A complete different man than the other guests here for the interview is Tony Reid out of canada.
He is not the typical steel bender, he is more like a steel artist, who did lots of scrolls in a very unique design. I can´t imagine how much work it is to get a very long piece of steel into a finished sculpture, but I am sure that your mind has to do a lot of work for it.
This is definitley not my area and I´ve heard the first time of Tony in the last couple of weeks, but fact is that he is doing his thing for some years know and make sure to take a look at his sites:
Year of birth:
Weight 218lbs (99kg)
Canada - Edmonton
What does steel bending mean to you?
Steel bending is ritualistic. Once you decide “how” to bend things, you start to develop specific preparations, mental conditions and focus techniques. Steel bending provides good reason to warm up, to take care of your body, and condition your mind. To me, steel bending is expression, especially with regards to scrolling. Many people assume that bending steel is a “good stress relief,” but I tend to disagree. Steel bending, for me, forces me to go INWARD, and take control of my inner self, so I can express myself meaningfully as an artist. If my head isn’t right, the steel won’t do what I want it to do.
When and why did you start steel bending and what does or did your active time look like?
I injured my back in 2015, and all I could train during rehab was my grip. I found Chris Rider and hired him for weekly Skype coaching. We started with phonebooks, cards and 60d spikes. Once I learned scrolling, I knew that’s where I was supposed to be. I’ve been scrolling nearly weekly since 2016.
What do you love about steel bending?
The feeling of the steel slowing giving up, and folding where I want it to. I love the challenge of creating something from nothing. I especially love creating visual smoothness that simply cannot be achieved through forging. I’m sure putting on an apron and banging hot bars is fun, but I like the cold work. It’s humbling and exhausting, as it should be.
What do you hate about steel bending?
Leaderboards (sorry, not sorry)
How does your training for steel bending look like?
At this point, more visualizing than volume. My CNS and connective tissues are strong, so even if I fall out of shape for a month or two, my bending ability remains fairly consistent. The importance of consistency early on cannot be overstated. My first three years were very high volume, because I wanted iron palms and to turn my thighs into anvils. Scrolling demands 3D strength, so I don’t find myself in a gym working linear movements for anything more than a pump, once in a while.
How does your other training look like (strength or other)?
Rope flow, postural work, breath work and rhythmic training like Indian Clubs now take up the bulk of my training. I believe that finding optimal bodily function leaves the most room for strength to succeed, so that’s where I spend my time.
What goals have you set for yourself?
I want to scroll a 20-foot length of 5/8” square HRS. I also want to bend a rendition of one of my favorite iconic designs and send it to the originator. He doesn’t know yet, so don’t tell him.
What was the most impressive bend you ever saw (live or on video)?
I saw John McGrath bend a 1/2” x 1” x 27” bar with no chalk in under 60 seconds. That video lives rent free in my mind, for life. It wasn’t even the dimensions of the bar, as much as the confidence and conviction in which he performed the bend. It wasn’t a fight... it was a clinic.
Rapid stuff – choose one
Bolts or steel?
Unbraced or braced?
Singles or doubles?
Chalk or not?
Beer or water?
Cordura or leather or both?
Short bars or long bars?
Horseshoes or flat bars? Flat Bars
Chips or chocolate?
Death by Chocolate
The last words belong to you. What do you want the reader take away? Let us know your poems of steel!
Make it easy. Steel bending is one of the most addicting skills someone can learn. This ignites the spirit, but it also unleashes big ego, and that can be very problematic for injuries or just being an idiot. Take your time and get really good at this stuff. There’s no winner for “fastest progress.” The more I let my intuition lead, the better my art gets, and the smoother the bends go. Bend it 10 times, then 100, then 1000. You learn something every time. Instead of always chasing the next biggest bar, learn to make your current bar effortless. Trust.