August 11, 2009

In my last blog, I described bending rebar for garden arches and a pole bean arbor. Working in the garden suggested another use for a length of rebar.

I don’t know about you, but when I am working with a spade, or any other long-handled tool for that matter, it always seems to end up in my way. Wherever I lay them down will be the next place I need to step. It was long past time to build a portable tool holder, and rebar was just the material to use.

I started out with a 4-ft. length of 1/2-in. rebar. While a torch can make easy work of bending rebar, you can also work it cold.

In this case, I used my vice and a short length of pipe. I bent the rebar into an L with a short 6-in. leg. Sliding the pipe length over the rebar to the point of the bend gives a sharper bend than you would get otherwise.

I then repositioned the rebar in the vice so the tip of the short end was secure and, using the long leg with the pipe on it as a lever, bent the short length in a near circle, leaving about a 2 to 3-in. opening.

The final step was to secure the circle end in the vice and, with the pipe in place over the long leg, bend it at a right angle to the circle. A couple of quick coats of Rustoleum, and I had my tool holder.

To put it to use, I simply push it into the ground near my work area. The throat makes it easy to slip a handle past, yet the circle holds it upright and out of the way. The circle is also a great place to hang clippers and other small tools that are easy to misplace when set down among garden foliage.

When working with rebar or any kind of unfinished steel, it is always a good idea to use heavy leather gloves to reduce the chance of steel splinters. If using a hammer, always use safety glasses.

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