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I Forge Iron

First Pair of Tongs

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Hello, I havent had the opportunity to forge in several months. Finally had the chance to do so. I am a beginner, so I wanted to make a pair of tongs, as it seemed good practice. It was quite the adventure, especially trying to rivet them together, which kinda failed... 


Overall, they are ugly, crooked, and beginner tongs, but they are still tongs.





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Have I wished you welcome aboard, glad to have you Mandragon? If not, that was it. 

Oh my goodness, are those reins long enough?:o Just messing with you a little, they're easy to shorten.

Do they work, can you hold work with them?

Making tongs are NOT a beginner's project unless you have an experienced smith on hand helping. They involve basic processes but with one MAJOR difference, you have to make two halves that match and that's not so easy.

Even if those don't work, keep them so you can compare your work as your skills improve. Seriously it makes you feel the progress. 

You have some skills to develop for now. Hammer control is about as important to blacksmithing as not grabbing the HOT end. mounting your anvil at the best height for YOU is the first step. Standing relaxed in the shoes you work in with your arms hanging relaxed at your side the face should be about wrist height. Knuckle height is from the days when smiths didn't work alone and strikers were swinging sledge hammers.

Learn to draw stock down lengthways. S hooks, drive hooks and such are good practice. Adding decorative twists are good and don't interfere with learning to draw long EVEN tapers. 

Nails are another good project for tapers but you get to add another process, upsetting in the form of heading the nails. 

But WAIT!!! Before you can head nails you need a NAIL HEADER!:o to make a nail header you need a punch. . . Oh WAIT, that's just drawing a little different than long and uniform. You'll need GASP long uniform and straight draws. Yes, you do need to draw it down the punch needs some thickness where you hold it and strike it to punch holes. A little HOT filing to smooth it up and flatten the end. 

Viola! new skills ad you're starting to combine them to make projects.

You'll need to learn to isolate material by setting bevels on a radiused edge of your anvil. The edge NEEDS to be radiused, sharp inside corners are stress risers and tend to cause things to break right THERE. 

To start with cut stock long enough you can hold it in your hand without tongs. Heat doesn't conduct through steel fast enough to be a problem. When it starts feeling warm cool the part you're holding with water. NOT the part you're forging, the part you're holding. Clear?

Don't be discouraged your tongs are a pretty good first attempt at a project well above your skills sets. You've already made the best decision you could. instead of reading, watching youtube and collecting all the best tools, you built a fire heated steel and beat it into a tool.

It doesn't get any better than using a tool you've made with our own hands. Well done brother.

Frosty The Lucky.


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You did look up the correct length for a rivet for a certain size rivet to be riveted right?  Makes riveting a lot easier

Should project 1.5 times the diameter of the rivet above the stock being riveted.

Using a set hammer to true up the flats that will be moving against each other is a big help too.

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I may have jumped into making tongs a bit prematurely, as evidenced by the tongs themselves. However, I'm glad of the experience, and they will make a good set piece to see how far I have come after a lot more practice, as you said Frosty. 

Frosty, thank your for your words of encouragement and advice with practice. I will definitely be practicing more as time allows. 

Thomas, I didnt have a rivet the right size, so I hammered one off of a really long piece of stock and it ended up being really unwieldy to try and hammer in. I will remember to use that rule when I rivet in the future. 

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Now that you have tried making tongs, go back and re-read or re-watch the videos and compare your experience with the method and your next pair should be a lot better. My firsts didn't turn out great either but with the experience and re-studying the method my next were way better and Im still using them often after 4 or 5 years. 

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