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I Forge Iron

UPDATE: First Pair of Tongs

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That's a great effort. I would say that most people's first efforts never see the rivet stage let alone being used. Don't be afraid to heat them and set them up for your current jobs so they work properly. That is one of the best things about your own tongs, you are not afraid to change them.

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I made these because I saw no reason to pay for something that I could make. When I bought my anvil, the guy was trying to sell me all sorts of crud. I politely told him that I could make a pair of tongs, he said, (quite correctly) that you need a pair to make a pair. I told him that that was what god invented vise grips for and that I did not want to purchase them, thank you.



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Just for the badness of it I'll chuck a pebble in the water.......

I'm afraid your man was WRONG. There IS a way to make a pair of tongs without using any tongs, or tool that does the same job as tongs. I know more that one way in fact but for fun lets see how many ideas folks who haven't made many tongs come up with. Use some modeling clay to try out ideas.

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Vice grips are possibly the worst known substitute for tongs; it is impossible to feel whether the metal is slipping until its too late, they are too short and you can't easily change the position of the grip. Making tongs is a wise safety measure and it's good practice.

No arguments here. If you search the forum for threads on injuries or burns you will find at least one poor soul who didn't know that untill it was too late. I've been using a small pair of pliers with the teeth ground off and a large set with the teeth ground off and the tip rounded for scrolling. They work great. I like how short they are. I hate long tongs. They're too heavy and I don't like how far I have to be away from the anvil. Needless to say I have a kevlar glove and an apron to keep the heat and scale off.

That was my point. Do not try and sell me stuff that I do not need or can make myself.

Yeah!!!!...... Unless you try to sell it to me for a really good price! :mad:
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I took a pair of vice grips and welded a nice long handle on it. They actually work very well for heating stuff up with a torch and they are rock solid! Problem is vice grips are only great for localized heat. You go and put them in a forge and the first thing to always go is the dinky little spring. Once the spring goes the never hold right. Now if you could figure out a clamping style without the spring that held as well as vice grips that would be something. I've used tong clips and though they hold really well I don't think they could ever hold as good as vice grips. Vice grips also have those sharp teeth though and that usually means marred work unless you tend on cutting that part off or hammering it. So in short vice grips have their time and place in hot localized work but not much use in forging.

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Hi all

Couple of tips on tongs.
-Make the reins thicker towards the eyes not thinner, thats where they will break first, taper the reins more as you get away from the jaws.
-Right handed tongs look better than left handed tongs, right handed tongs are when they are laid flat the top rein goes to your right hand.
-The other place most tongs break is where the jaw joins to the eye, try to have smooth radii on all these joining fillets.
-Set your reins parallel to grip the stock you are working, don't have the reins set pointing in or out.
-If you are going to use tongs to forge under a powerhammer use a link to hold the reins together, many a smith has got the scar running from his mouth upwards to his eye. Thats caused by the tongs flying up and hitting the face when the job has come out of the tongs and they have flicked up. I missed and got my eye brow 40 stiches (20 internal 20 external) depressed fracture of the skull.
-Always inspect your tongs before use for cracks and other defects.
-Not a criticisim but an observation, the tongs shown have the reins leaving the eye on the same side as the jaw, they should be offset.
-Good work they are about 500% better than my 1st attempt made with my little brother swing a sledge in the back shed at home during my school years.
-As you progress hang onto them, it is good to be able to look back and say "these were my first pair that I made", unfortunately I don't still have my first pair.
Thats' a hammer not a toy, hit it don't play with it!

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