Bent Forklift Forks..
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  1. #1
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    Bent Forklift Forks..

    Ok so I was asked to fix this by a friend Or to straighten and strengthen these forks...their main purpose is for demo work.. Not to pick skids up.. That's y they bent...
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    I was wondering on ur thoughts on how I wan strengthen the bent section of forks? And I know it would take a while but heating it with oxy acetylene and hammering it straight would work correct?

    I was thinking on welding 3/8 plate along the top and bottom where the bend is...

    Let me know ur thoughts

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    25

    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    go to the scrap yard and buy a new set, those are toasted.

    you will never bend them with by heating and hammering.

    you would need a press to straigten them, and after that they wouldn't be worth using anyway.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdbuckshot View Post
    go to the scrap yard and buy a new set, those are toasted.

    you will never bend them with by heating and hammering.

    you would need a press to straigten them, and after that they wouldn't be worth using anyway.
    I would have to agree that a new set of forks are in order.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    I heated and straightened tips that were bent about 4" from the end. Within a day of work they bent in exactly the same place with very little force put on them.

    As the others have said, those are done. Heating the metal seems to take all temper out of it and it becomes soft and easy to bend.

  5. #5
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Scrap 'em.

    Get another used set.

    You'll be much better off.

    IMHO of course

  6. #6
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    If we bent forks that much we would junk them. Your only real option would be to take them to a place that makes forks and see if they could straighten and re heat treat otherwise like GWD said, they'll look like that in a day.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    2 guys, 2 torches, & a guy in the skid steer applying downward pressure to the forks using the bucket..
    Buy American, or don't whine when you end up on the bread line.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    for beefing them up, get some 1" plate, apply 1 vert (pie shaped piece) to each side of each of the forks.
    Cut the tips flush on the end, but at the bend end make them about 6" tall up the sides.
    Buy American, or don't whine when you end up on the bread line.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2009
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    11

    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Also keep in mind that forks have a rating and if you exceed that they will only bend again. The way those are mounted puts the stress in a different location on the fork compared to if they were sitting against a mast like they are intended to be. And if you weld on forks or cut holes in them generally you void any warranty that might come with them. Anyone else can chime in here but I have to agree with the advice you have gotten so far. Maybe approach it in a different way if you are doing demo work.
    Dutchman

  10. #10
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    Dec 2012
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    I straiten a set of forks on a 544 John Deere loader a year ago and still staight and in service. Keep in mind that they where bent about a foot from the end. I had guys say that it wouldnt last and again still in service. I heated them with a rose buddy torch red hot and used the machince to bend them back. Good luck!

  11. #11
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    I'd be interested to know how they are being used. Maybe it's possible that a different implement may work and hold up better.

    Like others have mentioned... it will likely be cheaper (and safer) to replace the forks.

    Most forks are made of low alloy high carbon steel like 4340. They are forged and then heat treated. 4340 heat treat is done quench and temper for up to 260,000 psi ultimate tensile strength. It has very good ductility, like 10% elongation. It is also capable hardening through several inches of thickness. This makes it an ideal material for forks. Of course there are any number of other materials a manufacturer could have used.

    I imagine the forks could be straightened if they were heated in a furnace, straightened, and then re-heat treated. The real issue is not knowing the exact material and correct heat treat process for the fork design. Most materials are taken though several steps to get the right blend of hardness and ductility. It's possible that different heat treat and temper is applied to different parts of the fork based on it's function and material characteristics. Get it wrong and something that needs to remain soft for ductility becomes brittle and cracks.

    I have always been amazed at how tough forks are.

  12. #12
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Quote Originally Posted by forhire View Post
    I'd be interested to know how they are being used. Maybe it's possible that a different implement may work and hold up better.
    When I've seen damage like this, they usually are ripping out slabs of crete with the forks. Operator drives the blades under a sidewalk for example, then pry's up the walkway. Usually the slab is already cracked, or they have some one with a sledge whack it so it breaks into manageable pieces. This looks like the operator had an oversized slab and he couldn't lift the slab, so he tipped the machine up on the front end for leverage and "rocked" the machine to brake it loose. That or he was traveling a a decent speed with an almost max load on the forks and hit a good sized bump and when the weight came back down it collapsed.

    Simple operator abuse.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    anyway you could use round stock to replace the forks?

  14. #14
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    You need a lot more heat than a torch! I would stick them in the forge, bend them straight with a press, then re-harden and temper. I don't remember, off the top of my head, the alloy used for forks but it is fairly easy to harden and temper, you just need a lot more heat. Since these are already junk, and are going to be junk again in the future, I would straighten them the best I could by putting them on blocks and using the skidsteer to put down pressure on them. Then I would weld some 1"x4" plate on each side with 7018 ( keep the skidsteer on them while tacking the bar on if needed to keep them straightish.)

