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I Forge Iron

Tongs and Hands


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How do you hold your tongs? Does everyone use pretty much the same grip?......Or are there variations?

The pictures show my grip. This way of holding tongs allows me to control the pressure of the bits on a piece of stock and also to control the release of that pressure. To open and close as you would a pair of shears or scissors.

With my short,fat fingers this grip looks uncomfortable......but it's not really.

My uncle was a power company lineman and showed me this many years ago.I now use this grip automatically.....without thinking about it.

This is the only way of manipulating tongs I know of......but are there other ways?




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Like Jr., I don't put my fingers between the reins. I hold the tongs with one rein over the other, and kinda tuck the top rein between the base of my thumb and index finger with the rest of my fingers under the bottom rein. To open the tongs, I just let the bottom rein go and gravity does the rest.

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I almost always use a ring to hold tongs and many of my pairs have a ring permanently set in a loop on one rein. I started doing this years ago as a method of combating fatigue over several hours of forging. Not having to concentrate on gripping the work saves energy needed for hammering. Of course, it's important that the tongs fit the work properly but that applies even when holding with a normal grip.

A loose grip around the whole tongs is useful under a power hammer or you can get stung - or worse, a finger broken if the work is not hit squarely.

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