carlson

Downside to Offset V-bit Tongs?

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As a beginner with a limited budget I'm tempted to buy offset (gooseneck) v-bit tongs. They "seem" to offer the greatest versatility. 

I'm specifically looking at the Off-Center brand offered by Blacksmiths Depot. 

Is there a downside over the inline pair?

Thanks. 

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carlson,

The offset will make the tongs imbalanced which isn't necessarily a big deal compared to the advantage of being able to grab along the length of a piece of stock. It will however, make a difference in the overall amount of work you do with your wrist.  Another area that it might prove a little cumbersome is if you're bending the stock along it's length.  Having the jaws in line with the handles puts the reaction forces straight through your grip.  With the handles offset, it's easier for the jaws to slip axially while bending.  To counteract that, I suspect you'd find you have to grip harder when bending with offset tongs.

One reason they might not be as common as ordinary bolt-tongs is that longer stock is usually easier to handle without tongs.  There is an advantage in grabbing a long piece along it's length, especially since you wouldn't need to cool the "handle" end.  That's a bid advantage with high carbon steels that shouldn't be quenched.

I've seen knifemakers using offset tongs to pick up stock they dropped on the floor.  They seem to work a little better than ordinary bolt tongs for that.  Of course, dropping stock is generally a sign that the tongs don't fit the work.

I have a pair of wolf-jaw tongs that are by far my most-used tongs.  They're able to hold 1/2" round or square either lengthwise or endwise.  They fit in stuff like hammer eye's and they're agile enough that I can adjust things in the fire with them.

That being said, bolt tongs are about as good as it gets for holding stock by the end.

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My 1/2" V bit wolf jaw tongs are always on the rack on my forge, they're my go to tongs. I've used off set tongs and can't complain but I find they're more for odd length work, stuff that's too long for inline bits but too short to hold without tongs. In those situations I forge one end on a long piece of stock, the most difficult end, cut it off and deal with the other end using tongs. Lacking off set tongs I'll sometimes just bend an S curve in the stock so I can use my wolf jaws and straighten the piece later on the wood block.

Yeah I know, that's a work around but working around problems sometimes leads to an equally workable solution and I don't need to get better at making tongs.

The biggest disadvantage using V bit tongs is having to hold them at an odd angle to work on the flats, it throws the natural 90* your wrist turns off by 45*.  I'm pretty sure I should just get better at making tongs. Eh?

Frosty The Lucky.

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I have a pair of off-set box jaw tongs for holding 1.5" flat bar.  They get used very rarely in part because there just isn't much need for the offset feature in general smithing.

My standard box jaws and v-bit bolt tongs.... used all the time.

I prefer my tongs to be inline with the work I'm doing unless there's just no way around it.   When building up your collection of tongs, I'd start with the v-bit bolt style simply because it's very versatile.  One pair of 1/2" will also hold 3/8" as well as flat bar between the corners.  That's one pair of tongs that will hold three different sizes and shapes of metal, with plenty of room for a curl or curve to pass out the side.

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1 hour ago, carlson said:

What kind of Wolf jaw tongs do you use Frosty?

Alaskan Timber Wolf, naturally.

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1 hour ago, JHCC said:

Alaskan Timber Wolf, naturally.

I was hoping he had a source for Dire Wolf Jaw tongs. 

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Just now, carlson said:

I was hoping he had a source for Dire Wolf Jaw tongs. 

Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil.

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9 minutes ago, JHCC said:

Chlanna nan con thigibh a so's gheibh sibh feoil.

JHCC, I'm assuming that would have lost something if it was translated from the original Klingon.

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Just now, rockstar.esq said:

JHCC, I'm assuming that would have lost something if it was translated from the original Klingon.

It's the Gaelic war cry of Clan Cameron: "Sons of dogs, come hither and get flesh."

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3 hours ago, carlson said:

Thanks for the replies. 

What kind of Wolf jaw tongs do you use Frosty?

The ones I bought from a farrier almost 30 years ago. They're factory made but I don't know who's factory, I'd have to go look to see if there's a maker's mark on them.

The wolf jaw tongs I've made were pretty Dire examples of tongs, thanks for their designation John. Consider them named! Now I'll have to invent an ancient Gaelic toast and or curse for using them.  How about, "May you finish with this heat half an hour before the devil knows you're using those tongs."? Okay, so I'm not going to try translating that. YIKES! :o

Frosty The Lucky.

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4 minutes ago, Frosty said:

"May you finish with this heat half an hour before the devil knows you're using those tongs."

