Nail Bending

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TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Does anyone have nail/short bending experience? I just tried my first 40 and 60 penny nails and all 4 broke. You can see they were bend pretty sharp so I think it's just a hard brittle metal.

My main question is whether it is a bad idea to go ahead and work through the box before getting other nails. I'm working from a Bud Jeffries Instructional DVD and in it he warns against using hard springy steel, due to it's potential for injury. This is not springy at all its just that on the brake all resistance suddenly goes to zero.
Thanks!

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TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Oh and interesting side note, I've never seen my hands more vascular than after bending those 4 nails!
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Got a quick reply from Bud. In case anyone else runs across this searching: the advice was it's fine the work through the box, just be careful of smacking yourself on the brake. He also mentioned that it looks like the 60D nails are not as thick as they should be and I might try taping two together.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
I have years of experience (former elite unbraced bender) bending nails, bolts, wrenches, and anything else I thought I could bend - including kinking a few metal softball bats. I would tell you to get rid of those nails as quick as you can. Those look like polebarn nails. And them breaking like that will injure you. Not maybe they will injure you - but they WILL injure you. Either by stabbing you through whatever you're using as wraps, or more likely by the sudden joint damage you get when you go from 100% effort trying to bend a bar and it suddenly snaps and then you're either punching yourself in the face or in the neck. With a sharp jagged nail edge possibly following into your face and/or neck. I know the nails are expensive. Dump them immediately though. Seriously. For your safety.

Then buy 1/4" CRS (cold rolled steel) from Lowes, Home Depot, or your local hardware store. If that's too easy, buy some 5/16" HRS (hot rolled steel) that has the "flaky" appearance. If you don't already have bolt cutters, get a good one and then use it to cut down your steel bars by 1/2" to progress your way to harder and/or thicker bars.

If money is not a huge issue, you can experiment with different metals in your bending journey. Stainless steel is fantastic. Stainless Steel 304 is softer than the 303 grade. Get both if you are able. 1/4" Hex is also available from Fastenal and online. It is a terrific value when compared to Grade 5 bolts.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
Got a quick reply from Bud. In case anyone else runs across this searching: the advice was it's fine the work through the box, just be careful of smacking yourself on the brake. He also mentioned that it looks like the 60D nails are not as thick as they should be and I might try taping two together.
I read this and figured that Bud was telling you to work through the box because you already bought them and so you won't waste money. I felt it important to warn you again that you might work your way through that box and get an injury that insures you will never bend again. I have seen it happen with polebarn nails. An acquaintance of mine bought 2 pounds of polebarn nails (after I told him not to) ten years ago. He made it through all but a few before destroying one of his shoulders when the nail broke. He later told me that one of them had broken and punctured a 1/2" into his hand through the wraps. Which then got infected. His shoulder has never been the same since this injury. He hasn't bench pressed in 10 years. Or military pressed. And those were both his favorites.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
If you go to the hardware store, look for 40D and 60D common nails. Those are the ones you want to bend. They are thicker and will never break. Or at least I've never had one break over the years I bent. And that was probably close to a thousand 60D common nails in that time.

1/4" Grade 2 bolts are fun to bend also. They are pretty soft, and expensive, but a different challenge. 1/4" Grade 5 bolts are much harder and more expensive. The threads will often break on these, so be careful of that. Especially if you are the type of bender that wraps only about an inch on either side of the bar and then applies pressure on that small area of the bar.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
Thank you @bencrush. I am new to bending, also. Awesome tips, much appreciated.

I saw some YouTube videos of you training, and competing in USAWA lifts. Vertical bar, and Pinky Deadlift. I am scouring the internet to learn some of the lifts. I made two 2" vertical bars today for deadlifts, and carries.

I recognized you from your name, and avatar picture. Not creepy at all. Do you still train, and compete? In what lifts? I find the strange, and different lifts intriguing.
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
I read this and figured that Bud was telling you to work through the box because you already bought them and so you won't waste money. I felt it important to warn you again that you might work your way through that box and get an injury that insures you will never bend again. I have seen it happen with polebarn nails. An acquaintance of mine bought 2 pounds of polebarn nails (after I told him not to) ten years ago. He made it through all but a few before destroying one of his shoulders when the nail broke. He later told me that one of them had broken and punctured a 1/2" into his hand through the wraps. Which then got infected. His shoulder has never been the same since this injury. He hasn't bench pressed in 10 years. Or military pressed. And those were both his favorites.
Whoa, Warning much appreciated! Here is the exact nails I bought (Also Linked to McMaster's product page) It doesn't say anything about polebarns, but it sounds like its a problem if they break regardless. :

Galvanized Steel Ring-Shank Nail, 60D Size, 6" L, Approximately 15 Pieces/Pack, packs of 1

Galvanized Steel Ring-Shank Nail, 40D Size, 5" L, Approximately 20 Pieces/Pack, packs of 1

I'm looking forward to digging into your purchase recommendations tomorrow, thanks! For now I've ordered some "bright common" 40D and 60D but they won't come for a week or so :(
 

Tarzan

Level 4 Valued Member
Do any of you benders use a Dit da jao for hand toughening or to ease the aches from bending ?

