How to Bend and Cut Rebar

Bending and cutting rebar (steel concrete reinforcing bars) is often necessary when building structural reinforcement for concrete work. It is an easy to work with material that is commonly used in landscaping, art, and other projects where metal that is fairly easy to bend is required. Common rebar is sold by its diameter in 1/8th inch increments (meaning "#4" rebar is 1/2 inch in diameter). Rebar up to #4 can often be bent and cut by hand. Larger diameter rebar is not typically used outside commercial or industrial concrete work and usually requires specialized equipment such as hydraulic shears and benders.

In this article we will assume the use of 1/2 inch (number 4) rebar which is a common rebar found in residential landscaping and concrete work.


  1. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 1
    Have the right safety equipment. Rebar can be sharp and is heavy, and can create sparks when being cut. Always wear eye protection, sleeved shirts, long pants, gloves, and sturdy boots when handling rebar.
  2. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 2
    Setup a workspace. Rebar comes in very long rods (typically 8-20 foot and up to 40 foot in length). Due to it's length, tendency to be covered with mill scale or rust, and overall weight rebar is usually best handled in a large open area with few obstructions. Cutting rebar often creates very hot sparks so make sure the area is clear of flammable materials. The rust and sparks from rebar can ruin clothing so wear something sturdy and old.
  3. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 3
    Measure carefully. Taking into account the overall length, any overlap (where you might tie it to another piece), and especially the curves can be a bit tricky. You may find that the first few times you bend and cut a piece of rebar it is shorter or longer than you had intended. This is often due to a failure to account for the length of the rebar through the curve. It can be tricky but you'll get the hang of it. Rebar is very easy to mark with wax crayon (if you'd like waterproof marking) or chalk (often handy in art projects where you'd like the marks to wipe off).
  4. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 4
    Cut your rebar. Cutting rebar can be done easily with a metal cutting hacksaw blade. You can also use a reciprocating saw, portable bandsaw, or grinder equipped with a blade suitable for cutting "mild steel". Rebar tends to want to roll around when being cut, therefore it is often necessary to step on the bar or have an otherwise steady hold while cutting it. Cut rebar is always hot and/or sharp. Use gloves and caution.
  5. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 5
    Bending rebar 12 inch (1.3 cm) or smaller. Now that you have a piece cut to length it is time to bend it. Bending rebar is all about leverage. Place the rebar on the ground. Using a long metal pipe with a large enough internal diameter, place the rebar into the pipe stopping about six inches from the point you'd like to start the bend. Place your foot 6 to 12 inches (15.2 to 30.5 cm) back from where you'd like to bend. Pressing firmly down with your foot, raise the bar off the ground until the bar bends to the angle you'd like. It is often necessary to bend a piece a little at a time if you are trying to get an exact bend
  6. Image titled Bend and Cut Rebar Step 6
    Other methods and tools. You can rent simple manual rebar benders at most hardware stores. If you have a lot of cuts to make renting a metal chop saw is often the most efficient way to cut a lot of rebar.


  • Tight bends almost always require a vise, jig, or specialty tool
  • It is possible to heat rebar with a torch for fine control of the bending process. However this is rarely necessary with rebar under 12 inch (1.3 cm) in diameter.


  • Rebar is often rusty. If you get cut while working with any rusty metal it is possible that you may need a tetanus shot. See your health care provider.
  • Cutting rebar, especially with an abrasive cutting wheel creates very hot sparks. These sparks will burn exposed skin and are very hazardous to your eyes. Always wear long sleeve shirts, gloves, and safety glasses when cutting any type of steel.
  • Using heat to assist in bending rebar can substantially weaken the rebar.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety equipment. Gloves, eye protection, sturdy boots
  • Mild steel cutting saw. Hacksaw, sawzall, chop saw
  • 1/2 inch (number 4) rebar
  • A long pipe with a diameter large enough to fit the rebar inside it

Article Info

Categories: Concrete