Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Tongs - Not finished, but somewhere


Recommended Posts

So I needed some tongs in order to make a tang on a chisel-turned-knife I made recently, and I needed the experience of working with metal because that's invaluable. So I cut a bit of rebar and got to work.

 

Things I learned: 

 

1. Forge: Anthracite from TSC works great, I did 2 part nut 1 part rice, got hot and even made me take my coat off. Also eats a lot of air, full weld was about complete open 1/2 inch valve with a shop vac pushing the air, and normal forging was 1/2 open or 1/4 open, as opposed to the 1/8 open from my homemade charcoal.

Positioning is tricky, but it helps to have some bricks for smaller workpieces so you can prop them up and keep the coal in the fire pot. I seem to be on the money about 90% of the time with my guesses as to where the heat is, so metal is getting hot.

Timing is key. Flaming steel is pretty, but not good. Melty bits had to be knocked off with the tack hammer before work could continue.

2. Anvil: this is really important: Have a square edge somewhere. My splitting maul anvil was really not performing quite as well as I needed it to because there was no 90 degree edge for making shoulders, but otherwise it's great. I have it sunk in some concrete in a tea bag box.

3. Hitting the metal: Not too hard to get the hang of, but easy to slip out of the rhythm. I found that for small work like tongs the 2# was great for getting the metal flat or stretched but the 1# was needed for edging and getting rid of the apprentice marks.

Bending and getting the curves for the tong handles/rivet spot was surprisingly easy to figure out, but I'd like to hear any methods you use. What I ended up doing was bending the tongs at the point where the handle meets the rivet flat and then bending it back by hitting the grabbing edge over the end of the anvil (That made no sense, I'll make a video of the action sometime) Only problem was everything needed to be put back into its place as far as width and such goes. but that's no big deal.

4. Punching: bring a buddy. Or your dad. I have no pritchet/hardy hole so we had to put the punch onto the anvil and hit the metal down over it. but it got the fidly bit out just fine.

5 Swivel rivets: I need real rivets. roofing nails are not working. I think I'll upset a piece of round stock that matches the hole then cut it off with a grinder and pop it after that.

6. Wire brushing does a world of good.

7. Anthracite coal holds on to heat very well, unlike charcoal. be careful when picking up drop-outs.

8. Tack hammers are actually REALLY useful.

9. I need a cross pein, but nobody has 2# ones, only 3# or 2.5# ones and those are a bit much for me. Not to mention the fine work I'm doing right now.

10. my local home depot has reasonably high carbon rebar! It's very springy and the quenched tips are really tough, so I'm going to be using this as tong stock from now on. 

All in all, I consider these tongs to be a happy apprentice mark! I will bring them properly into square and do some more bending sometime soon but tomorrow and the day after aren't clear for forging. I also need to procure some steel for my horn making mission, but first I'm going to need a set of tongs for holding them. That'll probably involve my first forge weld attempts in order to affix pieces of angle iron onto rebar tong bases. May look into creating a replaceable jaw tong system using threads and drifted holes, but time will tell on that one.

Picture time!

 

While it's hot, and the most recent iteration of my forge, plus a picture showing just why I really need an anvil mount (And am working on figuring one out)

565b9a336e6b6_Forge01.thumb.jpg.e1b6545e565b9a3e6c3f7_Forge02.thumb.jpg.435cc5ba

 

Oh yeah. and a tool rack too, I don't like having them on the ground at all. And a bigger forge shelf, The coal keeps falling out, which is quite obnoxious.

 

Anyway, temporarily riveted, here's the "Finished" product:DSCN6294.thumb.JPG.0afc1293a6fdd17fb9d9bDSCN6295.thumb.JPG.32a476f0033da6411c80bDSCN6297.thumb.JPG.4f82f0276e6610e30db93DSCN6292.thumb.JPG.e83d077f50573854f2b31DSCN6293.thumb.JPG.89bc9b397ed5f0575fa22

 

Note hefty apprentice marks. The jaws are actually really clean though, Which I am pretty proud of.

 

Sorry about the long post, but today was pretty eventful as far as my journey goes because it's my first real product of smithing!

 

(Oh and I do have a forge pick that I made, I suppose that counts. Pic of that for fun. That's the knife blank too.)

