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Tong question


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Ok folks, new here, but have a question. I'm in the process of making a crucible and tongs for a horizontal kiln for color case hardening. The picture kinda shows where I'm at.....and where I'm kinda at in my thinking. My question is what diam. Round steel would you use for tong handles where the loaded crucible will be about 20 pounds? I'm thinking 1/2 or 5/8 inch.

 

Thoughts here folks???

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I'd think 5/8" minimum. If the handles are really long, I'd use 3/4" at the crucible and taper them to 5/8".  You really don't want them sagging!

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Alan.

So start out with 5/8 at the crucible. I think I'll do some 1/8"

x5"x6" crucible clamps/grips bent to fit the crucible. Machine the 5/8 round area down .100" or so for a flat area to weld the tongs to the clamps after bent to fit the clamps....then move out and at some point drill out the center of the handles to fit the forward part of the tongs and then weld them....I think I'll use 3/4 or 1" at the very end......if any of it makes sense.

Edited by Mike Ferguson
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Well I don't have any 5/8 round or 3/4 so it looks like I'll have to buy some or order thru ebay. I live right at a hundred miles ( one way) from a town large enough to have what I need. I do have some 1" in both steel and aluminum......What do you think of alum for the hand-gripping area?

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I wouldn't use aluminum.  You could go with 1" schedule 40 pipe and oval it up (possibly even 3/4") for the reins (arc weld to boss and bit).  I would certainly use at least solid 3/4" round for the boss and bit section and forge a little thick (some 5160 spring stock might be a good choice, but don't quench).  The last thing you want is for the heat of the crucible to distort the bits during use.

 

20 lbs at 3' extension is a bit of torque.  Hope your wrists are up to it.  

 

Good luck

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After reading Dan's excellent reply, I got to thinking about pouring shanks and pipe handles. Lo and behold, this popped up:

 

 

 

Now, I know your "crucible" isn't going to have molten metal in it, and being parallel-sided adds complications, but I think you could weld a couple of lugs on the sides to grip with a similar shank with the arm that grabs the lip of the crucible. Heavy flat strap steel, say 3/8" x 1",  1/4" x 1" would be very safe for the jaws of the shank. 

 

I assume you'll have a support for the tongs when you dump the charge into the quench?  I do like color case hardening...  Are you using aeration and a brine quench?

Edited by Alan Longmire
changed a measurement
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Posted (edited)

I'm going to use cold ice aereated water for the quench. At 73 years of age I am concerned bout the weight and my wrists. I will doing this alone and intend to weld a loop on the top of the crucible and then attach a hook to the top of my quench tank so I can get the top off quickly and then quench the contents of the crucible.

 

What would you think of 5/8 square rod for the tongs versus round steel?

 

My kiln is ready and my quench tank almost there....I'll take some pictures......but it along with my bluing room are a ways from my house and I have to wait til the snow melts more so I can get into them.

 

I've done this before but used someone elses equipment.

Edited by Mike Ferguson
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I agree with Dan.  Aluminum conducts heat much better than iron or steel.  I think that you would be more likely to burn your hands.

 

Doug

HELP...I'm a twenty year old trapped in the body of an old man!!!

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Thanks guys.....how about the round steel versus the square ( same size) for the tong handles from the crucible back.....if square steel I could turn them in my lathe to insert into the 1" handles for my hand placement. Just off the cuff I'm estimating total length of tongs at 24+- inches maybe 30 at the longest. 

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5 hours ago, Mike Ferguson said:

I will doing this alone

Please don't do this without having someone standing by for at least the first couple of tries.  If you are "inventing" your own equipment styles you never know what may go wrong.  Most tools have evolved over time by tossing the styles that have failed or were inefficient.  Not dissing you at all, just recommending safety.

 

I forge my tongs, so it really doesn't matter that much to me if the starting stock is round or square.  I assumed you would be doing the same for the bit and boss section at least.  Tubular reins (out of pipe) may give you a bit more diameter to hang onto at the same weight and bending strength.  Along with easy availability at a plumbing shop, that is why I recommended same.  You might also want to consider some kind of counterbalance.

 

The split function lifting and pouring tongs that Alan linked in the video seem like a very clever option to me, and the video takes you through design and manufacture.

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I think 5/8" solid or schedule 40 tubing is fine for that weight at that distance, but I'd put a tong rest (aka a sawhorse) by the quench tank so I could rest the tongs on that while I dump the charge into the tank, if that makes sense. 

 

 

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Thanks Alan, I have now ordered all I'll need for my tongs and finishing my crucible. 

 

I was thinking bout a lid/combo work rest for my quench tank last night while I was sleeping and believe you are right and that rest is a must have. I'm including a few pics for the reason of all this....... the color case hardening of a old winchester 1886 rifle I have been working on. The pics are of early on and rifle at this point is almost ready for the bluing tank and color case hardening.

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It is going to be S&W 500 magnum. I converted it to a takedown model with 19" barrel. I am going to color case harden the receiver, buttplate, forend cap, front sight base and maybe the receiver takedown plate. The rest will be blued.

 

It is going to be my carry rifle. I live in a very remote part of Montana and see quite a few grizzlies, I even came eye to eye with a lion at about 20 feet 3 months ago and the lion wasn't in a hurry to leave.

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Yep....working and thinking bout that lid/rest for the quench tank.....and it proves you should never throw away any piece of steel. I've had a lid sized piece I put under a tool rest that has been bothering me and was too big to go in my steel bin......looks like it just may work for my quench tank work rest.

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Please be particularly careful quenching the barrel.  Dumping a red hot open ended tube into a quench tank is a recipe for creating a spray of whatever fluid you are quenching in.  I am really not familiar with color case hardening processes, but if you are going to dump a hot tube into cold water the fluid inside the tube has a tendency to flash to steam.  This can be kind of surprising at the other end...

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Posted (edited)

Ok been working on my tongs and quench barrel. Most of the tong materials should be here this coming week. I've got a thin piece of steel I've been using as a template for the handles and the 1/2 square steel has been turned down to barely fit inside the pipe handles....I will keep working as material comes in.

 

Quench tank.....working on the bottom and attaching rolling wheels. I will also attach steel straps to the bottom and to the wheel platform so It will be less likely to tip over. Got the top cut and figured out....just waiting on steel.

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Edited by Mike Ferguson
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