Chris C

Well, I'm a danged FOOL!

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Of course, most of you knew that from the "git-go"! :lol:

I've got my forge up and running.  I need a pair of Bolt Jaw tongs to do the work I need/want to do.  All I've got is a pair of flat-faced "duck bill" tongs I made while attending the local club's Thursday night gatherings.  (made them before I had any idea tongs were "thickness and shape specific".  (No wonder blacksmiths have as many pairs of tongs as I do wood carving knives!) :o  They hold a piece of 1/4" flat bar just fine.............but are worthless for 1" round bar.  I've spent the last hour burning myself to pieces trying to find a way to alter the jaws on these to simulate Bolt Jaw tongs to make a real pair.  Can't hold the danged things because I don't have any other tongs.  A pair of pliers get too hot too quickly to hold anything.  I'm really in a Catch-22 situation.  DUH!!!!!  Little wife and I are trying to do everything we can to keep away from other people, so I can't even go borrow a pair.  What a danged FOOL!  Little wife said I can't order any..............because I've already spent way too much on this hobby to get nothing tangible out of it. :angry:

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Tongs are a pretty significant barrier to entry for beginning blacksmiths.  I might get roasted for posting this, but consider looking at youtube videos on "alternate tongs".  I've seen some that are like bartenders ice tongs that can be banged out of a single bar of stock.  There are also some by GS Tongs where he uses an interesting twist approach with round bar to generate a matched set in way less time.

If there's any way you can buy stock large enough to allow using the parent stock as a handle, you'll probably find that's way more secure than tongs are anyway.

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Thanks, rockstar.esq.  I'll check into that.

IFC, I don't know why I didn't think of that.  Can't quite get it into my head all the things I can do with my Tombstone now that I have it.  :o  Lot's to learn and sometimes I feel pretty "thick-headed".  But that's a perfect solution.  I've already got my blanks cut and marked.  Just hadn't figured out a safe way to hold them.  I'll do just what you suggested.  THANKS.  Now back to the forge! :D

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Thanks guys, I'm coming along nicely with the tongs.  Only thing is the rebar welded to the 5/8" square bar melted off.  But I got enough of it done that I can hold it with my wonky tongs.  Can anyone tell me if 1045 is a good steel for tongs?

1 hour ago, Glenn said:

BP001 Easy to make tongs by Whitesmith

Whitesmith is a 10 year old that provided IForgeIron with the following easy to make tongs.  One rivet, one twist, and your done.

 

Yes, I've seen those, Glenn.  But I don't think they'd be very useful for 5/8 sq bar.  Besides, I'm not flat bar stock.

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Yes 1045 is a decent tong steel.  The old ones were made from just real wrought iron.  I like sucker rod as they can be made a bit lighter than plain low C steel. The problem using a higher carbon steel is you have to make sure they never get quenched when they are hotter than critical!

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What would you recommend for a tong steel, Thomas?  I'm liable to quench it when it's too hot, by mistake...............not that I make mistakes you know. ;)

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As I came into smithing through knives; I tend to not have water around to quench stuff in; so no problem with higher C stock!

If you are prone to getting your tongs glowing and quenching them; then a low carbon steel like 1018 or even 1005 would avoid embrittlement issues.

Me: go with sucker rod and make 2 pair and if you goof with one you have a second to use while you make another couple of pair.

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The only sucker rod I've seen in the last 10 years has been welded into neighbor's fencing.  Not real sure any of them would appreciate hearing me in the middle of the night hacksawing chunks out of their fences.  :D  But I'll take your advice into account.   The only tongs I own came from Ken's Quick Tongs.  I was told to forge them and put them in water, so what do I know????

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You make the working end of the tongs fit the stock your working with.

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Yes, Glenn, I know that.  Just can't make the ends of my tongs fit the stock without having something to hold the tongs with.  Burned myself trying to do it too many times already.

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Chris, I don't know exactly what your situation is regarding "having something to hold the tongs with".  If you have the reins drawn out, the rivet in place and the jaws are large enough to shape your object workpiece, all you have to do is heat the jaws and either hammer in the shape or somehow form the jaws to fit.  You don't need to hold the tongs with something else to shape the jaws.  Does that make sense?

You can make the Dempsey twist type tongs like Glenn showed (BP001) and use stock wide enough on the jaw end to form around your large stock.  BTW, sucker rod makes great tongs, but is hard to forge by hand.  Best to use mild steel (sometimes referred to as A-36) and then there is no risk to quenching when hot.

Good luck on your tongs and don't get frustrated.  Tong making for a beginner is usually not recommended.

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You can always weld extensions to the reins and or weld extensions to the working end to the ends of the tongs.  They do not have to look pretty, they just have to work.  Weld means attach, as in electric weld or even bolt extensions on.

If you have an electric welder, just weld metal to the stock and forget the tongs altogether.

 

If you think of the tombstone welder as just a hot melt glue gun for metal, it makes things a whole lot simpler.  