DSCN6291.thumb.JPG.e99a652d64500fd5a4041

 

Anyway, Lots of pictures, sorry, but I figure you guys might want a blast from the past reminiscent of your starts, and I certainly need your help on this project!

Link to post
Share on other sites

The cross peen engineer's hammers you get at most stores may be a little heavy, but once you dress them down to avoid odd marks left in your work you would be suprised at how much lighter they can be at the end. Also, if you buy one from Tractor Supply watch how the handle hangs in the eye. I bought one from them and it was just epoxied in. That came loose after about four days. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Make yourself a rivit header, then you can make your own rivits. With no prichel hole, use a pipe cut off, rivit header or bend a "U" in a peice of thick flat strap to back up your work, thicker stuff can be punched with out. Drive the punch in untile it feels like you have struck the anvil (thin but ove steel has cooled between the punch and anvil) flip over and shear the thin cool peice out with the punch. If the stock is thinish use something to back it, even the stump

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, jumbojak said:

The cross peen engineer's hammers you get at most stores may be a little heavy, but once you dress them down to avoid odd marks left in your work you would be suprised at how much lighter they can be at the end. Also, if you buy one from Tractor Supply watch how the handle hangs in the eye. I bought one from them and it was just epoxied in. That came loose after about four days. 

Ahh, thanks for the tip. Harbor freight has some really well hung hammers (And actually good steel for the heads no less, it gets me every time) so I'll probably get one from there and dress it down in order to lighten it up.

 

15 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Make yourself a rivit header, then you can make your own rivits. With no prichel hole, use a pipe cut off, rivit header or bend a "U" in a peice of thick flat strap to back up your work, thicker stuff can be punched with out. Drive the punch in untile it feels like you have struck the anvil (thin but ove steel has cooled between the punch and anvil) flip over and shear the thin cool peice out with the punch. If the stock is thinish use something to back it, even the stump

Yeah I was thinking about making a rivet header, just need to get an appropriate chunk of steel for it.

I did use the flip method on this punch, and I have a car jack which could work as a a punching block. Pipe cut off come later when I get into more complicated stuff.

Also, do you think that upsetting a piece of round stock would work for forming a rivet head, or would a header be better for that purpose? Or rather, necessary?

Link to post
Share on other sites

  If you have one, chuck some mild round stock up in a vice and pein the end down with a ball-pein hammer.  This cold riveting process takes a little while, but if you anneal your stock beforehand, and take your time, making sure to only pein down around the outside edge of your stock, you should come up with a handsome looking mushroom that doesn't split.  When you're "factory" head starts looking pretty good, cut off the end with a hacksaw to a length that clears the pieces you're riveting together by 1.5 times the rivet thickness.  Assemble the joint and buck the "shop" head on a flat piece of metal (anvil face), or if you have one, a "bucking bar" that fits your factory head pretty well.

  If you want, you can do the process in a simpler manner while hot, but you run the risk of upsetting the rivet down into your boss, seizing up the joint, and possibly shearing the rivet in half in an effort to free it.  You shouldn't need any hints as to how I figured that one out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bolts / round head screws will work as rivet material if you can't get anything else. Headers though aren't all that hard to make. Just drill thru a solid piece of stock longer than what you need and add a handle to it. The "hammer" looking thing at the bottom of the pict is the 1/2" rivet header I made when I made the legs for my forge. It's about 4" of 1 1/2" square mild steel with a 1/2" hole drilled end to end. I'd heat the end of a 5 1/2" piece of 1/2" round and then drop it in the hole in the end and use the handle to keep it on my anvil while I formed the head. Then a quick dunk and 90% of the time the rivet would just drop out when I tapped the end of the header. I can then cut the rivet to length. I found 4" of rivet was more than enough to do the 2 pieces of 1/2" plus the single piece of 1" and still have 1.5 times the diameter to head on the other end after cutting. The extra length gave me some wiggle room for the one or two odd rivets I needed that had to be just slightly longer.

 

IMG_4161.thumb.JPG.b240a818a60c66c5d0e29

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, you've managed to, sort out a basic forge, a functioning anvil, and you've had a go at making something. Top marks from me Micah, can't fault you so far. Some would say a pair of tongs is a bit ambitious for a beginner, I agree, but that don't mean you can't try! Just not likely to be entirely successful. You've obviously been paying attention somewhere as you seem to have the rudiments correct, finesse will come. As you stated you need some tongs, and other tools too, looks to me your on the right road.

