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post #1 of 16 Old 04-11-2016 Thread Starter
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Bent Stanchions - Solution

Hopefully this provides an answer for anyone looking to fix their bent stanchions.

I have 4 bent stanchions on my boat. I wanted an affordable solution to fix them. Specifically I was hoping to heat and bend them back. I couldn't find a definite answer on this anywhere online. Some people say you can do it and others say no way! I decided to give it a try.

I bought a $20 torch attachment from Canadian Tire that fits onto any camping/bbq propane tank. I heated the bend for about 20 seconds until it started to discolour. I hammered a piece of rebar into the ground to use it as my bending point. I placed the stanchion over the rebar to where the bend was. I used my body weight to lightly bend it back. It bent with no issues at all. Very easy.

Its not perfect as the rebar made a couple dings in the stanchion. But for my purpose it was a total success. I then used a bit of ceramic polish and a piece of synthetic steel wool to buff out the discolouration. I did all 4 stanchions in about 20 minutes.

Pics attached. One shows the bent stanchion on the boat. The other shows the stanchion before and after polish. You can't tell it was heated once polished.

Hope this helps anyone thinking about fixing their stanchions this way!

Jay
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-11-2016
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

Great idea... Glad it worked out for you... My only question is the temper of the stainless steel used for the stanchions may have been weakened or changed in strength.

To harden most steel it is heated to a medium red or slightly above the point where it becomes non-magnetic. It is then quenched in water, oil or air depending on the type of steel. The steel is now at its maximum hardness but is very brittle. To reduce the brittleness the metal is tempered by heating it to some where between 350F and 1350F. This reduced the hardness a little and the brittleness a lot. Most steels need to be tempered at about 450F for maximum usable hardness but every steel is slightly different.

To soften steel so that it can be cold worked and machined is called annealing which is what you have done with the torch. To anneal steel it is heated to slightly above the hardening temperature (above note) and then cooled as slow as possible. Cooling is done in an insulating medium such as dry powdered lime or in vermiculite. High carbon and many alloy steels can only be cooled slow enough in a temperature controlled furnace since the cooling rate must be only 20 degrees F per hour for several hours.

Hope this helps... but as you said it works for you.
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

Thanks for the info. I did read that the strength would most likely be affected by doing this. I should have added that this works for me as the lifelines on my boat are more of a "Hey here's the edge of the deck, don't go past here!" They're just over knee height and more for show than anything else.
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

If you have a kink, it's just about impossible to straighten one. Replacements are not that expensive if you can find one that matches.
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

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Originally Posted by svsolaris View Post
...I should have added that this works for me as the lifelines on my boat are more of a "Hey here's the edge of the deck, don't go past here!" They're just over knee height and more for show than anything else.
Seems to me if you were working forward in rough weather, either crawling or sitting, and started to slide, they would offer a great deal more than looks. Or maybe your shoes slipped and you went down.

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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

I've also got a bent stanchion... but my lifelines are also VERY suspect. I've been putting off on both (because of the work involved removing them).
Glad to see I'm not alone in wanting an inexpensive solution. If my lifelines weren't also suspect, I'd consider your approach.

However, I think I'll wait until I can afford to replace the both together. I'll be looking at adding a gate as well, but my boat also only has 6 total stanchions.
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

The price of high quality replacement stanchions from Garhauer is $35. Each of us determines for himself whether undertaking the repairs described by the OP represents good value.
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

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Originally Posted by guitarguy56 View Post

To harden most steel it is heated to a medium red or slightly above the point where it becomes non-magnetic. It is then quenched in water, oil or air depending on the type of steel. The steel is now at its maximum hardness but is very brittle. To reduce the brittleness the metal is tempered by heating it to some where between 350F and 1350F. This reduced the hardness a little and the brittleness a lot. Most steels need to be tempered at about 450F for maximum usable hardness but every steel is slightly different.
Actually this type of heat treatment is only applied to martensitic steels. Austenitic stainless steels like 304 or 316 aren't quenched or tempered. If the stanchions were cast, heating them to straighten them out wouldn't change their strength very much, although they may have been weakened when they were bent in the first place.

The main problem I see with this approach is that by heating the stanchions, the stainless was also sensitized - formation of carbides at the grain boundaries reduces the chromium content making the heated region much more susceptible to corrosion. This could be fixed with the proper heat treatment, but at that point you might as well buy new ones.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-11-2016
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

If a pipe was cold bent by accident and not kinked, better to cold bend it back over a hydro pole or something handy. Extend ends with a longer bigger pipe for leverage or.Ask a plumber to borrow his conduit bender
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-12-2016
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Re: Bent Stanchions - Solution

Passivating acid and a polish/buffing will reduce corrosion potential.
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