Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hold Me, Squeeze Me...

(Day 18)

Today's work in the forge was making up some special bloom holding tongs. If you click on the image above, you will see the spread of sizes at about half life size. The tongs are positioned so they are at their optimum size (ie - comfortable in the fist).
I had a large gap! The largest pair, antique hand forged wrought iron, hold about 4 inch diameter. The pair to the right (industrial, factory made) are set for about 1/2 inch diameter. This was just too wide a gap. You can see the new tongs (straight out of the slack tub in the photo) are set for roughly 2 1/2 and 1 inch material.
Working with Lee Sauder and Mike McCarthy on blooms at our yearly 'Smeltfest' workshop session, I certainly have learned that tongs with pointed tips give the best grip on the irregular surface of a bloom.

Although the new tongs I've made today are hardly elegant, I chose the particular style (contoured from rectangular bar stock) quite purposefully. Yes, although there is more drawing out to do (for the handle ends), in truth this style is easier to make than the more standard 'weld reigns to jaws' type. This more primitive tong also happens to be the type most typical of Viking Age tools. So I was looking ahead to some smithing work I hope to do with Mark Pilgrim at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC - when DARC presents there this July.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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