Johnny Glades

Tong Rings

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I use short sections of pipe or square tubing in various sizes. Take a piece of 1" square tubing or 1-1/4" pipe and cut about 3/8" off. Debur and mash into a diamond (or an oval). Lots of different sizes possible depending on whether you use pipe and/or square and how much you mash.

The "s-hook" style works fine but has some inherent flex in the open design and of course, takes longer to make than whacking off a few pieces of tubing. I also have several sets of tongs that are set for fixed sizes and have a permanent link attached to the end of one handle. Put the stock in place, squeeze and flip the ring around to lock. The best part is that it never comes off or gets lost.

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HEY Jr. thanks for posting that pic of the tong clip,( saved me form having to!)I was told that a gentleman from N.M. developed this clip, gave one to Francis Whitaker and Mr. Whitaker said that he (Mr. Whitaker) believed it prolonged his smithing carrer by no less than 20yrs. I have several of them along with the type Mr. Hofi & (Tom Clark) makes. Love them both. (The gentleman's name is Joe Whiton)

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I was away for the weekend, and just saw this thread, so I thought I'd enclose a pic of my two rein clips. I heard that one time at a regional conference, Francis Whitaker had a specimen clip, and suggested that some of the members have a forging contest to make one. At the end of the timed event, there were some goofy looking clips. My pictured ones were plasma cut and cleaned up by a friend; 3/6" or 1/4" thick seems to be the norm. I also showed a link which is what I used in the olden days.

I'm told that a circular ring is more dangerous under the power hammer than a chain link shape. There is supposedly more chance of a ring flying off and possibly hitting the operator.

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I ask for the cut chain links from the local big box store. Flatten them back out and they are usually fairly close to the right size for small stock tongs. If they are not close to the right size, heat them up and shape them a little, or just shape them a little.

Phil

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For dedicated tongs---I have a set that hold short tooling with a recess for the bits to close around---I tend to just use a semi flattened short section of blackpipe as I have that in various sizes to hand and tend to leave the tool most used in the tongs on an ongoing basis.

I have a couple of reign clips and I use them for students who have trouble holding the tongs shut while manipulating them.

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I have some nerve damage in my left hand and cannot grip well. I use hose clamps. They are adjustable and cheap.
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Hollis' plan works. EMT works. For me, the real issues is finding the rings and I have no tongs that I wish to attach rings to. I just keep them (rings) on the top of the hood or inside the hood on the trailer forge (to be taken out and placed on top like the home forge). 1/4 - 5/16 round makes a good ring. Taking the time to make the ones like Junior posted or Hofi's style is all well and good but I have a hard time keeping track of this stuff. In a pinch I have wrapped #9 non plated brace wire (cold) around reins to hold the part. 10 cooks, 10 kitchens, 10 different answers. Short pieces of pipe or tubing work well.

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Forgot to mention I have a couple of pairs of tongs with built in rings---one reign is forged out and curled over to hold a ring that can be flipped up and used. Of course it's only good for one size as it can't be shoved up the reigns till it grips; but if you do a lot of the same stuff it might be handy.

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Thumbs up for farriers! Yes, in the "Blacksmiths' Competition," those speedy guys are horseshoers and they are making "hot fitting tongs." I'm not sure where they are competing, maybe Calgary, Alberta, or Edgewood, New Mexico. It makes one wonder, "If I'm a blacksmith, how good are my tong making skills?"

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Well like I've mentioned before: My great grandfather was a small hill town Arkansas blacksmith and could do *lots* of things I can't do. On the other hand I can do lots of things he couldn't do as my interests are focused differently---I know for a fact that he never forged a set of titanium tongs or did a pattern welded billet just as I have never shod a horse or pointed a plow.

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