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Not at all bad for a first pass at tongs.  A couple of hints:

  1. It is a good idea to do each forging operation on both halves of the tongs at the same time.  Helps in keeping things symmetrical.  By this I mean you do the first set down on the near side of anvil for both tongs, then go to the second set down for each on the far side...  Also will help in speeding up your tong production.
  2. Your third set down is on the wrong side.  The reins should be in line with the other side of the bolster.
  3. Your bolster is a little longer than I usually make, but that isn't a big issue.  Just be careful not to make the bolster too thin.  The bolster area where pierced and the connection to the jaws and/or reins are the three most common failure locations for tongs.
  4. Remember that you need to make two identical halves to complete your tongs, not mirror images.
  5. Try to finish shaping the bits before you rivet the tongs together (shape to "V" or "U" crossection, put shallow chisel cuts in surface...)
  6. You can use a machine screw and nut of the appropriate size to align the tongs in a demountable fashion before you rivet them together if you want.

Good luck, you are definitely on the road with these.  Much nicer than my first effort (which was my third time forging at the green coal tent at ABANA in 2014).

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Great feedback Dan, thanks so much for your time and kind words. I did intend on making the pairs together from the same piece of stock, foolish, I know that now but I guess it’s all part of the learning. Would be way easier if I had tongs, hmmm. I CANNOT believe I buggered up that third step down, also can’t believe I didn’t know! Any how it was surprisingly easy to fix, I had thought I needed to start over. I’ve completed one side and made the necessary corrections and drawn out the rains to 12”, so about 16” overall, and can say I’m really happy with the result. Thinking your note around attaching them with a bolt prior to riveting is  genius. 

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As an aside, I pulled the bloody forge to bits again today. The outcome is that I now have a pass through and the burner flare is now flush with the interior lining. Not perfect, but best I could do without a complete rebuild. 

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Ok, not perfect but sooo happy with the result. I now have tongs. Next job, better tongs, thinking it will be so much easier with tongs and a small amount of experience.

7E232599-18AE-4804-9822-63A23C67D1CE.jpeg

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They look fine to me!  And yes, experience is a good teacher.  

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Check out the links to tong making that are over in the tool making board here.  There are many different ways to make tongs that work.  Depending on what you are planning to make, you may need a bunch of them.  Making tongs are a great learning experience too as you learn where to isolate material and shape it for its need.

 

I normally make tongs from 3/8 x 1 flat stock and make it a rule to not make tongs where the boss (where your rivet is) any less than 3/8 thick and no less than 1 in wide. Tongs of that thickness are usually fairly heavy, but I prefer them that way. Lots of people like their tongs to be light and springy.

 

Just remember if you can't hold it, you can't hit it.

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Thanks again for your great advise Danial and Alan. Used the tongs today, can’t tell you the difference it makes (obvious I know) great for square stock, not so much with round. Next pair will be V tongs. Only disappointment is that it taken me 58 years to realize how much fun this all is. I’m impatient to start on a knife, I’m still thinking my skills aren’t what they need to be. I’ll make a couple of more sets of tongs, it really helps with developing skills, then give it a crack. Once again I’m so appreciative of all the feed back and advise.

Happy hammering.

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On 6/26/2020 at 11:23 PM, David Heron said:

Ok, not perfect but sooo happy with the result. I now have tongs. Next job, better tongs, thinking it will be so much easier with tongs and a small amount of experience.

 

I absolutely love seeing posts like this (whether it be for tongs, blades, or anything else).  With that attitude success is just a matter of time, and likely quicker than not.  

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Its never too early to start doing something you like. I thought starting at 30 was too old to get into this but nearly 10 years later, I'm still happy I didn't put it off any longer. 

 

As your just starting, I suggest to look into making some twist tongs.  They are really quick and simple to make up.  They are a little weaker than making nibs that are forged out, however, they can get you going. 

 

And I like the fact that your thinking about making the tooling and getting comfortable with that before jumping into knife making. I got into the blacksmith thing thinking about knives, but I found I like to shape metal more than grind.  So I fall into the art side more than the technical side of blade making.

 

Have fun with it, its a wonderful ride.

