For years this curiously-shaped block was bolted to my dad’s workbench. I’d never seen him use it and had no idea what it was for. When I managed to drop a bolt down a Y-pipe in my teens, he busted out a wire hanger and began twisting it around to form a bolt grabber using the pegs and shapes on this little jig. I felt like a door had just been opened.
Just unwind a hanger and start winding it through the forms and pegs to create almost whatever shape you’re looking for. The straight channels let you make bends to any degree up to 90, and the pegs allow you to create intricate curves. The two forms on the end create corners and half moons which can be compounded to form other shapes entirely.
Later on I came to view hangers as tools in the making. As long as you had a bender handy there was little limit to the things you could make from this golden wire. They did twist the wire into hangers after all; my concoctions were just as valid.
All this thanks to a $5 little bender that bolts to the bench. The only complaint my father ever had was it was next to impossible to keep wire hangers in the house after that day.