Gundog48

My First Tongs

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I've been messing around on the forge for a couple of weeks now, and I finally decided I needed some tongs to forge some bigger stuff. I've been reading a lot of books about bladesmithing, so believe it or not my first actual project was a knife. I've read all there is to read about it, but I figured to understand it properly I'd have to try it. I'll be posting that later. Anyway, I finally got some square stock to forge a pair of tongs which I'll need for working on some bigger stuff to forge cut-off hardys and things. Looking at most blacksmiths, they seem to have over 20 pairs of tongs for different sizes of metal. Not having the time to forge them, material to make them or even space to store them I got some inspiration from a photo on the forum for an adjustable tong. Here's how it turned out:

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I spent most of my time working on the rivets which were hard to get right so that everything was just tight enough.

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It automatically adjusted to pick up real thin stuff like this blade.

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And did the same for the biggest thing I could find, a 2" thick plate weighing just over 30lbs.

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It's also pretty good at picking up round stuff, as long as the widest point is behind the pivot on the top jaw.

I'm quite proud of these for a beginner, and they should do just about everything I need them to do for a while!

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I think I own something like 100 pair of usable tongs and have a bucket with probably 20 to 30 pairs of broken tongs waiting to be made into something useful. One of the reasons I have so many is that I have people at the shop andhaving only one pair of any given size is a problem.

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Awesome job! I remember that pic, it was the first time I had ever seen such a thing and thought I'd share. Glad it was of some value to you. :D

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Wow, the bar is raised with these! Great tongs and what a challenge for a first pair. I could use a pair of those and I don't think I'm up to the challenge of making them so if you feel like making another pair? ;)

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What size bar did you begin with? They look fantastic, though I am curious: Did you weld on the adjustable part so that it sits 90 deg from the reins?

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Thanks! Thought they went pretty well for a starter project! They aren't too hard to build, and I imagine an experienced blacksmith could do it easily! I started with 12mm bar, made a normal tong jaw and flat on one length and made a right angle on the other for the pivot areas. The top jaw is two bits of flattened bar welded at a right angle (first try with a welder!) because I didn't have anything else to work with.

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My 2 cents try using a small ball peen hammer to make your rivet you are trying to hard and it just will not set the rivet right a few heats will work better.

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