Blacksmith TongsBlacksmith Tongs
How Blacksmith Tongs Are Made
The process of making blacksmith tongs includes the following steps:
Making the tongs: first step…or the bit
Making the tongs: second step - the hinge plate
- This is done near on the anvil at a 30 degree angle. Bright orange heat is used to ensure that when the metal is shit with the hammer, it will be malleable enough to create the desired shape. The blacksmith keeps holding the bit tight to the anvil, making sure to hold it steady between hammer strikes. The depth for the bit should be half the width of the metal material, and then once it is the correct size; more heat is used to shape the bit.
Making the tongs: third step – the reins
- The blacksmith rotates the first tong so that the top faces left, with the tong turned clockwise at 45 degrees. It is then placed on the anvil at the far side so the anvil edge sits where the hinge plate joins the bit. Using bright-orange heat, the entire hinge area is worked until it is half the thickness of the material’s original width.
Making the tongs: drawing the reins out
- This set should be opposite side up to the set made at the beginning. It should be placed on the other side of the anvil for the hinge plate to be made. The blacksmith avoids going beyond half the material’s width until he obtains a 2/3 thickness. This can be tapered on the tong’s length to get a stronger handle or “rein”.
Riveting or punching the rivet hole
- The reins are drawn out as a rectangular section and tapered towards the end slightly. Material left at the hinge plates make them strong. The length of one tong can be used to mark the anvil with welder’s chalk showing the tong’s length; it helps the blacksmith to make sure that the tongs will each be the same length. The corners of the edges are cut off of each of the sides of the reins that will be contacting your hands; making the tongs more comfortable to hold.
- The blacksmith uses bright-orange heat to make an imprint through the material and then a lower, dull-red heat to punch through from the other side. The excess is then sheared-off and punched out through the hole using a small metal disc at low heat. It is heated again and the punch is used in the “pritchel hole” to make it wider and to achieve the right size, then it is tested using the same piece that will be used for the rivet.