Some people claim to be able to bend metal with their mind. Since I prefer to bend metal with tools and my hands, I was happy Duluth Trading sent us their wire bender tool to review. It’s a handy small size, measuring just 1″W x 4 3/8″L x 5/8″H. The wire bender lets you bend mild steel up to 3/16” diameter using several techniques.
The tool is designed to either be clamped into your bench-top vise, or screwed directly to your bench. I opted for the latter since my vise is pretty rickety (I think it was built when our house was. . . . in the 1930’s). The two included screws firmly attach the jig to your work surface if you prefer not using a vise. Having the wire bender firmly mounted is key to it working properly.
At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have to say I am a very experienced bender. However, my expertise typically comes from bending things by accident. The notion of bending something on purpose was a concept that took a little getting used to. Despite the paradigm shift necessary, I focused on the task at hand and grabbed some thick wire I had laying around in the shop.
Within about 30 seconds I had a perfectly shaped “S” hook. I grabbed some beefy wire snips to trim the excess wire. Voila! So easy, I impressed myself. Maybe I should quit this incredibly lucrative home improvement blog and just start hand-producing S hooks? Then again, I think they have machines that make more than one hook at a time. Oh well, I’ll just keep “S Hook Crafter” up my sleeve in case I need another career in the future.
The aluminum base has several grooves and profiles in it, so you can easily bend right angles and semi circles. The wire bender also features several removable pins enabling you to configure custom bending patterns. The handy instruction sheet that accompanies the wire bender even includes some project suggestions. Stuff like “curtain rod ring”, “fish rod eye”, and the afore mentioned “s hook”. Mysteriously they also include “bird”, showing an outline of a dove. I’m pretty skeptical there’s anyone on Duluth’s mailing list that’s buying a wire bending jig to make bird outlines, but maybe my demographic analysis is off here. The Wire Bender is available from Duluth Trading for a no-brainer price of just $6.50.