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Thread: Galvanized dryer vent for DIY side bending iron?

  1. #1

    Galvanized dryer vent for DIY side bending iron?

    I've been using an old piece of 2 1/2" black iron pipe clamped in a pipe vise, heated by a hand-held torch for bending, and it works pretty well. But I've been hankering for a larger-diameter (or even teardrop or oval) shaped bending iron to get some curves smoother. I was in HD yesterday, and picked up the hardware to make another bending iron using a light bulb as the heat source (picked up 150 and 200 Watt incandescent bulbs at the same time). As the actual iron, I picked up a length of galvanized dryer vent and a cap.

    I know that galvanized iron can cause zinc poisoning if it's heated to above 700F or so, which is why you need to be really careful welding it. I don't expect a bending iron to get anywhere near that, though it could easily get to above 200F, even using a bulb as a heat source. (After I'd bought a regular light switch, it occurred to me that I could have bought a dimmer switch instead, but for now, my "thermostat" will just be putting in stronger or weaker light bulbs, as I practice with it...)

    Googling shows a number of examples of DIY bending irons that people put together from galvanized pipe, and I've never heard of anyone suffering from zinc poisoning from using one. But I thought I'd ask here:

    Has anyone had experience with using galvanized as a side bending iron? Have you heard of anyone getting sick from doing that?


  2. #2
    4" dryer vent also comes in aluminum where you wouldn't have the worry about zinc poisoning.
    Lee Schierer - McKean, PA

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  3. #3
    Thanks, Lee. I'm going to make the 5" one this weekend, using the galvanized. I've googled and YouTubed, and there are loads of guys using galvanized for bending irons, boiling troughs, etc. So I'll give it a shot. I'll report back re: whether it makes me sick or not. But I'm not expecting any problems.

  4. #4
    The bigger problem is that it is pretty flexible stuff where pipe is not. You will be putting some pressure on it when you bend... It will probably cave in.

    Temperature wise - a pipe type side bender runs over 400 degrees to get the wood hot in a reasonable amount of time.

    My worry with black pipe is that the iron can stain a lot of types of tannin rich wood....

    The most common solution is to go beg a 1' piece of muffler pipe off a muffler shop.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    I'd want a stiffer pipe. 3-6" cast iron pipe is common, most plumbers can probably give you a piece of each out of their scrap pile. The iron will also retain and disperse heat to help avoid hot spots and burning--more forgiving when heating with a torch.

  6. for i know galvanized iron in bending there is no poisoning problem.. our carpenter also doin it so far.

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