Raising the Bar – how the Bramley Scroll Bender came to the rescue

(Copy care of The Shed Magazine – September/October 2017)

Bending 22.2mm tube can be a challenge, even with the Bramley Tube Bender fitted with Scroll Bender Attachment

Making a bar stool is a learning curve for a home engineer.

Having sourced 22.2mm furniture tube from the manufacturer with a 1.6mm wall thickness, the main issue next was bending it to shape.

There are many tube benders on the market, mostly used by plumbers for light copper tube, and I briefly flirted with the idea of buying a cheap Chinese one. However, I was warned that it probably wouldn’t cope with the 22 x 1.6mm wall tube and the formers might shatter. That left just one option – the Bramley Tube Bender – with the Scroll Bender Attachment. This venerable piece of equipment is made in New Zealand so it’s not cheap, but it is the best and most cost-effective means of bending this grade of furniture tube. In fact, it will do two larger sizes of tube and comes with five formers for different-diameter tube.

The bender certainly gives you some confidence that it will do the job, it’s very solid and clearly engineered to last. 

The tube bender can be used after fitting it in a vice or you can purchase a floor­standing unit to anchor it to the floor. In my case, I used the vice on my heavy welding bench, but I was still forced to create an extension handle because the bender caused my bench to slide all around the floor. It requires two people to lift usually. The extension for the handle allowed me to apply more force to the bender so it didn’t just move the bench across the floor.

The finished stool.