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BryanDeel

Bending railroad track

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Curious if anyone out there has made something like a Sherman Necktie.  I have a section of spur-track that I would like to bend into a U for a table base ( a 20' piece that I will cut to size after bending).  I've seen a video where a guy tempered an anvil with an in-ground forge.  Looked pretty simple...  I think it would be feasible to do the same thing with the track, but I am also fairly bold with ignorance.  I would definitely appreciate any insights, experiences, or history on the practice before I commit a considerable amount of coal (finite resource here in Charleston) to the project.  Thanks

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How about a hydraulic "bull dozer" bending set up.  A ground forge should work fine for heating if set up correctly.  Having the tooling to move that much hot steel around is the bigger challenge 

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post-9203-0-24573900-1365018148_thumb.jp
I bought my 100 tonne Finlay horizontal press from the British Rail workshop in Southampton when that closed down. It came with a few sets of tools for bending the various profiles of rail. Some on the floor in the foreground of the picture. It may save you some reinvention time! The press will bend 100mm (4") square cold. I generally do any radical bending hot for safety's sake.

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Bryan: How are you equipped? Got a 4x4 pickup truck? With some imagination and field expedients this would be very duable. M.y first attempt woud be to get a dozen or so guys together and just man handle it sort of like the video. They could've done things more efficiently but they aren't fire usig guys.

 

I'd build the fire differently, basically bury the rails in the fire, laying on top it was completely out of the coal bed. Laying the rails in the coals it'd be pretty easy to use some of the ties to channel air into the heart like a blast. Where they built the fire makes a BIG difference. As they laid it they had to walk the rail to the side and dodge the fire. Build it so it's a straight walk with the rail already centered on the tree, just pick it up and go. No fire dodging or maneuvering to get the rail centered on the tree.

 

Also once they got the lrail bent in a U they didn't need a mandres anymore they could've just pushed it into a neck tie. If that is, they'd gotten it hot enough in the first place and moved fast enough.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I recently forged a sculpture out of 88lb bullnose track. I had 15' to heat in total. I built a rolling pipe forge and was able to heat about 3 foot to orange no problem. The rail just starts to sag under its own weight. The difficulty I had was loss of heat during the bending so I switched to an oxy/propane torch with an h5 head and a movable refractory enclosure. This set up works really well and cuts down on gas use. The bending I required was quite shallow but across the rail depth so a fair bit of force is required. I used 5 foot scroll wrenches made with excavator track pins 2" dia and welded them on to 2" scaffold tube. As usual as long as your heat is right it'll bend.

I've also split and bent 4 foot sections in my vertical forge no problem as long you cover the steal you won't go through to much fuel.

If you can get hold of an old asbestos fire blanket it'll work great with the gas set up as you can work all round the rail but a proper face mask is essential.

A few large fire bricks are a great investment.

Good luck and go do it.

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There was an article in the Anvils Ring many years ago by Wally Yeater on straightening rr tracks. Sheesh, but he did it by himself! Crazy we are. If you find it, do it in reverse.

anvil

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