Ranchmanben

Tong obsession

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On 5/6/2017 at 8:46 AM, gote said:

Your last ones are really good looking but why the shoulder? I mean is there a purpouse beside the good looks? 

Having made a few pair of tongs, and used a bunch more over the years, I find that adding the shoulder does make a difference. 

It allows you to make tongs with parallel reins that do not flex excessively behind the jaws when tightly clamping stock. Plus, parallel reins drop neatly into a container, or hang over a bar without splaying out. 

I have also found that the cross-sectional shape of the reins at different points makes a huge difference in the strength vs weight category. Even the balls or swells at the base of the tongs to index your hand, or keep tong rings in placed.

All nuances that are wasted on rank beginners, but start to be appreciated over time.

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John, you've picked up on a lot of the things I've put into these like the parallel reins, the open spot between them for hanging and the swelled ends. I'm not really sure if mine don't flex as much as others but I've noticed that tongs without parallel  reins sort of want to twist on me when I'm grabbing the really hard. As I said before, I like making them and so I'm constantly looking for ways to improve each pair. 

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Beautiful tongs!...but I don't think I would be holding them in my "lap"....duhh

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Thanks Arkie, I seems to spend a lot of time trying to get good pictures and end up usually using the easiest one that's taken while sitting in the truck. 

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On May 24, 2017 at 8:44 PM, Ranchmanben said:

Weird set of parallel jaw tongs made from 5/8" coil spring. 

I have never seen any like this before, although I am new to blacksmithing. Would it be possible to get a little explanation on how to make these? Measurements? 

It looks to me like they are adjustable scrolling tongs, but I'm interested to know if with a different shaped jaw it could work with a variety of flat/square stock sizes. 

 

Thanks! 

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How big a hand do you have?  Unless that lower rein comes back up to where you can grab it it would be a two handed set of tongs for larger sizes.

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On May 28, 2017 at 1:12 PM, Bayshore Forge said:

I have never seen any like this before, although I am new to blacksmithing. Would it be possible to get a little explanation on how to make these? Measurements? 

It looks to me like they are adjustable scrolling tongs, but I'm interested to know if with a different shaped jaw it could work with a variety of flat/square stock sizes. 

I'm honestly not very good at explaining thing like this but I'd be happy to post some more pictures for you with a tape measure for scale and answer any questions you got. I think they'd work better as a flat jaw or possible box jaw as a multi sized tong. There wouldn't be much of a range though since the reins end up so wide. You could probably do a 5/16-3/8" range.

 

On May 28, 2017 at 1:39 PM, ThomasPowers said:

How big a hand do you have?  Unless that lower rein comes back up to where you can grab it it would be a two handed set of tongs for larger sizes.

 You picked out just one of the problems, how far you've got to open the reins to fit a larger piece. Although I think they look pretty neat and were fun to make, this pair is just about useless for actual work. At some point I'm going to make another pair with flat jaw and do some tweaks to the design to hopefully get more range of the jaws without having to spread the reins so much. Also, as they are now, there's not a tremendous amount of clamping power.

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So it's tough to squeeze them hard enough to hold well and it's hard to find things to hold with them. When I think about using them I see 2 handed reins made to be spread not squeezed and pointed bits.

I see myself using them to spread rather than hold things. Open nose rings or snap ring safety clips? I'll bet those or ones like them would work a treat pulling the safety clips from the pins when dropping the snow plow off the pickup.

Hmmmmm?

Frosty The Lucky.

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Figured I could just post pictures of my attempt at v jaw tongs instead of making a new thread. For the time being ill just make this style tong instead of the bolt tong with the curve in them until I get more experience. This is meant to pick up rr spikes or larger stock. I'll be making a hardy hot cut soon dunno if these will work for holding large stock or not. Everything went great until I put in the rivet. I'm in desparate need of a bolster plate. I also don't have a tool for making a nice v in my tongs so I just used edge of my anvil for now. Is there a tool for making the v part in the jaws of the tongs?

 

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Best way to make the "V" in your tongs is to insert a square bar in line with the bits, and either clamp it in the vise or hammer on it...your choice.  Do it hot, yellow to orange for a good fit.  May have to repeat to get it just right.  You can probably find some videos or have a smith show you in person.

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Thanks for the advice, I just ordered me a v jaw swage block so that should make it easy.  I also tried my hand at using a brass brush and I really liked the finish it left.

