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I Forge Iron

My take on (Habermann?) tongs pic heavy


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Good day folks, I've been here awhile but have contributed little to date so going forward I'll try and work on that.

This is my second attempt at this style of tongs and I managed to snap pics of most of the steps I took to forge these so I figure I might as well throw them up here and maybe someone will benefit. I warn you that this may not a perfect how to but it may give someone enough reference to muddle through their next pair of tongs. Also if anyone has pointers on what I could do better next time regarding the build or the "how to" I am open to advice.

I think these are deemed Habermann bolt jaw tongs but I can't vouch for that title so let's call them 1" bolt jaw / V bit tongs. They'll hold 1" square and round, 3/4" square and round and 1" flat stock


two 10"x1"x3/8" mild flat stock, 2 1/4"ish mild round for rivet 

Tools: (I used)

hammer of choice, guillotine with butcher dies, 1/2" slitter, 5/16" round punch, 1/2" drift, top and bottom V swage and for the rivet I used a bolster to upset one end before hot fitting in the tongs.


Mark at 1" 2.5" and 3.5"


Draw out reins to desired length and thickness but stop when you're 1/2"-1" away from boss. (mine are 12-14" and terminate at 3/8" round)


Isolate 1" sq 


draw out and round the edges of this section just enough that you can get a clean 1/4 turn/twist


Now you need to chase and forge down the ridges left by the twist be careful to avoid cold shuts while roughly squaring this up


you can see these are still only roughed out, don't get carried away here yet


Isolate your boss but only set down 3/4-2/3 again don't get carried away


Forge the opposing corners into the boss, let the boss upset a bit


Bend backwards just after the boss, say 30deg


kinda nip the backside of the bend, this helps tighten the bend and I believe it helps reinforce the bend as well


Bend the remaining 2/3rds forward and nip the back again


Forge your nib into the swage


I skipped a pic here but before opening up the boss take a heat and tweak the angle of your reins so the nibs kind of line up with the inside of the reins and bend the nibs backward a scooch as seen in the next pic, don't focus to hard on the angle as you can adjust that once the rivet is set and you're hot fitting to stock size.

 I put a 1/2" slit inline with the boss, punched out the rag, drifted to 1/2" then used the punch to countersink to 9/16" (the 1/2" rivet will go in easier when hot and then upset itself to the 9/16"  


Check alignment with a cold rivet


Set your rivet but don't finish it yet and then with the tongs laying on their side tap the jaws back and forth at the second bend to center the offset (if that makes sense)


Offset centered :) 


Heat the jaws and boss, grab your desired stock and clamp the nibs in a vise and then squeeze your reins together to the desired spacing. Pay attention to where your reins are in relation to the jaws, you want them adjusted so the stock is inline and centered between the reins. (this is where the nibs get their final tweak as you clamp them in the vise) 

This may take more than one heat to get them where you want them but once there finish peening your rivet at heat and work the tongs open and closed to keep everything tight but moving freely.


BOOM done easy as that ;) 

 (When it comes to hot fitting the tongs and adjusting the reins just do this the same as any other tongs (I'm struggling with how to explain this part))

One of the hardest lessons I learned when making any style tong is to never finish any one part until you know you won't be touching it at heat again. Take the section between the nibs and boss, if you finish that section 100% before isolating your boss then every time you straighten or tweak it you will be getting thinner and thinner. Same goes for that section of the reins that blends into the boss, if you finish that last 1" and then go back later to work on your boss you may find that section has been set down too far and you're left with a week spot. In short try and have each aspect complete at the same time as the others...... 

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