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Sam Salvati

Tong Making tutorial

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At the risk of putting myself out of some business, here is a demo on how I make tongs,I get better with every pair too. I try and try everytime to make tongs as good as Grant made, he really set the bar high. Tongs should be light yet tough springy yet strong gripping. I make them from mild steel, I start with 1" wide by 3/8" thick by 8" long, this gives me enough for a good bolt tong with about 16" reigns, for pickup or pincer tongs I start with a 7" piece cause you don't need so much for the jaws.
My trusty Anyang:
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Starting stock:
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Here is an illustration of the shouldering I will do, I layout measurements, 1" square area for the actually part that grips the metal, then 1 1/2" for forging into the jaw neck, then another 1" square area for the rivet area then shoulder off and draw the reigns.
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I dimple the steel in the locations I need, I can see this dimple while the steel is hot but it does not effect the finished forging, like a hot cut mark or a center punch mark would.
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Here is my offset shoulder tool, it is made from 1" wide by 5/8" thick A36, which I water quenched no temper. In my opinion and experience this makes an excellent tool for under the powerhammer, cheap too :D. Being quenched mild steel it is tougher then regular mild steel, yet still softer then your dies therefore the tool will wear out before your dies, it's easier and quicker to forge one of these out again instead of regrinding your powerhammer dies. As long as your steel is hot the tool won't really wear either.
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Now you can work two ways under the dies, a mute point if you have nice big dies like on a saymak or the bigger anyang, but my dies are 1 1/2" by 3", I am working the wrong way here for this tool the steel should be along the length of the dies and the tool perpendicular.
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And this is the first heat:
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you can see what the tool does here, you have to work it regular, forging the width thinner of course bulges the thickness, so I do a little bit over the tool then under the dies to squish it back, then over the tool then under the dies.
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Marking the stock with the dimples in the same spots, starting with the same diameter stock, and careful forging practice should yeild very close identical parts:
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Hey Sam, when you say you use mild for the tongs, do you mean 1018? Or are you using A36 like for your hammer tooling? I've been told off-hand that A36 isn't that appropriate for tongs, which is why I'm asking, but 1018 and the like are getting harder to find.

 

Cheers!

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Next we do it all over again for the other shoulder. Care must be taken not to take that big of a bit with the shoulder tool, or when you move down the bar it could cause a cold shut, see here I have stepped my way into the shoulder. You could also use a triangle tool to set these shoulders.
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here we go:
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With the same heat used to do the second shoulder, start to draw the reigns.
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future Jaw area:
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If you have different lengths, there is a little wiggle room in the jaw area if you have slightly different length in each jaw, just draw a touch more on the short one or upset the long one. pretty close here:
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and draw the reigns:

 

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Hey Sam, when you say you use mild for the tongs, do you mean 1018? Or are you using A36 like for your hammer tooling? I've been told off-hand that A36 isn't that appropriate for tongs, which is why I'm asking, but 1018 and the like are getting harder to find.

 

Cheers!

 

Javan, I use A36 not 1018. in my opinion it's awesome, water quench to cool them when they get too hot I have never had a problem.

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you know what Sam...thank you...this is great tutorial, and brave to show the world all ur methods of making something that you also try to market and make a bit of money doing...i commend you for that, and im sure ur good deed will come back to you in some form or another...

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Bust out the hot chisel and hammer, or you could use a hacksaw or you could use a bandsaw to cut a slit in the jaw area. Take care to keep it centered and go slow.
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A light line at first to make sure you are on center:
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then slit away
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use the corner of the anvil to open up the slit
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bend the jaws over in the vise, here it is halfway done. I do it so that the jaw bends back almost 90, then bend it up so the jaw is parallel with the reign but offset.
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I really need to make a bending jig for this, A hossfeld type bender I think would be perfect. But not too bad:

 

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Gotcha. I've used it sucessfully also, but it was one of the Kaynes that told me about A36 not being ideal, one day when I was up there buying some of Grant's tong. Might be he was just encouraging business however. Just checked, and the OCP tongs are apparently made from 1045?

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I did not get pictures of drilling the hole (too much distortion when punching, then you have to size the hole, I just drill), but use good layout techniques and go carefully to center your hole. For these I use a 3/8" rivet, with a hole drilled in the tongs 1/32 over 3/8", again in my opinion this makes for a nice tight rivet joint that moves freely. In this size hole a 3/8" rivet actually swells in diameter into the hole as well as heading over. I am bummed I didn't get pictures of this as the way I do it doesn't require making a rivet IE heading 3/8" round then inserting then riveting. I just stick it in hot then bang away (yar;)) under the dies which heads both sides and gives me a nice head on both sides. This will be TIGHT, a hot riveted joint is steam tight it is amazing. Heat up the rivet and jaw area next to do two things, one is loosen the rivet which allows you to two fit the tongs to the stock you wish them to hold. I do this by grabbing (awkwardly) the stock I wish the tongs to hold (while the tongs are hot) then clamping this in the vice. I always use square stock as square stock fit jaws will hold round and square, whereas round fit jaws won't hold square very well.

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Bada bing, wire wheel/brush them and oil em up they are ready to go:
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Another thing I forgot to mention, there is such a thing as left hand and right hand tongs, you will notice one of each in this photo.
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Can anyone tell me why each is a left hand and right hand?

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Gotcha. I've used it sucessfully also, but it was one of the Kaynes that told me about A36 not being ideal, one day when I was up there buying some of Grant's tong. Might be he was just encouraging business however. Just checked, and the OCP tongs are apparently made from 1045?

 

 

It is one of those things I think that many people have different opinions on, though I would use 1045 if I could i think it's better.

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Thank you for posting this, Sam. I forged up a pair of tongs yesterday as I was sick of burning my hands using vise grips. They're no where near as nice as these, mine are heavy, clunky and ugly. It's nice to know that A36 works for this, thanks again

 

Zeb

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Thanks for posting this Sam. I have struggled with tong making a lot, and this helps me see the mistakes I have been making.

Peace.

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You can also do this technique by hand, the shoulders are offset so close you may bed to make an anvil step tool, pretty much just a 1" or 1 1/2" block that fits in your hardy hole so you can forge the offsets.

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A36 should be easy for anybody to find locally btw. Even if you can find tool/blade stock, the structural steel places likely stock any size of A36 you need.

 

Much better, and much cheaper than whatever hardware store crap you'll likely find.

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I have seen tongs made a bunch of dif ways. Sam...you are the man! That is one slick process.

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A36 should be easy for anybody to find locally btw. Even if you can find tool/blade stock, the structural steel places likely stock any size of A36 you need.

 

Much better, and much cheaper than whatever hardware store crap you'll likely find.

 

I was under the impression that the hardware store crap was A36 :huh: . That isnt to say its not good for some applications, such as these fine tongs B)

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You da man Sammy, but you knew that ;)

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Nah Luke, there's no telling what the hardware store crap is man. ;) Its most certainly the cheapest stuff ever in quality, but I've seen mild from lowes exhibit all kinds of crazy characteristics. Maybe some of it is a36, but I wouldn't bank on it being anything in particular.

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Thanks Lady, ;)

 

Actually Javan the home depot/lowes stuff is most likely A36, common structural steel.

 

thanks Luke!

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Awesome job, Sam! B)

 

 

Oh, and Grant used 4140 for his OCP tongs.

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