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Loop handle twists

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Hey folks, can anyone offer me any tips or tricks for twisting handles like this one in the middle? Ignore the leaf.

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My efforts have been varied and generally pretty lame. I've been running into problems like the loop at the top becoming mishapen and the twists aren't nice and tight. I've been heating both sections of bar evenly and twisting using a scrap piece of bar passed through the loop at the top whilst the bottom sections of bar (the bottom of the twist) are clamped together shut in the vice.


Penny for your thoughts...

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I usually do what you do. Insert a bar the diameter I want the ring and then start twisting. Biggest thing I've found with twists is to have a nice even heat or the twist doesn't turn out the way I'd like.


One option might be to 1st fold the bar over 180 then drop down a bit and use a twisting wrench to twist 1st. Then reheat and drift your ring to size after the twist is done. You'd need to work out how much material to leave above the twist to get a nice even ring.

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I did one of a similar type (on really small stock, for what its worth) by bending the end 180 deg, putting it in the vice with the U bend at the top, getting the bottom ends (at the top of the vice jaws) right next to each other, and then using my spud/bull pin slipped through the U at the top as my twisting wrench.  slid the spud around until the stock was at about the right diameter and then twisted it as tightly as I could without it slipping farther down the tapered shaft.


basically the same process as DSW but with a tapered 'guide' instead of a constant diameter rod.


edit: come to think of it, your process is exactly the same Joel, can you put up a pic of what you have going on? because by that description your top twist should turn out to be a perfect replica of the bar you are using to twist it with.  only thing I can think of is the bar is A. not circular or B. significantly smaller than the desired diameter of the hoop, both causing you to need to monkey with it once the twist has been established.

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Try make your loop first, (after drawing/forging whatever end you want on it) simple U bend at whatever gap you want for the eye, and close the bars together until they reach where you want the twist to start,


You can forge them together,to touch, or just put them horizontal in the vise jaws and tighten until they meet.


Heat up the portion you wish to twist,


Cool the loop off by dipping in water, place bottom end of where bars are to be twisted from securely in vise,


Place a bar through the loop and put your twists in, as rapidly as possible, until desired effect is achieved, try to do it in one heat if possible, if not repeat heat dip'n cool loop and add further twists.


Straighten whilst hot using vise jaws or mallet /wood/fibre/copper hammer on anvil


Wire brush and finish.

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I have never done this before so it is not "by the book" but I figured since I am a farmer and have spent a lot of my life twisting wire. it cant be that big a leap from there.

I have clamped a piece of 9/16 bar in the vice, heated the 3/8 rod up and bent the loop around the bar using my hand on the long end and some round tongs (or clamping multi-grips) for the short end.
I have taken the two ends right past each other so they are almost a straight line pointing in the opposite directions then started the twist.
You will find that changing the angle of each rod will determine how it curls around the other so you can correct as you go
Once there is a couple of twists in the rod, clamp the free ends in the vice (note the angle) cool the twisting bar so you can hold it and thread it back through the loop and twist some more (using the bar to tweak the forming twist straight)
Pull it out of the vice and close the angle of the two ends and keep going.
I don't know what else to say, I haven't used a lot of heat for this, it was basically two orange heats with a oxy cutting torch because I had to stop to take the pictures. There is one twist not as straight as the others and there is a slight bend that could be taken out.
After the first heat, It took roughly 4 minutes to do the twist including the second heat and photos. Hope this is some help to you
cheers Yahoo

I forgot to say, if you don't have tongs for holding round bar, try using a length of pipe to hold the short end to give you some leverage and control. It will probably work far better that ill fitting tongs.

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I've done a few where the loop was forge welded. I then shaped the loop with parallel sides and the distance between them the same as the round bar D that I insert for twisting. I like to clamp my twists in the vise horizontally, so that I can look down to see and better control what's happening...and less chance of burning the forearms. I always tried for a uniform heat.


Sayings and Cornpone

"I don't share blame, I don't share credits, and I don't share dessert."

     Beverly Sills

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Cheers folks, nice twist Yahoo, I'll remember your method if I still don't get any joy with the way I've been doing it.
I've been doing it just like John described & to be honest I don't understand why I'm not finding it as simple as he makes it sound.
I only have a coke forge & a hand cranked blower so I've been doing it in 1 heat, but maybe I should just take my time with it and try a couple heats until I've cracked it.

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Really there are some pieces that just seem to have a stiffer bit of steel and are stubborn.  For these a few light taps of the hammer will usually persuade them to cooperate!  By spinning the steel atop the anvil and tapping lightly with a smaller hammer you can usually tighten the loose areas of a twist without deforming the rods.  When done at a moderate heat (dull red or even just into black heat) this technique will usually work easily and the twist will set and stay as you tighten it.

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I think the difference is that holding the ends together you need to wind the whole piece up and tension it while it is still very soft to form the twist if you cross the ends only the bit where the rod touches twists and coils.

The same problem happens with both methods one twist will straighten and twist off as the other coils around it if things get out of kilter.


As bigfoonampa says steels with a high tensile strength will really make you work hard.


If I had to knock out a 100 in a few hours I would build a pair of jigs and a twisting tool and do it horizontally like Frank suggests. lot more control and power if you are not reaching up and away from your body.


sometimes going small scale with a bit of wire coat-hanger and a pair of pliers can help to visualize these things before stepping up to the forge.

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Cease fire ladies and gentlegerms, I think I've cracked it. The one on the far right is a tad lumpy and bumpy but I've got the general idea. These are 1 heat twists done John's way.

I haven't cleaned up and finished the pokers yet. Nothing to write home about in the design but I just wanted some simple ones for any customers not wanting to spend a lot.


EDIT - actually I didn't do it 100% John's way, I didn't quench the loop. I found that when you quench the loop the heat drains out too much and you loose a bit of twist directly under the loop.

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 actually I didn't do it 100% John's way, I didn't quench the loop. I found that when you quench the loop the heat drains out too much and you loose a bit of twist directly under the loop.


Just cool the top part of the loop to just below half way so you maintain the loop as you twist with an inserted bar, the twist should then come up to the bottom of the loop.

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