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I'm tired tonight and guess I'm just not getting across what my problem is.  That's okay.  Not going to bother with it.  I'll keep truckin' tomorrow and see what I end up with.  Thanks for the suggestions.

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Chris, hang with us.  There is a type of tong made from rod (for reins) and several shapes of bar stock such as triangles, rhombus shape, trapezoids, etc. to form the boss and jaws.  All welded together.  I thought I had a better picture of how they are made, but this will have to suffice for now.  Just zoom in closely and you can see how the various shapes were welded together to form the tongs.  You could make the jaws cut from tubing or angle iron to fit your work like bolt jaw tongs.

 

 

100_4099 (Small).JPG

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I've seen those before, Arkie.  One would have to know how to weld to make them, wouldn't they?  :D  I couldn't even keep rebar welded to my tong-blank steel today.........so I'm no weldor.  I'll get these tongs made.  I'm a stubborn old coot and don't give up easily.  I'm going to turn off my computer now and quit worrying about it.  I'll git-er-done tomorrow.

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Practice welding on scrap metal first.  

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This is my favourite video on making tongs. I must have watched it 30 times.

3 different methods- and each time he uses the last set of tongs to make the next ones.

The guy has the bare minimum of tools- a simple stake anvil, hammer, punch, and material. Note that he has no tongs to hold the first tongs.

You dont need tongs to make tongs. As he does in the video- start making a light-duty set from a long piece of material.... then use the light duty set to draw out the reins on a heavier set.... and so on.

I personally love the middle style, "viking style". Less worrying about offsetting the boss etc... and they look cool.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Chris C said:

Just can't make the ends of my tongs fit the stock without having something to hold the tongs with.

I don't know if this is what you mean, but I have heated up the bits of my tongs and picked up what stock I wanted to holding and forged the jaws around the stock. If you're talking about the reigns have you tried using a hold down?

Pnut

Edited by pnut
posted from an email notification so haven't had a chance to read entire thread.

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Chris, not getting it all right the first time is part of the learning curve. Persistance is how you get good. It's good to set it all down when you get tired and pick it up the next day with a fresh mind. 

Slow down and think about what you are going to do then once you have a plan, try it. If it isn't going right take a break to figure out why. 

There is a wealth of knowledge online. There are instructional videos on welding And forging. If your weld didn't hold, maybe look up a few videos to see if you could improve on how to do it. 

I really enjoyed TechnicusJoe's (on youtube) on how to make tongs. There are many others as well. In the end they just need to function. You can make more after and improve. 

If you have the time it's well worth using it to practice and improve. You'll get it. :)

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Glenn, I have been practicing on scrap metal.  Only problem is I don't know whether I'm penetrating enough......or too much.  When I was making my hammer and tong rack, I had trouble penetrating too much............and when I tried to weld the rebar to the piece of material I wanted to make a tong out of, the penetration wasn't deep enough.   Haven't yet figured how to tell if penetration is adequate without destroying what I'm trying to weld to find out!

Thanks, John.  I've watched him do a lot of stuff, but I missed this video.  He's always fascinated me at his simplistic way of creating.

pnut, that's exactly what I'm trying to do...............only the reigns on the tong I'm trying to reshape are so hot they burn through my gloves.  Guess I need to get the reigns out of the "line of fire" (Dragon breath) of my forge.  I'll try that today.

Thanks, Das.  I'm working on it.  Sat up last night until past midnight watching Blacksmith "Porn", picking up little tips and tricks.  (my eyes are kind of bloodshot this morning) :lol:I believe I've watched every video Joey has posted...........probably 3 or more times...........especially the ones that interest me.  He's one of my favorite Youtube blacksmiths to watch.

I've a whole lot to learn.  At least I'm smart enough to realize that.  I've never had a problem I couldn't lick.  It just takes me longer for some than others. :D

"ONWARD AND UPWARD"

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22 minutes ago, Chris C said:

Guess I need to get the reigns out of the "line of fire" (Dragon breath) of my forge. 

Make a shield to deflect the dragon's breath away from the stock being heated.  A 45 degree angle will move the dragon breath up and out of the way as it exits the forge.  

When you weld, fill the V with weld.  Full penetration is preferred whether for thin tin sheet metal or for heavy metal plate. This means adjusting the amps, rods, and system for each project.  The amount of heat and welding rod added will vary with each project. Preheating sometimes makes a large difference in the weld lays down.

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I'm not a welder so I can't help you there. I try to forge longer stock as much as I can as I dislike using tongs when I don't have to. One less thing between me and the steel and hammer. When it's a piece I'm going to hold with my hand, I place it at angle in the mouth of the forge so it's not so directly in the line of fire. If it starts getting too hot, I'll grab it with a pair of tongs at the hot end and quench the end I want to hold. If the hot end cools off too much, I just heat it back it up, but the far end will take a few times before it gets too hot again. Wash, rinse, repeat :)

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