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Steven Bronstein

why traditional tong method

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I have always wondered what the benefit of the traditional method of making tongs which creates the shoulders between the boss and the working end. There are currently available flat blanks that are used to make tongs. These do not create that shoulder but still seem to work very well. Does anyone know the rationale behind the more traditional method. The extra mass on the end of the tongs does not seem to help in their ridigity or function.

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Can you show an example of what you are talking about, my tongs from a wide range of times and places don't seem to have a shoulder like you  describe?

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By your mention of flat blanks, I came across many laser cut blanks. All of which required modification to work "just fine". And while I'm sure it's effective, they take something that's just a really pretty tool, like a well-executed gooseneck tong, and make it look like a paper cutout.  Not my personal preference :/

Anyway... are we talking about a shoulder put in to offset the tong jaws so they line up?

 

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For flat jaw tongs, one either fullers and twists the jaw or upsets it with half blows over the anvil, is this what you are talking about? Goose neck designers typicaly don’t set down to isolate the boss as do flat jaws.

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The tongs on the top show that the material is parallel above the hinge. The pair of tongs on the bottom have the shoulder just above the hinge. The instructions for forging tongs at a 45 over the edge of the anvil helps to create that 90 degree shoulder and I have never understood its purpose.

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The first pair of tongs hold the work off the side of the reins, already off balance, and you have to adapt for that.  The piece between the rivet and jaw aren't parallel - one is angled so it can line up with the lower jaw at the working bit.    In that instance, flat stock cut out from a sheet will get the job done plenty fine.

With the lower pic, the tongs are designed to hold the bar in line with the reins so you have good alignment and are able to rotate the hot steel with a simple turn of the wrist.

In order to achieve that alignment, you have to offset the jaws so the work remains in line with the handles.

Most people that I've met don't like using off-set tongs unless they have to, myself included.  They can be handy, but aren't preferred.

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That is a function of the job the tongs are designed to do and doesn't address the question of why tongs are traditionally made with the large off set shoulder when a short gooseneck that aligns the jaws to the reins will work equally well to balance the work.

 

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Leverage, the shoulder type can offer an advantage for the same rein length due to being able to hold the work closer to the pivot. There may be other reasons but that's the obvious one to me.

 

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Is it then reasonable to think that if a gooseneck fits in with your usage there is no negative consequence to suggesting that beginners start with the simpler type of tongs. I see some beginners getting bogged down with the challenges of the traditional tong setup and they could get to work more quickly with the simpler tong making method. Also, they will be doing lighter work and may not need the mass required for power hammer forging.

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Good Morning,

I think what Steven is asking about, 'Why do you turn 45 degrees, on the far side of the Anvil, for the second step of making Tongs'. The reason is, so the base of the shorter jaws will clear the hinge boss of the other jaw, after they are riveted together. It is difficult to see all the strengths and weaknesses until you look at MANY TONGS.

K.I.S.S. You don't have to make it difficult, but you have to learn where and why.

Neil

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7 hours ago, VaughnT said:

The first pair of tongs hold the work off the side of the reins, already off balance, and you have to adapt for that.  The piece between the rivet and jaw aren't parallel - one is angled so it can line up with the lower jaw at the working bit.    In that instance, flat stock cut out from a sheet will get the job done plenty fine.

With the lower pic, the tongs are designed to hold the bar in line with the reins so you have good alignment and are able to rotate the hot steel with a simple turn of the wrist.

In order to achieve that alignment, you have to offset the jaws so the work remains in line with the handles.

Most people that I've met don't like using off-set tongs unless they have to, myself included.  They can be handy, but aren't preferred.

Absolutely. It has to do with the geometry of the tong. When you close the jaws and exercise a reasonable amount of pressure, the tong jaws unless aligned, will tend to twist. A gooseneck offset jaw will flex and twist much more than a straight jaw forged to be in line with one another. i don't think I would want a tong with two dissimilar jaws like the one at the top.

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It helps me to look at tools that "aren't tongs."

Linesman pliers are a really good example. Look at how they've been built so that the jaws and handles align perfectly. They look a lot like small, evolved flat jaw tongs to me.

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I used one of the cut-out blanks to make a pair of scroll tongs.  They look like any other set of tongs after I finished, just easier to create than the traditional method.  I think there is value in learning the skills required to make tongs, and I hope to someday master that skill but for now the cut-out blanks are a way for me to make a good set of tongs which are a whole lot cheaper than buying new tongs and cost slightly more than buying used pairs for around $10 a pair.

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On 4/5/2018 at 10:34 PM, ThomasPowers said:

And Roman or Egyptian styled tongs?

 

8C26C390-8ECB-4109-96C3-9322ACDE73FA.jpeg

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A late add.

Doing them the traditional way, you can start off with heavier parent stock and get a more heavy duty tong. Of course, then forge the reins and working  end down to what you want.

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