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Forge question ?


C Craft
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This may be a dumb question but, like they always say the only dumb question is the one you didn't ask; so here goes!

I am about to fire up my forge for the first time and even though I have done some rough foring on some tools and brackets using a long handled set of pliers, I am now ready to invest in a good set of tongs, to do my knife forgeing!

Out of the little experience I have had forging, comes this first question.

 

1. If you have a flat bottom in a forge how to you go about picking up the piece you are forging?

I remember it very hard to pickup the material with the long handled pliers that I used in my first foring experience, as you can't get the bottom jaw under it! Now I realize the design of the tongs will allow me to get a better angle at the pick up but if you cant slide under the material, you will chase the piece or at the very least struggle with the picking up of the material!

 

2. Do you lay your material on a raised piece on the floor of the forge?

 

3. Wouldn't that cause it too warp?

 

4. I have thought about taking the fire brick that I am using and cutting a gouge in it for the tongs to slide under my material. It that a plausible idea? My thought on that is the brick will break at the point of the gouge, since the fire brick I am using is the 1/2 tickness brick.

 

5. Last question if you could have only one kind of tongs / which one would be best for a beginner, what would you choose?

Please give me links to the afore mentioned tongs instead of just giving me names, that way I will know for sure what you are refering too, some names refeer to multiple tongs.

I know I could make my own and may do just that later. For now though I want buy my first set of tongs to allow me to forge my own later, if that is what I decide to do when I have a little more experince forging. I don't mind paying good money for a quality set of tongs but I want to buy something that is the best tool for the job!

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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I don't think there is the "One Tong TO Rule Them" tong :lol: . There are lots of tong designs, all of which have their uses. As for a pick up tong, I like some kind of long handled pointy nosed tong, like a big pair of needle nosed pliers. But another handy tool is a hook/rake, something you can use to drag a piece of stock out to the mouth of the forge. Could you put another piece of firebrick in your forge, that would give you a little lip to slide under.

 

I've got three sizes of these

 

Duckbill tongs

 

and I use them a lot for holding wide stock, plus some kind of box jaw and a V bit tong. Best of all is working with a piece of stock long enough not to need tongs. It's pretty much a matter finding tool that work for you.

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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1. If you have a flat bottom in a forge how to you go about picking up the piece you are forging?

I remember it very hard to pickup the material with the long handled pliers that I used in my first foring experience, as you can't get the bottom jaw under it! Now I realize the design of the tongs will allow me to get a better angle at the pick up but if you cant slide under the material, you will chase the piece or at the very least struggle with the picking up of the material!

 

2. Do you lay your material on a raised piece on the floor of the forge?

 

3. Wouldn't that cause it too warp?

 

4. I have thought about taking the fire brick that I am using and cutting a gouge in it for the tongs to slide under my material. It that a plausible idea? My thought on that is the brick will break at the point of the gouge, since the fire brick I am using is the 1/2 tickness brick.

 

5. Last question if you could have only one kind of tongs / which one would be best for a beginner, what would you choose?

 

You got over being afraid of asking, that's the best start.

1. Pickup tongs are very nice for getting things out of a deep fire, or back in again. Then use your grip tongs for working the material. You won't lose that much heat unless you fiddle around and you'll develop an effective routine with the tools you have. Grabbing things where you can get a grip is what works.

2. Using a pedestal is a very good idea. They are replaceable and give a spot for the material to rest especially when welding so the excess flux will drain away from the material. Not all flux is knocked off a billet when welding and driving that glass into a billet is just as bad as driving scale in there.

3. It might if the piece is very thin and could not support itself. Adjust the size of the pedestal.

4. That's a creative alternative. But how about two thin strips of brick with a tong jaw sized slot between them?

5. As has been said, there is no one tong that will do everything. If you can't afford to buy them, learn to make the ones to fit the jobs you are requiring of them. If you attended a tong making class that would be the best money spent over your life as a smith.

 

Lots of good pictures here: http://www.blacksmithsdepot.com/Templates/...ongs_and_Pliers

There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

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Maybe you can visit a shop or attend a hammerin to get a feel for the type of tongs that work best for you, but careful trying to get one set to do it all. If you have a welder, you could use a scrap rebar handle and just leave a little extra to cut off when you're done.

 

Have good control of the hot stuff, Craig

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Many folks have weighed in with tong preferences and techniques and their advice is sound. I personally don't do too much forging while holding tongs. I weld 1/2" rebar to the piece I'm working on and use that as a handle to insert and remove with piece from the forge. I'm sure some view it as "cheating" but it has certainly worked well for me

Have you ever thought about the life of steel? It's interesting to think that you can control the fate of a piece of metal.

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I Keep my steel bar long as long as I can but there does come a time when I have to cut the bar and forge out the tang. Also, the bar will eventually get too short to hold with a gloved hand. My favorites are probably V-jawed tongs, most makers have a model or two in that shape. Whatever you start out with, you will end up with several in different sizes and configuration.

 

Doug Lester

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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I want to thank evryone for their insight and info on this subject! I have been doing totaly reduction knives to this point, so forging is new to me.

Is that correct? The plural of forge wouldbe forgeing or forging, guess I should have really payed more attentiond in English class all those years ago! :lol:

 

I can see already that there is no one set of tongs, that is what you will use all the time, but like many newbs I am on a budget. So guess I should have said for starting out which would be the best first one tong to buy! Sometimes I guess I tend to over think these things! :lol: Thanks again evreyone.

Edited by CC Knives

C Craft Customs ~~~ With every custom knife I build I try to accomplish three things. I want that knife to look so good you just have to pick it up, feel so good in your hand you can't wait to try it, and once you use it, you never want to put it down ! If I capture those three factors in each knife I build, I am assured the knife will become a piece that is used and treasured by its owner! ~~~ C Craft

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For blades, I like V-jawed tongs. However, for most general blacksmithing applications, I find I prefer wolf-jaws to just about anything else, unless the work is in need of a very specific set of tongs. You can get pictures of both - as well as many other types- HERE.

MacGyver is my patron saint.

 

"There's nothing in the universe cold steel won't cut." -Conan of Cimmeria-

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English is not required to do smithing ..... but tongs are..... I started out using visegrips.... they will get you started .... I have made all my own tongs since then but then the important thing for me at the time was to try hitting some of that hot steel....

there is a time for thinking and a time for doing.... sounds like you have done enough thinking to get started on the doing...Before you spend money on tongs spend it on a workshop.... answers to thousands of your questions will be instantly apparent and a thousand new ones arise.... And I know for a fact that learning from making a mistake is the best way to learn.... no two of us does things the exact same way so there is lots of room for ways of getting from here the there....

dick

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When you get ready to make yourself a pair of tongs, these ones: Dick Nietfeld Tong Tutorial, are GREAT! Sorry to shout but, they are that good. I use these primarily for holding small stock (like the tangs of knives), to pickup hot stuff I've dropped that no other pair of tongs can grip, and also to move stock around in the forge until I can grab it with another pair of tongs. These operations are pretty much the bulk of what I do and without this pair of tongs I probably could not work effectively. Be sure to check out the rest of Dicks website, lots of good stuff on there.

 

~Bruce~

“All work is empty save when there is love, for work is love made visible.” Kahlil Gibran

"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them." - Alfred Adler

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