"Mhà thu crìoch le seo teas leth uair a thìde mus fios aig an diabhol thu a 'cleachdadh an fheadhainn clobha."

(According to Google Translate, anyway.)

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Cool, thanks. I used Google to search for a translation program and it listed everything but "Google Translate" Of course.

I'll really have to shorten my newly written ancient blacksmith's toast to fit it on a pair of tongs eh?

Frosty The Lucky.

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1 minute ago, JHCC said:

Thanks for not writing it into Gaelic for me. :) 

I know I had that and hundreds of handy sites bookmarked but I had to change web browsers and it wouldn't carry such petty things as bookmarks over. It'll be bookmarked AGAIN. Thanks.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Lisa changed the family calendars over to iCal a few months ago, but my calendar at work is still Google. Lots of fun keeping that coordinated.

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On 3/21/2017 at 10:21 AM, carlson said:

As a beginner with a limited budget I'm tempted to buy offset (gooseneck) v-bit tongs. They "seem" to offer the greatest versatility. 

Limited budget?  Beginner?  Make your tongs.  You'll save money and learn a lot in the process.  (It's kinda like casting bullets.)

Healthy budget?  Been forging for 30 years?  Make your tongs.  They'll be what you need and will work right since you've been making them for 30 years.   (It's kinda like reloading shells.)

If you want to be a blacksmith, be a blacksmith.  (It's kinda like hitting where you're aiming.)

 

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15 minutes ago, Sanderson Iron said:

Limited budget?  Beginner?  Make your tongs.  

 

Could be a tong paradox though, needing tongs so he can make tongs?

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11 minutes ago, RobbieG said:

Could be a tong paradox though, needing tongs so he can make tongs?

You don't need tongs to make tongs. Just start with stock that's long enough to hold by hand, forge the bits, bosses, and reins at either end, and cut the unworked material out of the middle.

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53 minutes ago, JHCC said:

You don't need tongs to make tongs. Just start with stock that's long enough to hold by hand, forge the bits, bosses, and reins at either end, and cut the unworked material out of the middle.

Yep, and that's how I make my own. If he has access to boxes of 10 inch long 5/8 round bar it wouldn't be much help though. I was more poking fun at the idea that he 'must' make his own tongs, they aren't really a beginner project so there's no harm in buying.

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1 minute ago, RobbieG said:

If he has access to boxes of 10 inch long 5/8 round bar it wouldn't be much help though.

Then all he needs to do is get a friend to spot-weld three or four sections end-to-end!

2 minutes ago, RobbieG said:

I was more poking fun at the idea that he 'must' make his own tongs, they aren't really a beginner project so there's no harm in buying.

True, that.

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12 hours ago, RobbieG said:

they aren't really a beginner project so there's no harm in buying.

Oh, I disagree, I do I do.  It's a beginner's project just fine.  You've got: drawing a taper, offsetting, leaving a boss and shaping the fit--done in matched pairs, all of which is excellent practice for any beginner with a wink of potential.  (I wouldn't expect my sister to be able to do it.)  You can add slot drifting the holes by and by--or forge welding the reins on.  See, there's a pile of learning and practice for a beginner.  The harm in buying is that Mr. Beginner won't get the practice from making them or the know-how to make a good pair when he needs to hold something odd for which there isn't a pair to buy.    

If a fella can't make his own tongs, he might want to consider another line of work.  Give it a whirl, Mr. Carlson, and you'll have some tools you made yourself, and you'll be on the road to being a blacksmith when you're done.  

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6 hours ago, Sanderson Iron said:

Oh, I disagree, I do I do.  It's a beginner's project just fine.  You've got: drawing a taper, offsetting, leaving a boss and shaping the fit--done in matched pairs, all of which is excellent practice for any beginner with a wink of potential.  (I wouldn't expect my sister to be able to do it.)  You can add slot drifting the holes by and by--or forge welding the reins on.  See, there's a pile of learning and practice for a beginner.  The harm in buying is that Mr. Beginner won't get the practice from making them or the know-how to make a good pair when he needs to hold something odd for which there isn't a pair to buy.    

If a fella can't make his own tongs, he might want to consider another line of work.  Give it a whirl, Mr. Carlson, and you'll have some tools you made yourself, and you'll be on the road to being a blacksmith when you're done.  

I agree that the practice is good, and no they are by no means an 'advanced' project - they are pretty important to get right though. If they are poorly fitting they can be downright dangerous, and a beginner is unlikely to get perfect fitting tongs on their first few attempts.

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