Jump to content
I Forge Iron

First attempt, too thin, second attempt makes me wish I had a power hammer...


Recommended Posts

I have a bunch of 5/16 square stock and my first attempt at tongs, turns out to be a bit too light weight to work well. 

So I had a bunch of 1x 3/4(or possibly 7/8") that I thought I would try to make tongs with. Granted, I don't have a good set of tongs to hold this stuff. Half way though, I stuck the tongs I did have into the forge, and reshaped their jaws to hold this better. But still not optimal. 

Anyway, after lots of banging, I have 2 ugly sides. The bosses are too thick by double, and the jaws are still thick enough that I can do anything I want with them. So I cooled the heads, and flipped around to try and draw the reins out... Wow, what a hateful task. :) I will get there, I think, but wow I just had to stop for the night and walk away. 

And since I am a multitasker... I had a set of partially completed V-bit tongs from Ken's that didn't move well, nor fit any specific size. I reset them to move, and hold 1/2" square, which I have a bunch of 1-1/2" pieces that I have been considering "coupons" but they were impossible to hold with my other tongs. 

Here are my old rusted twisted $1 thriftstore tongs that I have been depending on. 

After I complete these ones from the 1x3/4 I will probably not try to make tongs from that again. At least not where I have to draw the reins down. 

I do have some 1/2 and 5/8 round stock to try next time. I have 3/8 but that seems to be likely as bad as the 5/16. I also have a bunch of 1"x3/8 or perhaps 5/16 which I think I can get some decent tongs... But first things first, and need to finish the ugly ones :)






Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Morning,

To run, First you must walk. Connect with the Blacksmith group in your area and listen to their answers, You don't NEED a Power Hammer, you NEED to learn to use what you have. A Power Hammer makes a bigger mess, quicker. Slow down and pay attention to the suggestions. You Learn more, with your mouth closed and your ears and eyes OPEN.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

What George said. It's always tempting to forge things from whatever size you have laying around, but starting with material closer to the desired finish saves a ton of work.

I wholeheartedly agree that it would be easier to use minimal shaping with thinner stock, forge the rein of the tongs and weld them together. 5/16" might be a little light though for general purpose forging. Good luck. Tongs were easy for me to understand, hard for me to learn.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a fairly easy way to make tongs.  I'm just giving measurements for example.  Start with a 1/4" x 1 1/4" bar.  Measure back on one side about 2" and mark it with a file.  Mark the other side of the bar back about 3 1/2".  Heat the bar and cut about 2/3 of the way through with a hot cut or chisel at the first mark.  If you have an asymmetric cutter cut with the straight side away from the end of the bar.  Do the same on the opposite side at the 2d mark.  With and aysmmetric cutter have the flat side of the cutter towards the end of the bar.  Twist the area between the end of the bar and the first mark/cut 90 degrees.  Twist at the 2d mark/cut 90 degrees in the opposite direction.  The area between the end of the bar and the first mark/cut is the jaw.  The area between the marks/cuts is the bolster/hinge area.  The area behind the 2d mark/cut is the rein/handle.  Refine from there and repeat for the other side of the tongs.

"By hammer and hand all arts do stand."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost all of my tongs have welded on reigns. Not only is it easier to make just the jaws, if you go with forge welding it is good practice at forge welding. 

One thing i do notice is that it seems that you have missed the idea of the boss. It does not bend but is set down from the jaw. Look at the last pic of the flat jaw tongs, see how the top of the boss runs even from the jaw well past the rivet, then the bottom does the same with reigns. 

Keep at it though, it took me a long time to get tong making down and they are still usually ugly but they work and that is all that matters.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't made a set of tongs in a long time, I'm pretty well set but the stock I much prefer is 5/16" wire dia. coil spring. One of the guys in the club gets worn "potato chain" dropped off all the time and it makes excellent tongs being around a 1045 steel. Isolate the bit section, then isolate the bolster, cut the reins to length. Forge the bits, bolster, etc. holding it by the reins so you don't need tongs at all. 

Another slick trick was to cut double the necessary length of stock and draw the reins first, then cut the halves apart and forge the bits and reins. 

Remember the #1 rule of forging tongs. "MAKE BOTH SIDES EXACTLY THE SAME! There is no left and right half both halves are the same. One is bit up and one bit down when you rivet, bolt, whatever them together. 

When you are isolating the bit and bolster you rotate the stock counter clockwise for right handed tongs! Right handed tongs will naturally open when you relax the grip of your left hand. Say HUH?:huh: Right hand tongs go in your left hand? Ayup, the designation refers to the user's handedness, being right handed I hold stock and tongs in my left hand. A right handed person uses tongs in their left hand. It's all part of a millennia old jargon.

Frosty The Lucky.

Link to comment
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.

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...