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Thanks for your great feed back and support Daniel and Jerrod. I dipped my toe in the murky depths of bladesmithing a couple of months ago with little spare time  and cash, but with a relatively small investment I’ve started what I know now is something I want to pursue. Bladesmith forum has been a wonderful resource for which I will be forever grateful. Ive just learnt to google search using BSF in the search followed by the topic, incredibly powerful resource. I’ve spent hours thinking through how to fabricate a bevel jig only to learn I've wasted my time. Better to spend time behind the grinder and freehand. It’s become obvious there are no shortcuts in this journey. Time with the hammer, anvil and finishing tools are now my tutors.

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1 minute ago, David Heron said:

. It’s become obvious there are no shortcuts in this journey

 

An unfortunate truth,  but I am glad you realized it early on. B). You are well on your way,  and I suspect you'll do just fine.

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Also remember to look for your local blacksmith groups.  It's not as easy to meet up with a group at the moment due to the situation.  When things free up, look around as there may be open forges near enough to you to go and meet up with some local smithys. Internet has a wealth of info, but finding the local artists for some one on one advise can't be beat. You can also run into some fantastically skilled craftspeople that are every bit as skilled as some of the big names out there. Groups can open up opportunities to take some training, sometimes you just make new friends and get some hand-me-down-tools.

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Great suggestion Daniel, I’ve enrolled in blacksmithing/bladesmithing course for beginners in Melbourne Australia, COVID is the blocker at the minute. It’s a fare investment $500aus, but thinking it will really kick on the skills required. There’s also a local artisan blacksmith offering lesson for $50 an hour, not sure which way to jump. I think the opportunity to network (hate that term) would a great advantage. You Tube and BSF been great tutors but I’m thinking standing beside someone who actually knows what there doing would be invaluable. It’s Saturday here tomorrow and I’m keen to bang out two sets of tongs (maybe just one set of really good ones) hmmm see how I go. I know I bang on about this, but I truly love this forum and the effort every takes to give there support and feedback. 
 

happy hammering  

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Nothing like being there David. Either way you will learn loads and really climb up that learning curve.

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Thanks Charles, I really want to move my learning forward quickly, just my nature. Thinking time spent with people who know what there doing will provide this.

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Tongs ll. I feel a bit of a fraud. These were part of a set of Rapid Tongs I purchased after half a bottle of Shiraz and looking through eBay. Came in a set of five, these being the simplest and smallest. I knocked them up in around 45 minutes, really pleased with the outcome. Makes the world of difference having a set of tongs and making both pairs as a set.

C0CEA44E-46BE-4ABD-998C-B99FBB775FE8.jpeg

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Anyhow after finishing the rest of the bottle and halfway through the second one, this is the result. It all started from wanting a 10c rivet. I blame you all for fostering this obsession.

72F5DFE6-2973-41A9-BE07-77BED26E7B7E.jpeg

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I’ve had this for a while but modified it to be vertical and added the slightly over engineered rest. I’ve had a couple of goes at grinding some 6m mild steel flat bar and it all works well, thinking I need a more solid platen, though.

A6091511-BA16-418E-9169-2FBAD91C1059.jpeg

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5 hours ago, David Heron said:

I blame you all for fostering this obsession.

 

I guess we should have warned you, sorry. ;)

In that spirit, I should tell you now that mini lathe will end up getting replaced by or joined by  a larger one in a few years, and if you stick with blade work so will the grinder.  And a power hammer and press will begin to sound like excellent ideas...:ph34r:

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18 hours ago, David Heron said:

Hmmm, thinken I’m gunna need a bigger shed. Urggg

just add on every year or so my last add on brought me to 36x68 in only 5 steps wife said i have to take a few years off and start using it more

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Your wife, whom I’m sure is an intelligent, supportive and understanding partner, is, well, simply wrong. I, on the other hand dabble in the dark art of bladesmithing for a couple of hours over the weekend in an 8x14 space with little to no opportunity for expansion. I could take over my twin 6 year old daughters play room however thinking my intelligent, supportive and understanding (at the minute) partner may have a differing version of “need”.


Hmmm, power hammer. Maybe I might see how much clarity another glass of red may bring.

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4 hours ago, David Heron said:

Maybe I might see how much clarity another glass of red may bring.

For you or your partner?;)

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Well Billy, that’s a great question, any time I've attempted to influence my wife, in my favor, by the subtle  use of wine, has not gone well. Sooo I’m thinking better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission and have the wine myself

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5 hours ago, David Heron said:

Sooo I’m thinking better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission and have the wine myself

Whatever works, my brother.;)

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