Jump to content
I Forge Iron

what steel for tongs


Recommended Posts

i am starting to really get into blacksmithing (thanks in part to this site) and want to try to build a collection of tongs i have baught a few but want to make some so what size/shape of steel do you use to make bolt head tongs and are there any helpful tricks i should know about before i start and the first pair will be a double v bit to form a square like this <> for holding rr spikes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That video shows how to do the starting point and main forging of tongs. You can finish the jaws of the tongs however you want for the purpose that you are going to use them. Then draw the reins (handles)down to the length that you determin to be comfortable for you. I think that in one of his other posts Brian said that he starts with either 5/8" or 3/4" round stock. They can be made of mild steel. They don't need heat treated, as you will be putting them in and out of the fire as you use them. Browse thru the tools forum and you will pick up more info from other posts. Hope this helps you. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Joshua,

I prefer mild steel, it can be dunked in the slack tub to cool it without worring about it getting brittle on you.

One piece of advice would be to keep the transition sections of the tongs as well rounded and thick in section as you can. The most common point of failure of tongs is where the flats that form the pivoting material turn 90 degrees to form the jaws. There is a lot of stress there, especially if the jaws are adjusted a lot and they should be very thick and smooth.

Caleb Ramsby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to forge tongs, IMO mild steel is the best choice. It's easier to forge and it tolerates getting hot and being quenched like Caleb says. Tongs made from coil spring or sucker rod can be forged much lighter and still be strong enough. I dont think it's worth the hassle unless the tongs would be very heavy otherwise or you need the extra strength. You should be fairly good at forging tongs in mild steel before you attempt a pair out of tool steel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good advice so far. I use mild steel for most of my tongs for hand hammer work. Brian is making flat jawed tongs, probably our most commonly used ones, with the possible exception of bolt tongs. It looks like Brian is starting with 5/8" round M.S. I frequently lap weld on 3/8" or 7/16" round for the reins, but the reins can be drawn out. Most farriers' tongs are about 14" long, finished, and are commonly designed to hold 5/16" stock. Blacksmith tongs can be that small or longer depending on the work to be held and the comfort of the smith.

Tongs are forged of high carbon steel or a respectable alloy steel if they are large tongs for use with a power hammer, especially in industrial applications. 4130 or 4140 steel might be a good choice. For these tongs, the reins are never welded on for reasons of safety. The reins are normally a long taper in width, the thickness staying the same as the boss.

The three-shouldered method of hogging out a flat tong jaw is shown in the British book, "The Blacksmith's Craft" and the book by Ernst Schwarzkopf, "Plain and Ornamental Forging." The first shoulder demarcates and starts the jaw. The second shoulder defines the base of the jaw and begins to flatten the pivot-boss. The third shoulder finishes the boss and begins the rein.

http://www.turleyforge.com Granddaddy of Blacksmith Schools

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...