I bent a tine on my garden fork whilst abusing it years ago. Straightened it in the vice and used it gently since. I caught it on a stone the other week and bent the tine again, without enough force to call it abuse this time.
I am guessing that the tine is weak. I have access to heat, is there a way to improve the fork. I am more curious than concerned about the fork. It is not stainless steel.
Personally, I would heat the "bent" bit up to red heat, and bend it
straight while hot. Then air cool, although once it has cooled well
below red heat you could speed the cooling by dipping it in water.
Exactly how you should quench and (perhaps) temper it to return it to
the original condition will depend on the carbon and alloy content. But
if it is a relatively cheap fork, what I have described should be OK.
You do risk weakening it if you bend it straight a second time without
heating (but in truth you would probably get away with it).
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