Jump to content
Eugene Tan

Rebar tongs X3

Recommended Posts

Well finally manage to start forging and first project are tongs i know they look like crap but it was my first time anyways any and all adavice are greatly appreciated ^^

6CC8EE3C-03C2-42BC-88A0-A7EDB881EAFB.jpeg

8AE53124-75CB-4C4B-B20C-B0165373B9A5.jpeg

EE35BFE5-A8C4-44FA-9746-C06DCD5B8C48.jpeg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably should start with thicker stock. It allows you to have wider, beefier jaws. 3/4" square bar is not unheard of. I can see you stretched the metal pretty thin.

I would check out the tong making techniques pinned in tools & toolmaking. Good luck on the next! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Zeb Camper said:

Probably should start with thicker stock. It allows you to have wider, beefier jaws. 3/4" square bar is not unheard of. I can see you stretched the metal pretty thin.

I would check out the tong making techniques pinned in tools & toolmaking. Good luck on the next! 

Thanks for the advise I just actually got the rebar from a junk shop so I work with what I have XD its mild steel so I cant even harden it but for a beginner project I'm surprised that it hold out and has a fairly decent grip 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All my tongs are mild steel. There is no point (as far as I’m aware) in making them out of anything else. Any HT would be ruined by using them on hot steel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Charles du Preez said:

All my tongs are mild steel. There is no point (as far as I’m aware) in making them out of anything else. Any HT would be ruined by using them on hot steel.

Huh...fair point 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2018 at 2:35 AM, Charles du Preez said:

All my tongs are mild steel. There is no point (as far as I’m aware) in making them out of anything else. Any HT would be ruined by using them on hot steel.

That isn't exactly true. Would be true if you were comparing a set of HTed tongs and a set of non HTed tongs made of the same alloy - whatever heat treat would be ruined and they would be indistinguishable.

Issue is, many elements present in spring, tool and low alloy steels (tungsten, chrome, molybdenum, silicon etc) impart quite a bit of strength even in a non HTed condition.

This is the reason why you shouldn't make hot tools out of mild, even though you aren't actually heat treating them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Dan. Appreciate the insight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience tongs should definitely NOT be made of hardenable steel, mild steel is the way to go. The reason being that, when you are working, your tongs will inevitably heat up and at some point you will likely want to cool them off, generally in a bucket of water. With hardenable steel, you can't safely do this, you'll end up with fractured tongs by the end of the week. The possible slight difference in strength between mild steel and unhardened high carbon steel is unneccessary in this setting. Just my 2 cents, I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has actually had success with high carbon tongs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The late Grant Sarver used 4140 for his line of Off-Center Forge tongs for the lighter weight and springiness he could get, but they are definitely not to be quenched.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

The late Grant Sarver used 4140 for his line of Off-Center Forge tongs for the lighter weight and springiness he could get, but they are definitely not to be quenched.

Do you know if they are any more?  I know Blacksmith Depot picked up the name and are still drop forging them, but it doesn't say anything about being 4140 anymore...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Grant Saxman said:

In my experience tongs should definitely NOT be made of hardenable steel, mild steel is the way to go. The reason being that, when you are working, your tongs will inevitably heat up and at some point you will likely want to cool them off, generally in a bucket of water. With hardenable steel, you can't safely do this, you'll end up with fractured tongs by the end of the week. The possible slight difference in strength between mild steel and unhardened high carbon steel is unneccessary in this setting. Just my 2 cents, I'd be interested in hearing if anyone has actually had success with high carbon tongs

I just don't quench my tongs if they have any color to them (if at all). 

 

I grabbed a bunch of hex wrenches at an auction that are made of 8650, and have made several tongs from them with no issue. I have also used a bunch that were 4140, 1045 and even "5160" (a friend exclusively uses coil spring because of the convenient sizing). Only high carbon of the bunch is the "5160", but the rest are definitely hardenable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Wes Detrick said:

Do you know if they are any more?  I know Blacksmith Depot picked up the name and are still drop forging them, but it doesn't say anything about being 4140 anymore...

Not a clue, sorry.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with making tongs from any steel that is hardenable is that even if you don't intend to damage them by quenching them you will.
Even if they don't appear to be hot.
And if you get them hot you can grow the grain in them which even if not quenched can eventually lead to a crack.
I make tongs.
I make them from mild.
And they are springy because they are tapered and light weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent first project, knowing how to make tongs is a true benefit to the craft no matter what path you go down. 

I made some of my first tongs this summer, now I'm pointing more toward decorative iron work with some knife/axe making - so I made some beefy tongs.  The stouter the tongs the more stress they'll take. therefore I make mine from 3/8 x 1 flat stock. 

If you have the free rebar around, go ahead use the material, I don't see a problem with making tongs from them.  (or just buy some flat stock to save some forging time.) Personally, I would flatten out the dimensions (not making them any thinner than 1/4 of an inch) true them up (make the flat bar nice and straight in both planes) so that you have some flat stock to work off of.  Consider this your parent stock size, set down for the nibs work them and set down for your reins.  Don't forge the boss, try to retain the parent stock size, so just true up the bulges that happen when you set down. 

Everybody forges tongs a little different, so read up, watch some youtube and tackle what you feel like you can accomplish.

If you start going to swap meets and hammer in's, and you happen to see tongs, start picking them up.  If you getting into just knife making you won't need a lot of tongs - but if you happen to see a set that suits your needs for 20 bucks or under get them.  You'll get to a point where you'll realize buying the tongs are more of a savings than spending the time and fuel making them.

 

As for tool steel tongs - really not necessary.  At most, you may make scrolling tongs from a spring/tool steel - but you really don't have to, its a little overkill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree.
Forging tongs will teach you a lot.
Especially tongs with offsets.
3/8 is a good starting stock size for forging.
The production ones I make are 1/4"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×