Hoop Bender/White House Hoop House

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benerside.jpgDid you catch the news stories yesterday reporting that the now-famous White House veggie garden is utilizing hoop houses to extend the growing/harvesting season? We're way ahead of you Beltway guys!  See a report here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/12/16/planting-winter-garden

At right and below is the conduit-bender my husband created to bend the hoops for the low tunnels, which I said yesterday I'd photograph and post (click on either to see an enlarged version launch in a separate window).  There are commercial pipe-benders that electricians use on this type of conduit, but they create angles.  Anything but a rounded shape would cause wear (and eventually tear) on the plastic and floating row cover, so a smooth hoop is desired. 

We found a seedsman offering a bending machine for low tunnels of a 4' width, but it cost around $100, including shipping.  Another for a different width bed for another $100. We constructed this one from used 3/4" plywood and about $50 worth of off-the-shelf hardware store fittings ("tarp rope hooks" and screws from Concord Lumber).  If we wanted to make hoops for a different width bed, the hooks could be re-set and re-used without further cash outlay.

To use: align the bottom of the 10' length of conduit to a line at the bottom left of the bender (not in photo). Insert the right edge of the pipe into the loop of the first hook on the left, bending just a little to the right.  That will allow the next hook to be aligned with, followed by a small bend... next hook, another bend bend.  This actually can be done in just 3-4 smooth movements, covering all 17 hooks in about 30-60 seconds.

benderangle.jpg  Photos: ©2009 Deborah Bier

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This page contains a single entry by Debbie Bier published on December 16, 2009 9:15 PM.

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