  15. #15
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Send them to china to be recycled and get another set. If I had someone working for me doing demo and I saw that Id be PISSED! Wrong tool for the job!
    Learning one rod at a time

  16. #16
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    TIGger305 - Cut 20" off the ends and tell your friend he now has a trencher attachment - Opus

  17. #17
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Tell the operator to straighten the dayem things. Just do whatever he did only the other way. Or he can take them off and drive on them, lay them off the edge of a curb and push down with the bucket -----------tons of things he could do, get creative like he did to bend them. He managed the 1st time easy enough.
    "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." -Theodore Roosevelt

  18. #18
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    cut them in half and throw them in the bin, they are JUNK now
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  19. #19
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Quote Originally Posted by Dualie View Post
    cut them in half and throw them in the bin, they are JUNK now
    I would tend to agree with Dualie, Even if you got them level again the risk is always there to bend at that weaken spot again, and especially for safety concerns if nothing else.

    Imagine lifting something expensive and the forks give way, or worst still causes a load to fall on someone, you could end up killing someone for the sake of a few hundred dollars.

    In the UK we would do exactly as above, cut them and scrap them, The health and safety people would have a field day in court, so its just not worth it, A new set will be best all round, Trying to level those and adding bits of metal hoping that it won't bend again will most certainly invalidate the insurance.

    In your post you say its for demo work and not picking up? If thats the case take those forks off completely and built an attachment on the from that's just for demo work, you need to make sure those forks are never used for lifting, and to be honest you shouldn't use fork truck forks or anything other than there intended purpose. level them up if you want and weld bits on to make like a battering Ram, but make sure it cannot be used for lifting again
    Last edited by Gerry1964; 12-28-2012 at 04:34 AM.


  20. #20
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    WOW!!!!...thanks guys...yea I decided that it wasn't worth straightening...I could do it but I didn't want to do it and it happens again....

    Their used for pulling roots on trees and demo work...Pulling a root or stump on a HUGE tree did this bend...he's just gonna get another set. And use this till the totally unusable....

    THANKS AGAIN GUYS!!!!...u been a MAJOR help!!!!!...

  21. #21
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Quote Originally Posted by TIGger305 View Post
    WOW!!!!...thanks guys...yea I decided that it wasn't worth straightening...I could do it but I didn't want to do it and it happens again....

    Their used for pulling roots on trees and demo work...Pulling a root or stump on a HUGE tree did this bend...he's just gonna get another set. And use this till the totally unusable....

    THANKS AGAIN GUYS!!!!...u been a MAJOR help!!!!!...
    Would it not be better to make an attachment or some sort of Jib arm instead of the forks?

    Nows the chance to make something and it could work out cheaper


  22. #22
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Gerry, that idea won't really work for what they did to bend these. My original guess on how they screwed them up was pretty close, except I guessed crete since he said demo. If he'd said the guy was a landscaper, tree stumps would have been my 2nd guess behind ripping out sidewalks.


    They jam the thin forks under the roots and heave. A good operator will have a "feel" for the machine and know when to stop before he rips the machine apart. The solution was a bigger machine, but I know that's not always an easy option. A good operator can make a smaller machine work often if they use finesse vs brute force. Jam the blades in and shift side to side a bit and try to lift, reset and try again some where else, try to push from above if they were smart enough to leave a good sized portion of the trunk up for leverage.. Keep working it and chances are it will come loose if you are patient. A poor operator will simply jam it in and go at it as hard as they can and tear things up.


    Good operators are good for companies running equipment. Bad operators are good for those of us who make a living fixing the stuff they tear up all the time.
    .



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  23. #23
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    TIGger, I don't know about New York, but down here in Delaware you can buy forks as cheap as $100.-150. a pair. I don't think you could come close to fixing them for that everything considered. The problem is can you trust the repair? You won't know until they break or bend again. Just a thought.

  24. #24
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    What about using a jack a big hydrolouic jack maybe welding some temp tabs to get the chain in and use the jack to straighten it out. ?

  25. #25
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    Re: Bent Forklift Forks..

    Good operator will feel, I wonder what the pins look like on the skid steer. Ill bet the boom arms are sloppy as all get out.

    Nuttin I hate to see is a piece of equipment abused like this. I know Cat has tree spades for skid steers, Ive deliverd them on track units.
    Learning one rod at a time

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