Introduction: How to Make Forging Tongs

Picture of How to Make Forging Tongs

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

for this you will need;

1/4 in steel sheet metal
three washers
lock nut (or a regular)


arc welder
plasma torch
welding protection

Step 2: Make the Tongs

Picture of Make the Tongs

draw the shape of one side of tongs on the metal
draw it again

cut it out with the plasma torch

(due to the fact I don't want to kill my camera, there are no pictures of welding or cutting)

grind down the sharp edges

drill holes at the pivot points

put a washer between the tongs and on both sides and screw the nut on

Step 3: Make the Grips

Picture of Make the Grips

also cut out two small rectangles

use the grinder to put grooves in them

weld them on the tongs (make sure that when the tongs are closed the grips are flat against each other)


sonny davis (author)2010-12-14

what do you do when you cant afford a plasma tourch

jadronx (author)sonny davis2011-12-26

use 1/4" flat stock and heat it in your forge to bend it the correct way

bcavaciuti (author)jadronx2013-12-30

or cut out with the angle grinder

jtobako (author)2006-12-18

why not use the forge to make them? you know, bending metal with heat? oh, thats right, the only thing a forge is for is "i'm gonna make a sword" BTW, rivets are the way to go. the plastic 'lock' on a locknut will burn out.

An Villain (author)jtobako2011-02-14

Because you get halfway through with the pieces in the coals before realizing "oh S*** I don't have any tongs!"

jtobako (author)An Villain2011-02-18

Water-pump (or adjustable) pliers.

Or the blacksmith's secret weapon-vice-grips : )

In the mean time, your iron has burned away as you try to start up the plasma welder...

jadronx (author)jtobako2011-12-26

lol of course, and the vice-grips are the way to go! that is what I used when I made my tongs.

An Villain (author)jtobako2011-02-19

I suppose, and most unfortunately that last line is true.

AlexTheGreat (author)jtobako2006-12-18

because the forge sucks and i can't make anything on it.

!!!!!!! (author)AlexTheGreat2010-11-30

Have you tried a brake drum forge?
you can make a simple one out of on old car wheel and some rebar...

corey11 (author)AlexTheGreat2010-11-20

Well, a smith i know put together an awesome website to help people build their own propane forge, and this one is pretty efficient. Its called the Ammo Can Forge. I modified it so its coal and its pretty eficient, not as good as it could be though. But overall, no cmplaints.

Unkat (author)AlexTheGreat2007-02-18

Alex, If you're having trouble getting a home made forge to work, I suggest purchasing one. I spent almost a year fiddling around with pipes and insulation before I just got fed up. As it turns out, it takes a huge amount of skill and precision to make a forge that will burn half as efficiently as the ones that can be found at places like In the meantime, it would be good if you could modify the title of this instructable or remove it entirely, since it is misleading and discouraging to beginning metalworkers. Blacksmithing is something to take pride in, not to work around. And if you need additional help, I suggest browsing around, which has tutorial's on many small projects and links to other reliable websites. Best wishes, ~U

thoraxe (author)Unkat2008-06-18

dude, you spent all that money on a forge? what kind of forge gas or coal?

Unkat (author)thoraxe2008-06-19

A propane, dual burner forge. At this point the largest diameter of stock I've used in it is 3/4" mild steel, but it can handle much larger. I don't know if my arm can though.

thoraxe (author)Unkat2008-06-20

how much did u pay?

Unkat (author)thoraxe2008-06-22

$750 for the forge, plus I think $30 or $40 in shipping.

My anvil came from from, which was good for me because I'm in canada, so the shipping ended up being only about $50 for 110 kg anvil.

I would recommend finding a dealer who is at least local to your country, to save on shipping. And also if they are close enough that you can pay them a visit and check out their products before you buy, that is a very good idea.

Also, never buy an anvil from china. Even a little jewelry one. I've heard horror stories about chinese made anvils cracking open, revealing sand or lead inside...

Bright Shadow (author)Unkat2008-09-13

Sledge hammers work good for a light anvil...

Kaiven (author)Bright Shadow2009-06-28

THAT IS GENIUS! I never thought about that! I have been looking for an anvil around the house for ever!

Bright Shadow (author)Kaiven2009-06-28

You're welcome, I guess?

thoraxe (author)Unkat2008-06-23

dang. for that much, i'd rather just buy whatever i need forged. I would never buy a forge for that much. but alot of people think they need fancy stuff to blacksmith with. I get along great with my concrete charcoal forge and my anvil made from a cast iron weight. Of course, propane forges are wonders to forge with, easy to light, no cleanup, and real anvils are great also, with hardy holes and horns and the rebound that comes with steel. To make things short, i still dont understand why people would buy something for that much, especially when they are a beginner. But you have it, and thats great, it will last you for years and years.

ironsmiter (author)AlexTheGreat2007-02-14

not to open old wounds, but if you have a plasma cutter, a nice lincoln electric mig/tig welder, and that nice shop to use them in, you must have air/gas torch of some kind too, right? could use that as your heatsource for bending stock. Hint on the tong construction. you only need 2 washers. one in the middle, and one on the bolt side. Add a quick tack weld to the nut, to lock it semi-permanently in place. Also, instead of tacking on the flats, take a hacksaw and split the buisness end of the tongs. Use a steel wedce, or cold chisel to split the halves to 45 degrees, for holding round or square stock. Make a second set of tongs exactly the same way, only spread to 180 degrees(flat) for plate stock. The UBER GHETTO/professional looking version of this s, grab a pair of vice grips. weld either plate(as you did in this Instructable), V-channel, or even C channel onto the holding end. In my blacksmithing classes, we only used those long handled pliers when we had to heat a small piece, and couldn't leave it attached to the bar stock we started with. As in trying to do finish forging on jewelry pieces, or spons, or such. for everything else, vice grips worked just fine :-)

jtobako (author)AlexTheGreat2007-02-08

then why do you need the tongs? rebuild the forge first (and second and...) forget the tongs, use longer stock to test the forge., look around for the tutorials.

Gksarmy (author)2010-04-17

i want a plasma cutter... :(

thoraxe (author)2008-06-18

also! you shouldn't make your jaws fit flat together unless your forging thin sheet metal. the jaws have to match or closely match the size and shape of stock you plan to use. most smiths need a couple pairs of tongs, one for bar stock, one for flat stock, and then they have larger sizes of those. a pair of tongs like this would be horrible for grabbing bar stock or large peices.

toogood (author)2007-05-07

they would be much stronger if they were made out of 1 bar and hammered into shape

pissant (author)2007-05-03

To make a real pair of tongs try this:

master-of-chaos (author)2007-04-22

you could always spend a shit load of time making a mold that will stand molten iron then using thermite

Vendigroth (author)2006-12-29

why not just make them out of rod that's flattened out a bit and bent at the ends into that pincer shape. you can grind away the bits for the hinge, too, then rivet them together. it's always nice to have made your own tools, anyway....

DiamondBack (author)2006-09-22

You know, if a person can afford to BUY a welder, a plasma cutter, and compressor, they can certainly afford to BUY a pair of tongs

Cheyyne (author)2006-08-01

Nice and simple. You don't really NEED a plasma cutter, I think you could get away with a radial disc cutter or an abrasive hacksaw edge. Nevertheless, an easy way to get it done.

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