Here, I decided to make some blacksmithing tongs. It was over a multiple day process of heating and smashing some rebar. The cool thing about this project is that these tongs are going to go towards more projects, such as forging knives, forging more tongs, or forging some sculptures. With my humble little blacksmithing shop, I am pretty pleased with myself. This is especially considering the fact that my forge is just an upside-down hubcap and my anvil is a piece of railroad track (a darn good one at that).
How did I make it:
Using the tools mentioned in the instructable, I took a piece of rebar, cut it in half, flattened it out, and forged the arcs. I worked by myself the whole time, and managed to burn my hand on the hot metal pretty badly. As one can imagine, that taught be to always wear my gloves. The idea of this came to me in the desire to have a more efficient way of holding hot metal, other than pliers. The actual design of the project is as simple as I could find, making an awesome first project.
Where did I make it:
I made these tongs in my humble blacksmith shop, in my backyard of my home. Because I like the idea of blacksmithing, hunting, hiking and travel, making tools is naturally attractive. When I go hunting with my uncle, I want to have a good skinning knife. What better way to know your knife is reliable than to make it yourself, anyhow?
What did I learn:
Other than always needing to wear gloves to avoid 3rd degree burns, I also learned that good charcoal makes for a much hotter forge. I also learned that silicon under the anvil deadens the sound. Finally, and most importantly, that blacksmithing is something I really enjoy doing, and it is a tangible hobby.
In order to finally be "accepted" as a blacksmith, one needs to make their first set of tongs. I am in that process, and am documenting it for the sake of other aspiring forgers. The things that will be needed for this project are:
1) Rebar or any other piece of thin metal (Note: This guide is made for those using rebar, since it tends to be more readily available.)
2) A Hammer (easiest if a Cross-Peen.)
3) Forge (Here is a good DIY tutorial if you do not have one.)
4) Channel Locks or Vice Grips
5) Anvil (Railroad track works excellent. It is what I use.)
6) Gloves, eye protection, ear-plugs (Those anvils are LOUD!)
7) Rod for Bolting
8) Axe Head/Chisel
If you have all of these supplies, you are ready to begin!
Step 1: Preparing the Rebar
Go ahead and heat the rebar in your forge on the area that needs to be cut. To save yourself from pain in the future, try to cut the rebar perpendicular to the two seams. For the rest of this project, flatten the rebar along these seams as well, as they will be a natural guide for where the edge will be.
Once it is cut, you are ready for Step 2.
Step 2: Flattening the Rebar
Start from one end, and work your way down the bar by heating, then place it along the anvil, and bashing the heck out of it.
In the first few heats, you should not need to use anything for holding the hot bar, as long as you have your gloves on. Once you start getting closer to the middle, you will notice some heat and will need to switch ends in order to continue flattening out the bar. NOTE: Do NOT just grab the other end. Even though it is not red hot, it is still hundreds of degrees hotter than your thin little glove is. On the same note, do NOT dunk the hot metal into water to cool it down so it can be used. This will cause the metal to undergo rapid cooling, which will make it extremely brittle and subject to break. Use either the vice grips or channel locks to hold the other end until it is cool enough to handle by a gloved hand.
Step 3: Twisting for the Bit
Clamp your Vice Grips below the section that you want to be twisted, and use your Channel Locks to twist the metal 90 degrees. It is important that for the second strip of rebar, you twist in the OPPOSITE direction. If you do not do this, you will have to identical pieces of rebar, and when you go to install the bolt, the bit will not line up. Once both pieces are done, move to step 3.
Step 4: Forming the Arc: Part 1
In order to do this, you will need to place the rebar so that the now flat end is parallel to the anvil, and the handle is perpendicular to the anvil. Heat up this section in the forge, and round it off. Note that your bit will begin to bend downwards, and will no longer be straight. This is normal, and the next step will solve it. Speaking of, go on once both pieces are done!