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Ethan the blacksmith

tong clip

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I have seen in some YouTube videos, people are using tong clips. I thought it might be handy if I could get one or forge one myself! if some one could tell me a bit more on this that would be awesome.

Ethan 

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Two basic kinds I am familir with, one looks like a chain link, and slips up by the bos while the jaw are open and slips down on the reighs when closed.

the second is a small plate punched with multiple holes and hinged on a loop on one rein, and the opropriate hole slips over the other reigh .

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I use tong clips as often as I can get away with using them...  If your tongs have balls forged on the end of the reins like the Tom Tongs that Tom Clark used to sell you need to use an open sided clip of some fashion.  Tom used to forge them as a warm up exercise, and had them in a large number of sizes to suit different tongs, and different size stock.  If you forge your reins out nice and thin then you can just use different sized chain links.  You can use a cut off wheel to cut every other link so that they are open sided clips, and that will free up the closed links.  It is a good idea to make a few, they are easy to loose, and you want to be able to grab and go...  If you harvest a few links off of several different sizes of chain, it gives you obviously several different lengths of clip.  I use tong clips to lock chisels and punches into a pair of tongs so I don't have to hold the tool over the hot metal, and holding on to the handle that the tongs provides doesn't bother my arthritis in my off hand as much as precisely holding the tool in my hand...   Some people forge then end of one rein of a set of tongs to hold a ring, and have the tongs set for a certain thickness, so that the reins spring just enough to let you latch the ring over the other rein and lock the tongs on the stock...  A good reason to use 1045, or 5160 for your tongs because you can forge them out lighter & thinner, and they will have some nice spring to them.  Just don't quench them when they get hot, they will fail eventually. Its also a good idea to forge just a bit of a curl to the end of the reins of the tongs, especially if you use chain links as your clips, otherwise as you work the link can sometimes migrate off of the end of the tongs and go shooting off...  I keep a little tub of tong clips on my forge tool table, so I always have one handy, problem is it always seems like I need to make a few more in the most common sizes, and then I often need an odd size or two;-)

Edited by SJS

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I have a selection of pipe rings that I have flattened and can slip on a set of tongs.  The flattened pipe rings are nice as they have a very low profile and don't get bumped loose as much.

 I also have a couple of the "C" clips to use on tongs that need a greater range of clipping.  If I had to build a C clip with minimal tooling I would probably drill the indents and then saw the basic shape.

 

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IMG_20150404_201317.jpg

​I use the type of tong clip as the second from the bottom in the photo. Very easy and quick to adjust for any tongs I wish to use.

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Yah that is the style of tong clip that Tom Clark used to teach how to make. He would often do one or two as a warm up before a demo.  He also recommended that as a general practice, if every time you were out in the shop you made a clip or two you would have enough fairly quickly.  He also was an advocate of forging a nail or two as a warm up.  It is nice to have a warm up exercise project, something that you can work on in a relaxed manner, and still focus on improving your skill.  Often times people who are just starting out bounce around doing all kinds of different projects, and don't end up being very deliberate about improving specific skills.  Choosing a simple project that you repeat over and over again, allows you to focus on improving that project, and all of the processes involved in that project.  You can do S-hooks, or J hooks, or leaves, or bottle openers but the goal is to get better.  You can sharpen your skills, and improve your finished product.  As you practice you get faster at doing it and the project gets more consistent.  As you repeat the process over and over it becomes programed in your brain and your muscles, and soon you don't even need to really think about it much.  I used to have a lot more of those clips, but between my kids coming into the shop and hiding things in the slacktub, and them flying off of the end of the tongs into the grass at demos, or getting left at some conference where I was contesting... ;-)  I only have one or two left...  I need to make some more, I do like that style I just don't keep a lot of small stock in the shop, and I will have to get some 1/4" round just to make tong clips from...

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Half way  to an animal head on the thick end.

I generally just smush a ring of pipe or use a piece of chain if one of my C clips won't work

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It's a little over thought Ethan simple is usually best for working tools. It Is however pretty darned cool, if you take Thomas's suggestion and carve an animal head on the thick end it'll be REALLY COOL. ;)

My tong clips are flattened ovals of 1/4" rd. with enough space between the sides I can slip them over the bits on a number of my tongs. I have ONE tong clip. I should make a few more but I'm sort of lazy about looking for round toits.

Frosty The Lucky.

Edited by Frosty

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I too just use 1/4" round for clips...work fine. Simple and lightweight.

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Ethan - don't over think the tong clip, it may get to the point of.....it's easier to not even use one vs. an over complicated one that takes up the heat installing the clip. Simple is best when trying to conserve the heat from forge to anvil.

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some of my old tongs had a loop on the end of one of the reins to hold a link to be used as a built in tong clip.

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Even before I knew what blacksmithing was I used a velcro strap on a pair of fire tongs/weenie roasting things, it was just a circle of velcro strap that could slide easily up and down the tong handles to accomodate whatever I was gripping.  Like others have said, don't over think it, the concept is pretty simple, something that fits around but allows you to move it up and down as needed. 

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