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I Forge Iron

Punch tongs from hemostats


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Last weekend I made a slitting punch, a drift, and a square punch for a hinge project I'm gearing up to do.  While I was making them, I was struggling to get a decent grip on them with the tongs I had.  I got to thinking about a pair of really big hemostats I picked up from a military surplus store.  They're 18" long, stainless steel, and probably cost me $4-$5 when I bought them years ago.  Anyhow it occurred to me that I could put a couple of bends into one jaw to make a three sided clamp to hold my punches.  I accidentally burned about half the jaw off, but there was still plenty of material to bend out and back to center.  I heated the other jaw and trimmed it to where it's the same length as the bent jaw.  I gave them a try and they work pretty sweet.  The hemostats are very light weight, but they clamp firmly.  Being fairly long, I can pick up a dropped drift or punch without stooping so much.  My punches were about 1/2" round stock, but the hemostat "tongs" will hold up to 3/4" round or octagonal.  I suppose they'd hold square shafted tooling better if both jaws were bent, but I don't have any at this point. 

That being said, I'll be keeping my eye's peeled for more of those honking big hemostats. 

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