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Tong making advice

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Hello everyone,


First post here, just getting into the furnace/melting/casting hobby and I'm excited to start.  I've been doing a ton of research on the correct PPE, refractory coating practices, etc.  Baby steps. I'm learning a ton already just lurking and reading around, and I have a question:

I already purchased a couple tongs from ProCast, specifically some charging tongs and vertical lift tongs. 

The vertical tongs are this style: 


After using them a few times I'm growing concerned that they are not going to be adequate for use in my top loading Devil Forge because of how wide you have to open them in order to slide the larger end under the crucible to support them, which bumps against the refractory and scrapes.  Unless I simply need to use smaller crucibles, but I still would like to use my bigger #6 and #8 from time to time and I am definitely not comfortable using lip gripping tongs on those.

I want to make a pair of tongs this weekend but as I don't have access to a welder, I will need to bolt the grip ends on.  Are there any precautions or advice I should take as to type of bolt (ie don't use galvanized) or materials to avoid?  The last thing I want is for tongs to fail on me sticking them into the furnace.


(side anecdote, in the zinc safety forum I read an offhand comment from someone about plastic bottles of HCl slowly leaking gas.  I happen to have a bottle of HCl that I store near some steel cans of other materials in the garage, and I started noticing them rusting quickly.  As I live in Florida where it is extremely humid, I initially wrote it off to the humidity and cleaned off the rust and oiled them as I have to with all my tools down here.  It still bothered me for some reason that it seemed to be getting a little too rusty too quickly, and after reading that comment I was thunderstruck.  Moved it somewhere safer out of exposure.  You learn something new every day!)

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Welcome aboard Samuel, glad to have you.

Didn't you make sure the dimensions of the tongs would clear your melter before ordering them? Tsk tsk, pretty cheap lesson for casting.

No need for a welder to make similar if smaller lift tongs, using an appropriate dia. round stock say 5/16" hot rolled round. Bend it in half, form the large spring area at the top. A few inches from one end bend the stock into a hairpin, a couple inches from the bend bend it open 90*, cut the free stock an equal distance from the 90. Do the same to the other side but higher so it will hold the flask against the shank of the first half.

Curve the holds so the openings are facing. One higher than the other.

Plastic jugs of acid and other dangerous chemicals should have their own storage place OUTSIED the general shop area. I keep my acids in a plastic tote with a LITTLE sheetrock to act as an absorbent and neutralizer. When I worked in the materials lab one of the chemists put the sulfuric acid in the lab grade glass bottle with double seals, in the wrong cabinet and it ruined a couple thousand $ worth of instruments over 1 weekend. He didn't want to have to carry it all the way outside to the acid cabinet and caught a royal ration for it. 

Also as a result everybody in the lab got to watch several movies and listen to instructors regarding the safe handling and storage of chemicals. I did coarse and fine soils gradations, the most dangerous chemicals I handled were: Sodium Laurel Sulfate and the Sodium Sulfate bath. 

So, YES acid fumes WILL escape the jugs, even the expensive ones and rust everything around. Keep them in a better place or get used to it.

Frosty The Lucky.


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I ended up making some tongs out of three pieces of flat bar stock and some stainless (not zinc/galvanized) hardware.  They're not particularly pretty but I am very pleased with how they turned out for my first attempt.  They support my #8 crucible very well with zero give, fit in the furnace perfectly and are very sturdy.  Thanks for the advice!

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PUNKIN CHUNKIN!:D I sure hope they compete this year. I'll have to check and see if the local chunk is happening. 

I LOVE punkin chunkin a great way to clear the fields of pumpkins you can't sell. Heck, they breed special chunkin punkins, round and thick skinned. 

Frosty The Lucky.

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