Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Prices of Blacksmithing Tools Still on the Rise?


Recommended Posts

I never buy new Blacksmithing tools anymore, but this evening I puttered around on a popular online smithing supply store looking for a hammer to give to a friend, and I was astonished at the prices for tongs.  $100-$180 per pair depending on the style.  Has there been a widespread increase in price over the last couple years or a bunch of bored people getting into smithing due to covid lockdown?

Link to post
Share on other sites

C-1, I agree with Kexel...you are looking at the wrong place(s).  There are probably half a dozen vendors with quality tongs for the price range Kexel mentioned.  Same goes for store-bought hammers: retail, flea markets and yard sales.

Fortunately, store-bought smithing tools have not seen the price runups like with anvils.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For those kinds of prices you could spend a bit of time online studying "how-to", buy a cheap hammer, build a cheap forge, chunk of steel, and some steel stock and make a punch then forge your own. Might take a few tries to get right ,and going back to relearn after a failure or two, but well worth it in my opinion lol. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Never understood why folks needed high priced stuff to get started in a hobby where you can pretty much make everything.  I did once spend US$12 for a pair of tongs; but my most used pair is a se of short rein, short bit farrier's tongs I paid $1.50 for---they hold 1/4" which is my common tang thickness when working on a blade.

You need the SKILLS not fancy tools and you can't buy skills you have to earn them!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to be very slightly contrarian here, just enough to observe that if you're going to spend extra money buying new when you're just starting out, tongs are the place to do it. Most hammers will serve for smithing, a chunk of steel or even a rock will work for an anvil, and you can build a fire in a hole in the ground, but if you can't securely hold your workpiece, you're wasting your time. There really isn't a good substitute for quality tongs, and I'd rather see someone invest in a good pair or two right off the bat than give up in frustration because they can't find good tongs cheap at their local flea market.

Link to post
Share on other sites

But "high quality" does not necessarily mean "high price".  Be wary of any " big name"  items that have a much higher price because of the name.  Previous this was generally seen in Farrier's tools where a BNF's name on a tool might double its price.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think JHCC is right, when is started I frustratingly tried to make my own tongs without tongs, after buying a single pair of wolf jaw tongs I have used those to make around 10 pairs of new tongs for other stock sizes. But like Thomas says, they don't have to be the most expensive tongs around, mine were only 30 euros as I bought the cheapest I could find new. 

If they break, you can always make a new  pair yourself!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that the prices have gone up recently. I just looked at xxxxxx hammers and I could be wrong but I remember them being a somewhat economical choice. Unless I have them confused with another brand their prices have shot through the roof. 

Pnut

Link to post
Share on other sites

Supply and demand is the basis of the free market. 

I don't pay for a name or rust. Sure, some names ARE highest quality but they're worth it because of the quality, not the name. Vintage, antique and rust don't increase the value no matter what they do to the price. Price and value are two different things.

I agree of all the hand tools tongs are probably the most important to the beginner I know I use mine all the time. I have a few pair of EDG (Every Day Gripper / grabber, Yes, I just made that up :)) tongs, they live on my ready rack on the forge. One aspect I accidentally designed into the Forge "tong" rack is it holds the bits almost in the dragon's breath. Believe me you aren't going to pick one up by reaching into the dragon's breath, it makes you reach down and take hold of one of the reins and you don't get burned. 

Hammers are everywhere, I almost never see a yard, garage, etc. sale that doesn't have hammers on the table. Any smooth face around 2lbs. is perfect. There is NO rule about needing a cross pein, they're not even "traditionally" blacksmithing hammers, they're originally made to roll edges over a lip. Visualize a sheet steel "manhole" cover over a steel pipe manhole. Or think of a pizza pan shape. The "traditional" blacksmith hammer is a ball pein. I kind of suspect the modern rounding hammer is the ball pein's offspring.

An anvil is easy, just a heavy hard thing a smooth flat surface is  nice but you can get away without. I've used boulders a couple times and you can planish on one but you have to select a spot. I've used cobbles for hammers too, same story.

Forge? A fire with forced air and you've got your forge, even a prevailing breeze and a little sheet metal or creatively stacked rock, funnel is all that's necessary for an air blast. You don't need a: hand cranked or electric or heck any blower. Bellows are easy, an old pillow case, paper bag or cardboard box makes a fine bellows. If you have some duct tape you're stylin high and pretty. 

But tongs, until you've developed some skill at the anvil tongs are tough to make so yeah. You aren't wasting money buying tongs until you learn to make them yourself but holy MOLY don't spend $100+ per pair! :o Not even if Micky Thompson sells them triple chrome plated! 

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is an Islamic legend that Allah gave the first pair of tongs to the first smith because you can use anything as a hammer or anvil you need a pair of tongs to make a pair of tongs.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lest we forget. Even tho I've never used them, vise grips work pretty well for a first set of tongs. In my area antique prices are still around $10-$15 a pair. I think the best advice for a new guy is get a cheap pair of tongs and understand that tongs work by parallel closure. When your tongs are holding your stock, the jaws are parallel. With a little heat, some sort of anvil, and a hammer, anyone can set their tongs. 

This is the basic. But, anything beyond this works too depending on your pocketbook, or how you want to spend your time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In our day and age you don't necessarily need a pair of tongs to make a pair of tongs. It helps but you can deffinately get by without. Then, your pair of tongs can help you make another pair of tongs. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, George N. M. said:

There is an Islamic legend that Allah gave the first pair of tongs to the first smith because you can use anything as a hammer or anvil you need a pair of tongs to make a pair of tongs.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

I never heard about that one .

That is new to me.

There is some saying that prophet  king David  use to do blacksmithing , but he didnt need to heat metal to work it, he worked  it cold.

He had that "power"

Link to post
Share on other sites

My general take is that I buy any non-broken tongs at US$5 and lower.  Well made tongs I can actually use as is: up to $12.   Shoot I bought a set of used Titanium tongs at Quad-State on year for $10.   I like light "springy" tongs  and shorter reins for fine work.  I'm getting too old to use a heavy clunky "farmer tongs" that were designed to have someone holding and someone else hammering.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Rojo Pedro said:

Kens tongs saved me a bunch of time as a beginner 

Yeah, me too. I made a couple pairs of quick tongs from the BP section here but I was definitely satisfied with the bundle of tongs I got from ken's. It worked out to just over ten bucks a pair iirc. 

Pnut

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...