as well as nails! Sorry for being so long-winded, but you did reference my being thorough!

Strongman

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