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Bolt Jaw Tongs Demo (Plus a 1/2" Square or Round Challenge)


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Howdy everyone. I made a video demonstrating one of the ways I forge bolt jaw tongs. The video is quite long. The first drop tong weld is almost painfully so. I left it in so you can see things don't always go as planned. Fair warning, 39:00-49:30 is almost entirely me fumbling around trying to get my first weld to stick.

That being said, I hope the process and discussion will be still be helpful to those who are interested. If I get a chance I'll edit the description with some timestamps of what's being done when. That should make it a little easier to navigate.


On to the challenge! I would like you folks to make something out of either 1/2" square or 1/2" round stock. It can be one or multiple bars of any length you choose. As long as you're using 1/2" stock to start the world is your oyster.

Post a picture of your finished piece in this thread and on Monday, January 17th I'll pick my favorite one and send you the tongs I made in the video. This should give the folks who are only able to light the forge on weekends some time to experiment. Shipping is on me (continental US only).

Bonus points for creativity!

This is purposefully a very open ended challenge. I'm interested to see what you guys come up with.

If you already have a rack full of tongs in your shop and/or have the means to easily forge out a pair yourself, I still encourage you to participate in the challenge. However, if you could indicate in your post that you just did it for fun that would be much appreciated. If possible I would prefer to send these out to someone who needs them.

Hopefully this gives some of you an excuse to get out to the shop!


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I gave it a go! I decided to try making a small hook rack for keys from a single piece of 1/2" round. It was pretty fiddly at times and there are definitely some things I would do differently if I made another one, but I wanted to try something totally new to me for the contest.


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Chelonian, i like that. 

So here is my offering. A swivel hook. The bottom hook is much more round than the pic, and i wish i would have made a bit smaller. The shoulder on the top hook is the 1/2 square bar i started with. 

I have plenty of tongs and can make my own when need be, so please pass them on to someone who needs them. 


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Chelonian, very cool. I like that. Does the "tail", for lack of a better term, sit flat against the wall? It almost looks slightly conical from the picture, but it may just be the bevel and my early morning eyes. Either way, nice use of material there.

BillyBones, nice swivel hook. I haven't tried to make one of those yet, but I'll have to give it a go. I remember watching one being made in the chainmaker video JHCC shared I little while ago. That one was a little different, more of a swivel than a hook, but same idea. It's funny how things always end up looking different in pictures.

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Through the magic of editing I've replaced the long version of the video with a heavily edited one. The full version with more discussion is still available if you prefer that format. However, I feel most of the people here would prefer 20 minutes rather than 1:20:00.

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Lary, very nice trivet. I think it was a good choice to tack weld them together. Some things look best with rivets, some with collars, others with welds. I think you made the right choice here.

Thanks Jennifer. Not the cleanest pair of tongs I've ever made, but they work well.


A quick reminder: Just under 2 weeks remaining! Time flies.

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Thank you Frazer. I'm looking forward to more participation on this thread.  Maybe I should call it non-traditional methods. Still struggling to understand the lines drawn between traditional and everything else. 

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I tend to avoid that word :rolleyes:

Everyone's perception of it is different. It's sort of like Beetlejuice. If you say it too many times, people start popping up out of the woodwork offering definitions and corrections on your having said it.

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Hello all! Long time lurker, first time poster. I guess I should go do an intro post. For now, here’s my entry made from 1/2” round:


Great video, Frazer! I’m just starting to try making tongs and detailed videos like yours are very helpful. The chapters in the long version make it easy to go back to re-watch specific steps. 

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Inbetween a forge spoon and a long serving spoon. This is out of 1/2" square. Upset at the ends for the mass. Forge spoon on the left and 1/2" square spoon in between. Around 21" long. I think it could benefit from one more forge session for some clean up and straightening. 





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