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How to heat Railing on Site


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I have a railing job that requires I do a fair amount of field bending of 1.25 pipe (2-3 foot sections have to get curved to match the natural landscape) I decided it was too hard to make a jig so I think field bending is my best option. I have a lightweight gas forge that is easy to move. I am trying to decide if it would be easier to use that on site or weld one end of the rail in place and use a torch to heat and the bend the rail to line up with the in posts. The customer wants an organic feel so not needing to make perfect radii. Any suggestions and how big a rose bud is available to do this? Wondering if the 500K BTU propane torches could work. Thanks

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The advantage of the torch is that you can bend the pipe right in place, without having to move the pipe back and forth between the forge and the railing. However, regardless of what you use to heat the pipe, you will still need to hold it solidly while you bend it, and that might be difficult in the field.

I would suggest figuring out a curve that's pretty close, bending the pipes in the shop to match that curve, and then tweaking them in the field. 

26 minutes ago, Steven Bronstein said:

Wondering if the 500K BTU propane torches could work.

No. Those torches are designed for putting out heat over a fairly large area (such as for flame weeding and roofing) and don't work well for heating up steel. An oxyfuel torch with a rosebud is a much better bet, especially if you only need to heat up small spots for adjusting a pre-bent curve. I have a Victor #6 rosebud, and I think it could handle the job easily (although rosebuds are greedy when it comes to fuel and O2 consumption).

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Thanks JHCC - I see that Harris has a heavy duty rosebud with a 36" handle. I will have to heat up 1 foot sections of pipe at a time to create the gradual curve. Thinking that will be easier than setting up my gas forge on site and moving back and forth.

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Ditto oxy propane but the 36" rosebud is way too long to be practical unless you do industrial type stuff. Another benefit of oxy prop is you can buy propane virtually anywhere and oxygen is more common than one would thing and CAN be carried on commercial flights. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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