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I Forge Iron

domestic fire tongs

Joel OF

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For the sake of this thread let's rule out the use of flat bar and focus on round or square bar of 10mm (3/8") or 12mm (1/2") diameter - stock sizes I expect are commonly used.

How do you forge dosmestic fireplace tong hinges and why? I'm talking about tongs that have 2 arms and either operate one handed, (with the hinge near the hand, typically with loops for fingers and thumb), or tongs that operate two handed with the hinge nearer the logs/coal end, (similar to blacksmith's workshop tongs).

I am confident at forging hinges and I'm not asking for a 'how to', I'm just curious as to people's preferences.

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Been making a few of these recently for companion sets. The most time consuming bit for me was making the two parts match. Ended up making a jig which has halved the time it would normally take me. 

Normally use 10mm round which I sometimes flatten down a bit depending on the set. 

This is how they turn out now. Can get a photo of the jig if interested.


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Curly I agree, nice tongs, and I'd love to see the jig. 

Joel, as far as the question I prefer fire tongs that are hinged at the back behind the hand as I can use them one handed with my big paws, tho mine don't have any loops.  I'm digging Curlys scissor type handle design. I'd like to give one like that a try. 

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Nice tongs Curly. My reason for asking is because it kinda feels to me like (without upsetting the hinge zone substantially) there's not really a way to forge hinges from small diameter bar in a way that's good all round.

Thinking aloud - Curly, the great thing about the type of thinned down hinge you've forged on your tongs means the tongs naturally open and shut in the same plain, and there's a good amount of surface contact area on both bars to keep their direction of travel straight, so as long as the shoulder on the rivet is a good size then their direct of travel should always be true and not toe inwards/outwards. The downside is the thinned down areas of the hinge are now a weak spot and could bend out of alignment if the user was too ambitious with the size of log they wanted to pick up, or if there was a side impact whilst the tongs are leaning up against the fireplace. Your tongs are obviously small one handed tongs for small fireplaces so you'd expect the user is trying to pick up logs of an appropriate size with them.

I made some tongs yesterday for a companion set, I slightly upset the hinge zone then just split and drifted the rivet hole. Unlike your method of creating a flat spot, the downside of mine is that they don't naturally open and shut in the same plain, so the bars have to be slighty bent into alignment, and the only thing that's keeping their direct of travel in check is the large surface area of the rivet shoulder. The upside however is that the parent bar thickness is maintained throughout the hinge zone so their strength is maintained sideways.

It strikes me that the only way to get the best of both worlds is to massively upset the hinge zone, then forge them flat (like Curly's), back to their parent bar diameter.

Rivet 001.JPG

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