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Opinion On Alternative To Steel Bending

Brad Manion

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Well, the topic and description pretty much say it all. I'm starting to get into bending the shorter nails in the Bastard series, and while I have yet to bend a 7" Shiny Bastard or an Edgin, I am naturally looking at the KOAB.

Due to John Beatty's announcement of "Golden Bastard" and "Fat Golden Bastard" certs on thick round brass pieces, I went to Fastenal and bought a bunch of 3/8" (GB) and 1/2" (FGB) round brass, cutting the rods down to 7" pieces to prepare for the KOAB. After having bent an unofficial Golden Bastard, my thought on this is that they are certainly worthy of certification. One has to really dial in the form to be able to conquer a Golden Bastard.

Now, for working up to something tougher like the KOAB, I was wondering where more benefit is derived from this expensive training alternative: kink, sweep, or crush. The kink on the 7" Golden Bastard was tough, but not horrible, comparable to the kink on bending 7" x 5/16" round 304-SS. I made my first go at 7" x 5/16" round 303-SS, and it is worlds tougher than 304-SS (10 degrees total damage on 303-SS, versus 40-50 degrees of damage on only the first hit for 304-SS). It's hard for me to judge sweep right now, for I also bent a 6-1/2" GB today, and the sweep was much tougher than the 7" GB. The total bend on the 7" GB took maybe 4-5 hits, then some quick crushes, maybe 2 to 2-1/2 minutes total. The 6-1/2" GB took me about 15 minutes, maybe 10 hits to get it to crushdown distance (3" between posts) and then another 10 hits to get the posts down to about a 2" to 2-1/16" spread.

One thing I seem pretty sure on is that crush for the thick brass is flat-out nasty stuff. The consistency I've seen on brass is that the posts definitely hit a wall once they're 3" apart, wanting to spring back. One has to really fight like hell for every 1/8" after that.

So, has anybody used thick brass as a transition to the tougher pieces of steel and if so, what have you learned?

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I think I am in the same stage of bending as you Brad.

In my mind, there are two much cheaper alternatives. For now, 80d nails and 8"x3/8 bolts are a decent stepping stong for me. Prekinked I can do some damage to them, enough to make it worthwhile.

Damn, it's not brass (which is what you are looking for), but it is some of the stuff I do.

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Nice job on the brass Brad!!!I think the brass is a nice step stone to the Shiny bastard it has similar caracteristics but is just 10% easier I would guess.The 1/2 Brass gotta be way hard I would imagine!!!


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Sounds like we're really close at our stages of bending. I too cannot get a shiny but can get it moving.

Sounds like a good plan to me but I've only tackled one piece of brass.


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Thanks for the input guys. Bob, I've been thinking along your lines as far as the 80d nails go. I bought a 50# box not too long ago and other than 5-10# that I shipped to a few people, I still have quite a few left. Just sitting down for long enough to cut off the heads, points, and then grinding them will be a challenge, especially since I'm moving out of my home within a month. As far as brass goes, I have quite a bit left, but at $3-$4 per 7" piece, it's the sort of piece I'd try maybe onec a week, tops. Just curious, how far do you have to prekink your 80d nails before they really yield. For me, I'm guessing 90-100 degrees as I'm still weak on even the longer (8-9") 3/8" round steel. Good for crush, but not much I can do for kinking the big steel.

Brendan, thanks for the insight on the Shiny. I'm amazed I did damage to the one today at all, but thinking about it later, my form was off and I didn't bother to slow down, stop, and dial my form back in. I think my biggest stepping stone to the next level, the really tough stuff, is getting that first (unofficial) Shiny bent. That 303-SS is some serious stuff, and I'm glad so many guys told me to check out my old SS, which turned out to be 304, when I found I couldn't even dent my Edgins, yet was able to put a serious hurting on some (304) SS. It made sense all of a sudden. So, I guess I just gotta keep hitting that piece of 303-SS I barely damaged today and when it's done, try another one and repeat the process until I can do it all in one session.

Good luck to you guys. If you make progress with your methods, I'd be interested in seeing what works for you guys. I'll be sure to pass on anything I learn.

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Brad, John sells Brass for $2 a piece, maybe you should buy from him instead of fastenal, it might save you some money if you're paying $3-$4 right now.

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The 3/8 I need close to a 90 for the most part. However, at Menards by my place they sell 8"x3/8 grade 2 bolts cheap, and I can get one with just the tiniest prekink.

My best stainless is a 7" piece I have gotten to 45 degrees give or take over multiple sessions.

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