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I Forge Iron

Swage tool - making tongs - help


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Newbie alert :( I have just started out and trying to get some of the basic kit together as well as learning some of the basic skills. Today I learnt that steel can be hot even when it is not glowing.....ouch....hope I remember that lesson. Sorry if the terminology is wrong... anyway, I have bought a few pairs of tongs on flea bay but that is a slow way of acquiring tools. I made a rather shoody pair of tongs today but they do work, just not nice to look at. Anyway, ideally I would like a swage block to shape tong jaws but that will take some time while I wait for something that comes up close to me at a reasonable price. I am thinking I could buy a lump of MS, say 60mm wide by 40mm deep, heat and hammer some rounds of various diameters into it to create a swage tool. I could then weld a hardie post to it to keep it in place on the anvil. Would this be a sensible way to create such a tool?

I could not find a pic of the tool I am talking about but here is a video with Bill Epps using the kind of tool I am talking about to get a radius on the jaws.


What are the alternative ways to shape the jaws? Hope that all made some degree of sense, still finding my way...


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Your problem isn't that you don't have the right swage, but that you don't have the experience to control your hammer and make the metal move the way you want it to. Swages can help, but they can also be limiting.

Here's a vid of our resident master smith making a pair of tongs in no time at all, and using nothing more than basic tools.


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Joshua, that's the kind of thing. I was thinking of using a larger block of steel and making multiple diameter indentations in the same block and welding a hardie post onto the block. I think this will work so I will order up some steel and have a go :)

Thanks, BM

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Well, I have not made the swage tool yet but I have made my first item (apart from the stuff I made on a course). I have a functional set of tongs. OK, they are not pretty but they hold the stock fast. I shaped the jaws by using a cross pein and the shoulder of the anvil to start the curve and then used the bick. Final shaping was done when rivited together and by clamping a piece of scrap stock in the jaws and shaping around that. Next set will need to be a bit neater but it is a start.


Thanks for all your help, BM.

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