I smashed both hands years ago in a car accident. I'd struggle to lift a bottle of beer now if I didn't have my "Jow" to keep my hands working.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
60D are no joke, I will be sticking to the 40D for a while. I got 40D nails from three different hardware stores, and they are all a different challenge to bend. Light, medium, and heavy.
 

TravisDirks

Level 3 Valued Member
Well, I stumbled on some 40D bright commons at another local hardware store. Not sure why the first few I tried didn't have them.
Here I my inaugural bend:
IMG_3481.JPG

It's definitely a satisfying feeling! And there really is something to having a physical embodiment of the event to keep. I think I'll also get comfortable with 40D's first. I went pretty smooth and I feel like maybe I could struggle through a60D, but that's not the point.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you @bencrush. I am new to bending, also. Awesome tips, much appreciated.
Thanks, Geoff!

I saw some YouTube videos of you training, and competing in USAWA lifts. Vertical bar, and Pinky Deadlift. I am scouring the internet to learn some of the lifts. I made two 2" vertical bars today for deadlifts, and carries.
Very nice! The vbar was my specialty. More the 1" diameter version than the 2", but both were something I became pretty strong at with time and attention to detail in my training log. If you are looking to train for grip competitions, the rules of the particular lifting org will have a huge impact on the way you should be training. Training for a USAWA grip comp is very different (2" vbar or 1" vbar) than training for a standard Grip Sport comp featuring the 2" vbar. The rules are significantly different. Even the vbars are significantly different.

I recognized you from your name, and avatar picture. Not creepy at all. Do you still train, and compete? In what lifts? I find the strange, and different lifts intriguing.
I don't think it's creepy at all that you recognize me. I am still training, but on a much reduced frequency from before I had a 3-year-old daughter. I compete about once a year now. Also quite a bit reduced from my before-child heyday, but I'm happy with once a year with my work and home schedule these days. This year I guess I'll be competing in two USAWA comps. I did the Grip Champs in February. And plan on doing the Oldtime Strongman Champs in September. There are 4 events at that contest next month. But I'm only training two of them. Thor's Hammer and the Saxon Snatch. Rules for both can be found on the www.usawa.com site under rulebook. Records can be found on the same site. Most of the physical training I do these days is bodyweight training mixed with some light kettlebell work. I also do a bit of gripper work still. But on a quite reduced frequency and strength scale compared to my best years. Plus, it's a different type of gripper training these days. Not focused on strength building at all.
 
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bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
@bencrush Is there a standard size for the bending pads? I am using suede leather.
The standard size is basically about 3/4" to 1" diameter when wrapped around a bar that is 5/16" in diameter. That encompasses the blue IronMind pads and most commercially available pads that are sold specifically for bending steel. FBBC and David Horne and some others sell bending pads that would match my general specs.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
Just got my first batch of 60 penny bright common nails in. Holy crap. MUCH more substantial.
Very nice, Travis! You will never have to worry about them snapping though. The peace of mind will let you unload into them with no fear of hurting yourself when they snap.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
60D are no joke, I will be sticking to the 40D for a while. I got 40D nails from three different hardware stores, and they are all a different challenge to bend. Light, medium, and heavy.
Very true about the 60Ds. You know you have been bit by the bending bug when you're going to multiple stores to buy nails, lol. I love it. I used to shop all the local hardware stores and often found easy, medium, and heavy versions of 60D nails there. And the same goes for 12" spikes. Bent a TON of those (braced) and some of them were super easy. Others were very hard.
 

bencrush

Level 6 Valued Member
Well, I stumbled on some 40D bright commons at another local hardware store. Not sure why the first few I tried didn't have them.
Here I my inaugural bend:
View attachment 1030

It's definitely a satisfying feeling! And there really is something to having a physical embodiment of the event to keep. I think I'll also get comfortable with 40D's first. I went pretty smooth and I feel like maybe I could struggle through a60D, but that's not the point.
Nice bending! Those are pretty solid. Did you already mention what you are using for bending wraps?
 
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