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I Forge Iron

A little bragging with questions

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My relatives *seriously* hooked me up big time with blacksmith stuff this Christmas!!!
If you look at the picture with all the flat jaw tongs....Why would somebody need so many?
My first thought is that they they are tong "blanks". If you have a need for a particular type of tong, you don't have to make a new pair from scratch....You simply modify the jaws of one of the blanks, and can get back to business in comparatively little time.

If I were to draw the jaws out a bit, and weld pieces of angle iron/pipe cut in half, would this hold up reasonably well under normal use, or is it better to shape the jaws with swages and such? I suppose the answer has a lot to do with the type of tongs desired.
Prior to this, I only had 2 pairs of flat jaw tongs. This was fine as I was making more knives than anything else, but now the possibilities are quite numerous, and think that bolt jaw tongs might be the most versatile configuration?

Another question...With this and previous acquisitions, I now have 3 pairs of farriers nippers. I really do not foresee any likelihood of nipping hooves anytime soon and wondered if anyone on here has successfully modified nippers into usable tongs.
It seems as though they could be tweaked and made into bolt tongs to hold smaller stock, but perhaps someone has a better idea.









Anyways, I have the kids today and can't run out and use this stuff at the moment, I have to be content with ogling for now :-)

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You must have been checked twice on the nice list!

One thing you can do with the flat tongs is fit each one to a different size of stock, that is what most smiths do. With the eight in the photo you could go 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 1" and 1 1/4". Some smiths have tongs going from 1/8" up to 2" in 1/8" increments, always a tong for the job at hand.

You may want to do a spark test on those hoof nippers, they may be rather good steel so as to hold the nipping edge.

Caleb Ramsby

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Nippers: The prefered and pricey ones are labeled GE, If you have any of those take them to a local farrier supply and check the value. Most can be rebuilt and are worth quite a bit of money. Many folks mistake other tools for nippers. The most common one is used for pulling horse shoes off. Pull offs many times have a ball forged on the end of the reins. Nippers do not. Pull offs can be reshaped into tongs with a minimum of work. They are also really strong in the area of the joint..

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I once picked up the ugliest set of home made nippers/pull offs I have ever seen. *Old*. Real wrought iron with steeled ends and a very large bow. Turns out they made an excellent set of hot firebrick tongs and are now a mandatory part of my equipment whenever I bring the propane forge anywhere

I've used US$1 a pair nippers to make knife making tongs from. Be careful overheating them and quenching in use though.

Now go make things as gifts for the people who put so much work in getting you a great Christmas present. Any Coal in your stocking?

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