working with rebar

I've been seeing some pretty awesome sculptures made of rebar. They seem to be very anatomically correct. Are these done by talent and eye, or by taking measurements, and using big calipers to get things right?

I'm going to start doing some, and know I can get things to look like the original, but the difference between those and sculptures that are anatomically correct are plainly of different magnitudes.

Is a lot of the rebar cold bent and just trial fitted, or is a form used? I saw some saguaros and a moose the other day that were just awesome, and using cheap rebar would not be terribly expensive unless you figure in your time.

Help appreciated.


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You will find the rebar isn't mild steel. It work hardens when bent cold so try and bend it to the desired shape the first time. Maybe you have smaller rebar than I am used to. You could cook it in a fire first to see if that helps. They must have something to bend it with whether it is a pattern of what they wish to create or a device with pins to bend around or some powered bender. Having lots of pieces laying around to choose from could be helpful. There are also computerized bending machines which I have seen on TV make shapes like those compact fluorescent light bulb twists (with the straight at the ends) in just a second or few to go into hot water heaters and heat exchangers.


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Rebar is a Carbon content steel... and it isn't that hard to bend. Short pieces can be stubborn, but by using plywood blocks, semi- circles and such, you can easily bend tons of different angles and arcs. If you want to be more 'exact' you can buy specific 'Bar and Tube Benders' (like the ones used in off-road vehicle mods..) that will make short work even small pieces of Rebar...

Brazed rebar looks awesome too ! Especially when you use low fume bronze brazing rod or similar. A nice dark patina over top with polished joints makes for a pretty cool looking piece of Rebar Art, tables, what-have-you...



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You can get portable powered rebar benders/cutters designed for the reinforced concrete industry if you're going to do a lot of it (as they do).

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The actual shape becomes an artistic exercise. Think of a good political or funnies cartoon where one line signifies a lot of shape in a face or figure. In other words, not quite as easy as it looks!

Bending rebar is easy in the 3/8" and 1/2" sizes, gets tougher fast in the larger sizes. A heavy plate bolted to something really solid with some hardened pins sticking up will go a long way toward doing most of the bends you need. Stick a chunk of pipe on the end for some leverage and a way to focus the bend where you want it.

Watch your welds and the HAZ. Cheap rebar is typically .4% carb> I've been seeing some pretty awesome sculptures made of rebar. They seem to

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