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I've been doing this for 8 weeks every other week because of work, so 4 weeks actually, and this is what I've done so far. The fire poker was my very first project, then the Love Cross, then the heart, then the Hope Cross, the knife, and finally the hot cut. I've also been trying to do some tongs but that isn't going so well. Let me know what y'all think. Thanks

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Not bad Ray, especially for beginner projects. Tongs are an excellent beginner project and you're going to need a number of them. There are a number of good tong tutorials and videos here on IFI. Just keep at it and one day you'll have the ah HAH moment and they become pretty easy.

 

Twists are also fun and there are a lot of them, plenty of how tos and videos here too.

 

I'm thinking you're well on your way, your pieces look good, a little practice and maybe someone to show you a trick or six and you're off and running. have you attended local club meets open forges and such? Get yourself hooked up with an experienced smith is pretty unbeatable. Every day with an experienced smith will equal weeks of trying to figure it out yourself.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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for the tongs, Brian Brazeal and Daniel Lea both have pretty good videos on how to make them, it sure isn't the easiest way, but good things are rarely easy to make, i think an Englishman by the name of Gary Huston has a channel, i think he shows an easier way to make tongs, but they are more lightweight and might be prone to cracking at the joint of the boss and the jaws, i've had that happen with my rebar tongs and smaller ones, it's just a matter of practice, i suggest making a lot of them and taking your time to make them, that's the mistake i was making most of the time, i was trying to move all i could of the metal in one strike rather than all i needed, it also tired me out pretty fast.

now that i think of it, there is a post or a blueprint here with instructions on how to make easy tongs, i'll see if i can dig it up later today.

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For punching and drifting, you might try mixing up a little slurry or either coal dust or grahite and water.  coat the end of your punch or drift with it before driving it through.   It will lessen the friction and keep it from sticking.    I use seed slick from napa auto.    Can we see your punch?  you might just have to change the geometry a little to keep it from bending. Also dip the punch or drift  in the slack tub after every couple of hits to keep it cool.

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