Eastwood's Brake Tubing Pliers
We've bent a lot of brake lines in the past 35 years, and in the process of doing so we've kinked (and therefore ruined) our share of them. We have bending tools of many kinds, including spring sleeves, plastic hoses, "universal" bending pliers and other doodads that were really intended for bending copper tubing such as A/C lines and plumbing pipe. They don't work all that well on brake lines, so we've become accustomed to using our hands instead.
Eastwood brake tubing pliers.
When we tried out Eastwood's brake tubing pliers we were quite pleased with the results. These pliers are designed to precisely bend either 3/16ths or 1/4 inch brake tubing, which are the two most common types found in old cars. The two tubing sizes are also the easiest ones to kink, so it was fun to do some bending with these pliers to see how far we could push the "bend-to-kink envelope."
It turned out that it's almost impossible to kink the tubing using the pliers. Instead, your only real limit is the radius of curvature built into the tool itself, which is much tighter than we can do with our hands or other tools.
We bent a spare brake line into a 180-degree circle in just a few seconds just to see how quickly one can work with the tool. Our conclusion is that there is no faster or surer way to bend brake tubing. The tool grips the tubing very tightly (without excessively marring the surface) and you can bend quickly and confidently without worrying about going too far. Move the tool along the tube and keep bending until the desired result is achieved. Bending next to an end fitting is easy.
The pliers have long vinyl-coated handles that give enough mechanical advantage so that very little muscle is needed. With a little care and practice anyone should be able to produce factory-like tubing bends in his/her project.