Cover Image
close this bookBasic Techiques of Blacksmithing: A Manual for Trainers (Peace Corps, 1982, 102 p.)
close this folderDay 6
View the documentSession: 18. Forging straight tongs
View the documentSession: 19. Program evaluation
View the documentSession: 20. Open workshop/clean-up

Session: 18. Forging straight tongs

Total Time: 4 hours


* To identify different types of tongs and their uses
* To make a pair of blacksmith's straight tongs
* To make a rivet using a heading plate
* To discuss techniques for modifying the straight tongs into specialized tongs
* To identify other types of tools which may be made using the basic tong procedure


* Attachment 18-A, "Tools for Many Trades"
* Weygers, pages 65-66
* Andrews, pages 82-84

Materials: Variety of blacksmith's tongs for display; four 12"-14" lengths of 1/2" or 5/8" round bar (mild steel) per participant for practice; two 12" lengths of 1/2" or 5/8" round bar (mild or high carbon) per participant; one 1" length of 1/4" rivet per participant.


Step 1. (5 minutes)
Explain the session objectives and draw the group's attention to the display of tongs.

Step 2. (5 minutes)
Select a pair of straight tongs and ask participants to identify the components/parts of the tool.

Trainer Notes

* The jaws, handles, shoulder, offset bend, and hinge-pin should be mentioned.

* Explain that tongs may be made in several acceptable ways and that today they will experiment with one.

Step 3. (10 minutes)
Have the group explore the assortment of tongs and discuss the uses of each type.

Trainer Notes

* Have participants refer back to previous sessions and describe how they used some of the tongs during forging activities.

* Stress the relationship between the specific jaw shapes and the size and shape of materials they are meant to hold.

* Explain the variety of steels which may be used in tong-making and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

* Invite participants to experiment picking up and holding various round and square bars with different tongs.

Step 4. (15 minutes)
Demonstrate how to form the jaws and shoulder (hinge facet) of the tongs.

Trainer Notes

* Emphasize the following aspects as you work:

- forming of jaws
- setting of shoulder
- forming of shoulder
- drawing out of handles
- making both blanks identical

* During the demonstration, repeat your motions several times.

* Ask the group if they have any questions before working on their own.

Step 5. (60 minutes)
Have participants practice forming jaws and shoulders using the 10" lengths of bar.

Trainer Notes

* Explain that two of the bars are provided for practice only and that they will be using the other bars to make the tongs.

* Have the group practice the jaws and shoulders over and over again.

* Move around the stations, and assist participants who are having difficulty with the new techniques.

Step 6. (20 minutes)
When the participants feel they have practiced enough, have them form jaws and shoulders on the other lengths of bar which will be further worked into tongs.

Step 7. (15 minutes)
Demonstrate punching the shoulder, making the rivet, and riveting the tongs.

Trainer Notes

Emphasize how to avoid damaging the already finished shoulder.

Step 8. (40 minutes)
Ask the group to punch, make the rivets, and rivet their tongs.

Step 9. (25 minutes)
Demonstrate how to align the jaws and adjust handles for use as straight tongs, and have participants do the same to complete their tongs.

Step 10. (15 minutes)
Discuss the various specialized tongs which can be formed by reshaping the jaws of the straight tongs. Demonstrate one or more types.

Trainer Notes

* Explain that no time is available right now for participants to experiment with different types of tong jaws, but that they may do so during open shop in the afternoon.

* Encourage questions during the discussion.

Step 11. (10 minutes)
Ask participants to identify other tools which could be formed using the basic tong forging procedure.

Trainer Notes

* Ask the group to think of other riveted tools (e.g., pliers, clippers, nippers, snips, etc.).

* Briefly mention any significant deviations from the procedure where applicable.

* Explain steel grade requirements for the tools identified.

Step 12. (15 minutes)
Have participants share any difficulties encountered while forging the tongs and ask for volunteers from the group to explain or demonstrate how they might be avoided/corrected.

Step 13. (5 minutes)
Distribute Attachment 18A, "Tools for Many Trades" and discuss the illustrations briefly with the group.

Trainer Notes

* Explain that the tools illustrated on the page are only a few of the many and varied pieces which can be crafted by a skilled blacksmith.

Attachment 18-A


Tools for many trades