Plenty of good advice and guidance being offered above, I would suggest, elevating the anvil at least to the height where you can sit at it will help you no end, so be on the lookout for some sort of base, and find some stock, loads of stock, as much stock as you can get your hands on.......:D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try this again...   search around on IFI or youtube and Brian Brazeal and Techincus Joe have some very good videos on tong making.  After watching them a few time you'll get going forward that much quicker.  Good to see that you are trying things...  can't learn if you don't  :)  I second raising your anvil somehow.  Working comfortably will make better more efficient work.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2015, 3:15:52, oilboy328 said:

looking good. go to a wrecking yard and get a tire rim, you can adapt it for your forge, or an old break drum.

keep up the good work.

 

I actually prefer the clay forge I have now, it works very well and it's simple to fix. Not to mention it cost the whopping total of nine dollars to get everything for it, :3

19 hours ago, Dogsoldat said:

Try this again...   search around on IFI or youtube and Brian Brazeal and Techincus Joe have some very good videos on tong making.  After watching them a few time you'll get going forward that much quicker.  Good to see that you are trying things...  can't learn if you don't  :)  I second raising your anvil somehow.  Working comfortably will make better more efficient work.

I'm going to be re-finishing them and I recently ground a 90 degree surface on the edge of my anvil so I'll have the ability to square things off. I don't consider that finished, XD

Link to post
Share on other sites

Micah, you're going really well for a young fella working with the most basic equipment. I admire your enthusiasm and the positive attitude expressed in your posting.

You will build yourself a more reliable forge and gather the tools you need to become a very good smith. Keep those tongs and look back on them in years to come.

And, incidentally, it is comforting to see that at least some young people today have a very good command of English. Your posts are very well written. Well done. (That's the teacher coming out in me. :))

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2015, 8:00:42, Randy Bill said:

DSW, thanks for the most helpful post on rivet heading and your tool. The upset on the handle is class; is the head performing some other functions? (Something showing on the bottom "face" of your handsome hammer looking thing)

The "bottom" of the header I knocked off part of the corners so you can get the hammer angled to round over rivets if you want a domed head or rose head rivet. There's still enough flat to get the nice flat underside of the rivet, but any excess is removed to get it out of the way of the hammer. Flip the tool over and you can use the other side if you just want flat head rivets.

Upset end on the handle was just a "scrap" that was knocking around. I was working on a mock up for an upset foot if I remember and when I needed a handle it was laying on the pile of assorted "stuff" to be used/reused as needed. I like to try and use small tests like that on tools if possible. Makes them easy to find in the pile of tools and makes things interesting to look at.

If you need a better pict let me know. That was the only one I could find at the moment and showed a bunch of the assorted tools I made when I was working on making the forged legs for my coal forge.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, I'm thinking I'm going to be buying one of those sets of ball pein hammers at harbor freight (The crappy ones, with fiberglass handles) in order to make a horn, punching die, cutoff tool, rivet header, and maybe a tool heading punch (There's a 32 ounce hammer (Horn) 24 (Cutoff tool?) 16 (Tool punch and punching die combo [die on back, punch on front]) and 8 (rivet header))

 

Cutoff and tool punch/puch die may end up getting switched though. 

I'm also thinking about getting an additional 8 pound hammer and making it into a second anvil with a bowled face and squared edges, or something like that, in the near future.

Anyway, I have a lot of projects lined up, which is good because christmas break is coming and I like to keep busy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Micah I purchased a 3 lb. engineers hammer from HF. I have a very large vise i purchased about 35 years ago. I placed one face of the hammer in the vise and attacked it with my HF angle grinder. when i got the center of the face pretty round I used my belt sander with a 120 grit belt to polish it.It resembles a rounding hammer, and best of all I payed $7.99 for it. The same price for my cross peen. They are both 3 pounders, and if they prove too heavy I will again attack them with my angle grinder by putting what I call a waist behind the heads. I am on a fixed income and have to spend my money wisely.  Thank goodness for HF.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...