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Hawg, how many pairs of tongs have you built? If that's your first pair you're ahead of the curve. If it's not the first pair, you're dang sure getting there. Arkies advice is right on the money about getting the v-groove for that style of tong, also you can do the same thing perpiendicular to the first groove to hold a piece upright on your anvil. Another way, the way I end up using the most, is to use a slitting chisel first then spread the groove with a piece of 1/2" square ground to a 90* chisel. I use a vise to hold my tong half while I do this a have a piece of metal underneath the jaw to prevent it bending all over the place. To do it that way, you'd have to redesign your jaws a little to have more vertical mass. The bolster plate is and easy one if you've got a drill and a piece of plate. Since I use 3/8" round bar for my rivets I use a piece of 1/2" plate for my bolster block. The rule of thumb is if what ever size stock you're useing for a rivet you need 1.5 times the diameter on each end for the rivet head.

One of the main things to work on is your boss and how your reins and jaws attach to it. The boss is the key pair of any pair of tongs, the better it's formed the better the tongs pivot. Try to keep your boss a uniform thickness, I shoot for 3/8" thick on most of my tongs. Where your reins and jaws meet the boss needs to be fairly robust as well since all the force is transferred at those points.

 

In the beginning, I think it's better to over build, get your process down and end up with a useable tool than start with undersized stock and end with tongs that bend or break when you try to use them. You've made a useable set of tongs there and that's not an easy thing. Every pair you work on will teach you something even if they get chucked in the scrap pile. Every pair you finished will get better. Lots of fellas don't bother making their own tong because it's not worth their time, nothing wrong with that, but I respect you making your own tongs.

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It was definitely a good feeling having a decent looking useable tool. This is my second pair, but I have a lot of attempts in the scrap pile. I think what really helped me this time is I finally found an edge on my anvil that isn't so radiused so I was able to set it down fairly well.  The other day I tried to make those fancy shoulders on tongs,  definitely don't have the skill for that quite yet.  And I know what you mean needing a thicker boss and that was my intention.  I think I need 3/4 stock because those were forged from 5/8 and I still didn't have enough material. 

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This is my 3rd,4th,and 5th pair. They are getting better and easier each time. 

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Other than HUGE reins, that last pair looks good! I know how it goes though, you put in a ton of work on the jaws and when you get to to point of drawing out the reins you just don't feel like it. Next time just quit for the day. I know you started them and want to get them finished but that pair would have looked 10times better with thinner handles and the wouldn't be near as heavy. It also looked like it tried to isolate the boss more on that's set, keep at it! As you said, every pair will get better. 

A lot of folks here say tongs aren't a first, second or even tenth project for a new smith. Although I agree a new guy should get a few projects under his belt before attempting them, there's a lot to be learned from forging tongs that transfer to other projects.  Keep at it, it makes you a better smith and a better person. 

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Also, the boss should be the thickest part of the tong. It is the part that will put up with the most stress. Just do the opposite of what you do and you'll have a longer lasting pair of tongs! all of the stet downs should be thick. the set down at the reins, it should be thicker and then taper down the reins towards you. The boss should be thickest part of the reins, and then taper towards you down the length of the reins. I prefer to make my bosses square, I just think it looks better. when forging the tongs, I start with the jaws/boss area. 3 hits for the jaws, turn at a 45 degree angle, 3 hits, turn left and 3 hits. Then I draw out the reins and finish those. I then come back to the jaws and clean them up, and making them a little thinner. With the boss, when I go back the second time, I still don't bring it down to the final thickness. When you go to punch the rivet hole, it will create a suck down around the hole, making it not flat and thinner. So then you go back and bring it down flat so there is no more suck down and the boss is flat and functions smoother. On your post (Hawgdirt's) on Tuesday picture 3 you can kinda see what I am talking about, where around the hole it is concave.

Really good firsts, MUCH better than mine!! the only way you can go is up from here and get better!

                                                                                                                            Littleblacksmith

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Ben if you make the holes farther apart on the non jaw paralles you should get more range of jaw movement with the same hand movement.

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On April 13, 2017 at 11:28 AM, ThomasPowers said:

NEVER TRASH THEM  use them as infill for a shop gate or shop window grill---some creative arc welding and you've got a winner!

Yeah. It can be used for creative some creative stuffs. 

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Newest pair of flat tongs, kind messed up the boss. I've been plating stuff with a brass brush,  I really like how it looks. 

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