How do I bend some metal?
June 8, 2015 12:00 PM   Subscribe

I have a couple of plant box holders to hang from the porch rail on my second floor apartment. They were advertised as having mounts adjustable to railings up to 6" in width. My porch rail is 5", but there's a small bumper on the bottom of the plant box holder that juts out and reduces the mounts' maximum width to 4.5" or so (image from another disappointed buyer). How do I bend the bumper so it can accommodate my porch?

I'd like to find a solution since I haven't been able to find anything else in my price range. Not sure what tools or how I should bend the bumper, but I think this is the best solution. Thanks!
posted by mlo to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have to bend it? Can you just remove it? If so, a hacksaw can be had cheaply.

Otherwise, if you could easily bend it in a bench vice, or less easily with a pair of locking pliers.
posted by bondcliff at 12:05 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd probably just cut it to the length you want and then coat the cut ends in Plasti-Dip or something like that (or even fit some pieces of cork on the end) to keep it from scratching the railing. If it's the same thin-walled tubing as the rest of it, it should be pretty easy to cut through it.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:06 PM on June 8, 2015

Here are the things I personally would try:

-Two pairs of pliers and brute force.

-Scoring it in the place I wanted it to bend (I'd probably do this by just hacking at it somewhat ineffectively with a pair of wire cutters) then putting it against the ground and stepping on it.

-Taking it to Home Depot at a non-busy time of day and asking an employee very nicely if there's anything they can do to help me (i.e. do it for me).

Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 12:06 PM on June 8, 2015

Initially I was going to recommend a wire bending jig, but after looking at your photo, I agree with backseatpilot and I would just cut it off. I would use something like an Atlas Snap Saw.
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:19 PM on June 8, 2015

Another vote for sawing it off - if you want to maintain any part of the bumper for its stabilizing properties, it will be much more precise to cut than bend. And if you want it all gone, obviously sawing is the way to go.

Use a hack saw - they're like $10 at home depot, maybe less where you live.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 12:27 PM on June 8, 2015

If you're going to cut it, see if it's not easier to cut the welds where it's attached on the bottom. They might be narrower than the wire/metal itself. In fact, while it's hard to tell from your photo, you might be able to break it loose with a hammer and flat-head screwdriver combo to the welds.
posted by resurrexit at 12:41 PM on June 8, 2015

That bumper might be designed to bend downward and cup the underside of the railing. It might bend up if the railing were thinner.

Just sit the planter on a surface, with a sharp edge along where the bumper is attached. Weight the planter with one hand, while bending down on the bumper with the other. Look to bend it down just enough to sit snugly along the underside of the support railing.
posted by Oyéah at 12:42 PM on June 8, 2015

Best answer: If I understand you, the problem is that the adjustable brackets extend to 6", the piece sticks back 2", so your 5" railing means you'd need another inch of extension for the bottom to be level? You can get slotted steel like it appears the adjustable part uses, and cut that to a longer length, bending the end down to hook.
posted by rhizome at 12:54 PM on June 8, 2015

Depending on the gauge of the wire, a pair of pliers would do it. I'd go for bending over cutting, but either will work fine. Just need to grab hold and have at.

Linesman's pliers will work better than most other kinds, but any would do depending. Otherwise, a small hacksaw will make short work of trimming it. Recycle old wine corks to cover the newly cut ends.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:57 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think the "non tip bumper" is important to keep the plant box level and the beam behind ventilated. If you do cut it consider putting rubber feet on the rod ends so as not to pierce the beam.

I'd look at fixing it with the top brackets... it looks like there length adjustment has 2 or 3 fasteners in a row. Can you abandon one fastener and reposition the bracket so it has a longer reach?
posted by tinker at 1:35 PM on June 8, 2015

Use a hack saw - they're like $10 at home depot, maybe less where you live. says more like $4.
posted by mr vino at 4:02 PM on June 8, 2015

I agree with tinker. If my plant box holder didn't have a bumper, it would spill everything out. If you cut the bumper off, the two remaining posts might not have the strength to support the weight of everything (consider the wet soil).

Can you bend the mounts up so that you can get everything over your fence rail? The basket might look like it's tilting up at too high of an angle, but when you add weight it might tilt down again to an acceptable level.

Here's a drawing. Let me know if I got the situation wrong.

As for bending the mounts, if you remove the bolts to separate the extensions, you might be able to bend them just by pressing them against the railing.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:55 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: tinker, I can remove one of the fasteners but the bracket is still too short. It sounds like i should keep the bumper and find something that can take place of the L-shaped bracket but is slightly longer.
posted by mlo at 8:50 AM on June 9, 2015

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