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I Forge Iron

Temporary tongs


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I am a new bladesmith and have very rudimentary equipment. In my first attempt at forging, I found that the tongs (a.k.a. the longest pair of needle nose pliers I could find) I found that they are in fact ill suited to the task of grasping the hot metal without two hands. So I have been forced to ask for the help of a friend to hold the metal while I hammer out a blade. But sometimes he is not available. So what can I use to hold the metal by myself until such a time when I have the ability to forge my own tongs?

To clarify, I with am making blades out of rail road spikes which are pretty thick. Also, I can't make tongs unless I have good ones. My friend and I are still having communication problems (where to put the blade, how to turn it, etc.) I've looked at GS tongs but not nakedanvils. But I guess I'll try GS tongs when I get the money.

Edited by chuckster2.0
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If you are into blades then as a start you should forge a couple of pairs of tongs out of some mild steel. They are a great exercise in forging principals and, of course, will be really handy for your blades.

Have a look in the Blueprints for some patterns for tongs.


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I found some articles and some pics on twisting flat stock to make tongs.

Blacksmithing Tips - How to Forge a Pair of Tongs

Make steel Forging Tongs

Any opinion on if this is easier/better for a first/temporary set than making out of round or square? I know better tongs can be made with added skill out of round or square stock.


They work okay though the jaws tend to flex if they aren't fitted to the work just right.

I have a pair of slip joint pliers with rod handles welded on. They were in a bucket of tongs I picked up with some other smithing tools and I kept my nose solidly turned up to them. Until one day they were the only thing close and I needed tongs NOW.

They work great as general tongs and are one of my most used pair. Just think about it, I let MY impression of what "Proper" blacksmith's tongs SHOULD be rule and ignored a very useful tool for probably a decade.

THAT me buckos is the price of prejudice, arrogance, and preconceived notions. I was SO sure of what was proper it never even occured to me they were in a bucket of tongs used daily by a working blacksmith and they were, when I got them, the most used.

People who keep their heads stuck in what SHOULD BE instead of what IS are SHOULD HEADS.

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While I would agree that forging tongs is an important skill that a blacksmith should have, but when you are starting out having a few pair of good tongs can really help you out. The tongs that Grant (Nakedanvil) makes are inexpensive and well made and provide a benchmark for you when you make your own. They are available at most of the blacksmith suppliers.

Edited by JNewman
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Thanks, Frosty. You're a regular humanitarian. ;)

I had a feeelin' somebody was gonna give me a hard time about that. I just wanted to make sure I understood what you guys were talking about.

If course I'm a regular guy. I get plenty of fiber. Well, being so full of IT there isn't room for storage probably has something to do with it too. :rolleyes:

Sometimes the simple things are harder to grasp from a description than more complicated ones. There's a part of my brain that keeps telling me, IT can't be THAT simple.

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