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Which tongs may work best.


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Since things died down in my workshop I went over reading material.  Time and time again this link https://www.fao.org/3/ah635e/AH635E12.HTM had intrigued me. A simple and quick way to forge out top tooling.  (other links show the making of swages as well) I started to pick up old cold chisels to use as tong held top tooling.  The major complaint I have over them is without a recess for the tongs to hold them by that recess, the tool slips in the nibs of the tongs.

 

Although the plans show to make these as rodded top tools, I would like to try and make them part of my tong held collection of tooling. I'm still trying to save space, and the tong held tooling I think has an advantage in how easily it can be tossed back in the forge and reshape the struck end or even the working end.  Leaf spring not being ideal for this type of tooling, I expect it to mushroom out a lot. A 40xx alloy is always better, I'm just looking to use up stuff that I've hoarded.

 

Split finger tongs, (tongs with nibs that cross with two over and one under) I find works best for short round top tools as the tool can never slip out the the nibs. What kind of tongs would work well to hold a piece of flat stock 90 degrees to the work, and also catch that recess.  My first thought was something like a chain makers tongs but with a very big and lazy oval shape for the nibs.

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It's worth remembering that Joseph Stokes wrote this and the two other books in the set, for the rural third world blacksmith.  He worked under the idea that folks couldn't just pick up the phone and order steel.  So with that in mind, he taught folks to salvage the steel from old vehicles, hence the steel in this case coming from a leaf spring.  Upon a visit to Joe's shop in England, the tool and tong method is what he used.  He was quite frugal in his use of tool steel and only made the tool as large as necessary.   He had about fifty top tools in a cloth pouch on the wall, none of them more then 3 1/2 inches long and forged to fit a purpose build tong.   I learned my first blacksmithing from his son, Stephen Stokes.

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I thought about the use of leaf spring a few times in this guide. I know from my own experience that salvaged leaf spring, weather it truly is a 5160, when normalized is actually quite soft when used as a struck tool.  It may be a touch tougher than mild steel, but de-forms pretty easily.

 

I've only recently made a little bit of cash with my work and should just get some 40XX alloy (a friend of mine always has 4340 and S5 hex bars on hand). I could just as easily forge the working end of the tool and forge a 3/8 recess toward the struck end.  

 

left spring was one of those things that I always believe I would find a use for, but with about 800lbs of it, its just in my way. The hooked all purpose knife within that book also gets my interest for a personal challenge and tool.  I'd like to apply the steps and try my hands at a brush axe one day.

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