The metal below was a banding strap in its former life. It is magnetic but slightly rusted at spots, so probably galvanized steel?

old banding strap

On the left you can see that I have started to shape the metal. However, this is not going as easily as I had hoped.

How can I shape the metal (using hand tools) to more closely resemble the bracket below?

bracket having desired form from google

Specifically, I need help forming the loop. I believe I can handle the rest.

BTW, this will be for holding tools to my garage wall, so I hope the question is appropriate here!

Edit:// Also wanted to say that the end result does not need to be so refined as the example I provided. I will be satisfied with something resembling a capital Omega.

Edit #2:// I have been shaping this over a pipe to get the shape on the left. Should I try using a smaller pipe to bend over? I thought I should use something larger, but now I am thinking probably not...

  • Emulating a pipe welded to a plate with scrollwork-tye bending is needlessly complicated. Simpler to bend shapes will hold your tools just as well.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 2:58
  • I don't have the money to go buy brackets or I would. Obviously, that would be best. Are you saying that there is no simple way to shape this metal?
    – Gabriel
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


Here is a link to a hand-bending jig. Basically you need two or more pins to hold the metal and you either use the metal itself (with the pins held in a vise or table-top) or a handle attached to the pins (with the metal held in a vise) to bend the metal.

What I'm saying in my comment is that the item you pictured is not made of bent metal, it's made by welding a short section of pipe to a steel plate. A bent tool holder does not logically have the same form to achieve the same function, and trying to make it "look like that" will make the job much harder than it needs to be.

Some more options: One. Another. Scroll down a bit in the last link (a newsletter for blacksmiths) and there's a "how to use" section.

Sorry for the link-heavy answer, I'm not up to drawing the pictures and trying to explain in more detail right now. Someone else can take a stab at that.

  • Yes, I understand that the picture is a much better design/product/implementation of what I am trying to do. I am really only trying to convey my idea of the final shape I would like to achieve with what I have on hand.
    – Gabriel
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 3:17
  • The design is not particularly better. Those are just a cheap-to-make-if-you-have-a-welder design. If bending metal, try something like an inchworm shape and drill holes in the ends to mount on the wall. You can also make perfectly good tool-holders from wood, with a design appropriate for wood.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 3:21
  • Conceded on the wood design. What I am trying to make will be like a billiards cue rack (for yard tools). However, I have this metal on hand, not too much money in the pipeline and a shedload of tools in a corner about to drive me up the wall they are leaning against ;)
    – Gabriel
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 3:24
  • Maybe I am expecting too much here. I already had the idea of the 'inch worm' design but thought that it would be better if I could tighten the loop up more. P.S. I like your answer, but think I will try a smaller pipe to bend around before building something else (although I ALREADY know what I am going to make when I build that tool you linked first :)
    – Gabriel
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 3:29

To form this strap into the shape below, I did the following:

  1. Fastened a 1" pipe to the workbench using screws (I do not have a vise, so this was my best option).
    • Originally, I was using a 2" diameter pipe because I wanted a 2" diameter curve. A 1.5" pipe would have probably gotten me closer, but the 1" pipe produced a curve with an approximate 13/16 radius (or 1 5/8" diameter).
  2. Wearing sturdy gloves - I slowly bent the metal over the pipe. I bent the middle first then working side to side, towards the ends, an inch or less on each side of the center.
    • This steel is very resilient, so I would occasionally twist the metal around the pipe (think of a lower case cursive 'i') to smooth out the bends made over the pipe as I went.
  3. After forming the desired curve, I bent the sides out to form tabs using the 2x4 in the picture.
  4. (Not shown) Using aviation snips, I trimmed the excess from each end (intentional waste to facilitate working the metal) and drilled holes for mounting screws.

smaller pipe worked!


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