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I was working in my forge and I was pounding out some hot steel for a while. When I put the steel back into the forge I laid my tongs on my anvil and they slid off and landed in my water bucket. They were pretty hot so they made a hiss when they went in. I pulled them out quickly but now they won't open or close. I tried to heat them back up and nothing changed. Is there a fix for this mistake, besides not being a bone head?

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Mike,

Heat them up again at the rivet, then try again to move them in either direction,  once at a red heat they should move.   They should move before your reins start to bend.    Once broken, Move them back and forth until they work smoothly.    Worst case, you may have to grind off the rivet and put a new one in,  though that shouldn't be necessary.

I like to keep my water bucket close, but not so close as to cause problems such as yours.    A high carbon steel knife blank landing in water would be a bad thing :)     And I drop things a lot...

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The moral of this story is quench/cool your tongs after you put the work piece back into the forge. I cool my tongs frequently, especially when I am forging multiple pieces. 

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I air cool mine, if the tongs are made from mild steel then yea you can dunk them in water but if they are made from knife steels you may want to find out you might have to cool them in oil and not water.  My tongs were made from 5160 I think and I have to dip mine in oil to cool instead of water.  But if yours are mild steel you should be in the clear, it just depends on the material that they were made from.

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28 minutes ago, AndrewB said:

I air cool mine, if the tongs are made from mild steel then yea you can dunk them in water but if they are made from knife steels you may want to find out you might have to cool them in oil and not water.  My tongs were made from 5160 I think and I have to dip mine in oil to cool instead of water.  But if yours are mild steel you should be in the clear, it just depends on the material that they were made from.

My point is that regardless of what the tongs are made of, you should never get in the habit of getting them so hot that a quick dunk in the slack tub would have any adverse effect. 

Edited by Joshua States
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3 minutes ago, Joshua States said:

My point is that regardless of what the tongs are made of, you should never get in the habit of getting them so hot that a quick dunk in the slack tub would have any adverse effect. 

Mine personally have never gotten that hot... those were just the instructions that came with the tongs when I bought them.  But that is very true they shouldn’t get that hot.  

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I often heat a fully heat treated blade to 250*F when I apply cold bluing. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but trust me, most cold bluing works much better when applied to hot steel. The rapid cooling, even at that temp causes no concern or problems (just a nice dark finish). The instructions probably tell you that for manufacturer's CYA more than anything. I'm sure many a lawyer has previously thought of a noobie getting his tongs into the red zone and rapidly cooling them down only to drop them on the floor and have them shatter. If the business end of your tongs are too hot to hold with your hand, they are way too hot.

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