How to Bend Metal With a Jig
A homemade jig can be used to bend sheet metal into almost any desired shape. Use these instructions to easily add beauty to a regular piece of sheet metal.
Cut all of the pieces to size from raw bar stock using a horizontal band saw.
With the bar stock cut to size, forge the two curved members of the wall bracket. After heating each piece in the fire, draw out the metal to length with a hammer and anvil.
To form the square bends in the wall bracket pieces, strike the metal over the edge of the anvil (Image 1). To sharpen and refine these somewhat rounded corners, use an oxyacetylene torch for rapid heating (Image 2). Then strike the bend with one hammer while holding a second hammer rigid against the backside of the bend (Image 3).
After finishing the angles, create sweeping curves in the front two pieces of the wall brackets by striking the red hot metal against the round anvil horn.
With the wall brackets properly shaped, it's time to form the frame of the pot rack. The frame consists of two long metal pieces bent twice -- forming a total of four corners. The points where these two pieces meet are called "lap" joints because one end of the metal slightly overlaps the other (Image 1).
To create each lap joint, insert the flat metal end into a special jig, and then heat it with the oxyacetylene torch. Once it is red hot, hammer directly onto a special forming tool called a top tool to form the overlapping joint (Image 2).
With the main pot rack components formed, roughly assemble the pieces with clamps, and then check to make sure the rack is level and square (Image 1). Make minor adjustments by securing the pieces in a vise, and then hammering the cold metal.
Fit the pot rack with a rectangular piece of wire mesh to serve as a shelf. Make a ledge for the mesh by scoring, heating and bending a long piece of angle iron to form a rectangle that will fit tight within the frame (Image 2). Drill holes through both the frame and the angle iron, and then rivet the two pieces together.
For the final assembly of the pot rack, rivet the two frame pieces together and then rivet the wall brackets to the frame. Start by drilling holes with the drill press through the lap joints and the wall pieces (Image 1).
"Cold rivet" the piece together by inserting short steel dowels through the holes and hammering the dowel against the anvil (Image 2). The smashing effect creates rivet heads on both sides of the dowel.
To finish the kitchen rack, create several hanging hooks, this time heating the metal bar stock with a quicker gas forge (Image 1). Using a foot-actuated power hammer, make quick work of drawing out of a sharp taper.
To form a clip on the opposite end, secure the metal and a square jig in a vise. Heat the area with the torch, and then hammer the metal over the jig (Image 2).
Shape each hook by hammering the red-hot tapered end around the anvil horn (Image 3).
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