A Spiffy Pair of Tongs

Introduction: A Spiffy Pair of Tongs

Far back in the grey dawns of eternity, a primitive monkey person named, say, Grok, was huddled over his primitive monkey fire, roasting a piece of dinosaur meat. He grimaces in pain at the burns on his hand; but takes it stoically. after all, it has always been done this way.

Then suddenly, the rudimentary neurons in his primitive monkey brain connect; an idea strikes him. In wonderment at his own ingenuity, Grok holds the meat with a pair of sticks, THEN roasts it.

And thus, the first tongs were born!

(Historical note: It probably did not happen this way, but I prefer to think it did. Also, The comic is from Gary Larson's Far Side comics, Witch are pretty great.)

So in honor of Grok, and our primitive Monkey ancestors, I shall now impart to y'all the best way I have thusfar found of making tongs.

Step 1: Materials:

All you need for this project (besides a functional forge) Is two 18" pieces of 1/2" re-bar, or 1/2" round, and one inch of 1/4 round. a vice also helps a lot.

Step 2: Upset the End:

Nothing too tricky here. just upset the last two inches of the bars slightly, so as to get a bit more width out of them. They should be heavy enough that you can just thump "em on you anvil face a few times.

Step 3: Flatten:

Now, hit the upset part with a hammer (Not good life advice) Until you have a flat part about 1 inch by 1/4 inch, maybe three inches long.

Step 4: Fullering:

Now you want to (I'm using mind control on you) Use a fuller of some kind, and put a notch 1 1/2" from the end of the end, then flip the bar over, and use the fuller to isolate the inch or so of flat above the notch.(Look, it's hard to explain, just look at the picture.)

Step 5: Punch Dat Hole

Now punch a hole big enough for your little pin to go through, in the, uh, Look; just refer to the bloody picture.

Step 6: Do the Twist: (sorry, Couldn't Help It)

Now, put the bit below the notch in yer vice, and give the upper part a 45 degree twist clockwise. Also, keep in mind that both halves must twist the same direction, they're not opposites.

Step 7: Whirligigs:

title says it all, put fancy whirligigs on the end of the handle.

Step 8: Remember That 1/4 X 1" Pin?

Yep, you need that now. This part is easy to mess up, so take your time. First, heat the pin, put it in your vice, and put a head on it like you would a nail. Put it through the tong halves, heat it nice and warm, then put a head on the other side. then do some final adjustments to the shape of the tongs, and you're done.

Step 9: Hold Hot Stuff With 'em:

Now just think of it, all the doorways in life, the possibilities, opportunity's, that have opened up to you now that you have some tongs! You can, um, pick things up with them, such as hot metal, uh yeah, opportunities man.

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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago on Step 9

    Thanks for the quick but useful 'structable. I have Lots of r'bar!


    5 years ago

    Just be careful when twisting the metal, if its not hot enough it forms a small tear which only breaks when you're all done and want to show your buddy what a magnificent toolmaker you are.


    5 years ago

    Thank you good sir. I just so happen to have several lengths of rebar sitting around doing nothing and need a pair of tongs. And a coal rake... and a water dipper... and I need to finish grinding my "anvil" I was able to scrounge up a 300lb block of steel that while not a proper anvil is big heavy and rings when hit with a ball peen hammer.

    For example the small hammer on the right is a 3lb drilling hammer and the one on the left is a 10 lb stone cutter sledge that I turned into a BFH.

    I have been trying to decide on a propane burner to make a gas forge but if not the old brake drum forge will have to suffice...

    Maximillian The Ruthless
    Maximillian The Ruthless

    Reply 5 years ago

    Awesome dude, keep up the forging. To be honest, I'm actually kind of envious of your big block o' steel. "Real" anvils are overrated, and There are few better than a 300 lb block of steel, and anyone who tells you otherwise probably wants to sell you something. My favorite anvil is my "ghetto anvil" a train car coupling I welded a little horn and hardie hole onto, you could probably find a welder who would do the same to yours.


    Reply 5 years ago

    I had a real anvil once upon a time along with a real coal forge with a buffalo blower and acme drill press and post vise. Unfortunately in the divorce I sold off everything. So now I am just piecemealing a shop back together. The nice thing is that I know what I want and what I need so I don't have to limit myself to hand crank everything cause I have this electricity stuff in the new shop. LOL

    I am debating this weekend about casting the body of a propane forge using the plaster/sand refractory method. I figure I already have a 3500* Ag Flamer so put a port on the side and a couple fire bricks and ill be ready to go again.