Types of blacksmith tongs: everything for you to know

Every blacksmith knows for sure how important it is to have blacksmithing tongs in the forging process. When a blacksmith works with any kind of metal, it is vital to make it hot metal to start working with it.

The 2000 degrees Fahrenheit blacksmith forge definitely helps with it, but for a blacksmith to work with it, it is absolutely essential to take a tong, and it is much better to have a couple of them. 

If you wonder, how many types of blacksmith tongs are there, and why a blacksmith surely needs them, then you are in the right place to collect all of this information.

What is a blacksmith tong? Everything you need to know

Why there are several types of tongs and why they are essential is surely the information we need to know. But before we go to this, we have to know what is a blacksmith tong exactly and how the blacksmith uses it.

So, let’s figure it all out and find out all the details about it.

The blacksmith tong is a big pair of metal tongs for blacksmith forging. It is an instrument to grip the heated metal and maneuver it. The blacksmiths also use these instruments in shaping, since this is where they also can help to handle working with the hot metal. 

A lot of blacksmiths, especially, beginners, use standard V-Bit tongs because this type of blacksmithing tongs is kind of universal.

They can help you to work with square stock and round stock, and this thing is significant in blacksmithing. If you can handle this, your work promises to be much easier and more convenient. 

Parts of the blacksmith tong: know the details

Every pair of blacksmithing tongs consists of several parts, and each of them has its name, which you actually should know if you are going to become a blacksmith. 

The first part of the blacksmith tong is the handles, and the handles of the tong are called reins. You should use the reins to open and close every pair of blacksmithing tongs. It helps you to enable holding metal.

The second part is the place where the reins meet. It is the joint. The joint helps you to open and close tongs. It holds the two reins together, and it keeps them tight enough.

The last part of the blacksmith’s tong is the jaws. They are also known as the bits of the tong. This part makes all the actions that are about grasping and gripping metal.

They help you to work with the metal in the blacksmith forge. This part of the blacksmithing tongs is the part that can be various, depending on the metal you are working with or on the task you are performing. You can forge the jaws yourself, but it would be much easier to buy several types of blacksmith tongs. 

So, this is all you need to know about the anatomy of the blacksmith tong. 

The length of the blacksmith tong: what is best

It is also important to know how long your blacksmith tong should be to make your work more comfortable and effective. So, let’s find it out.

The usual length of the tongs varies from 15in up to 36in. 

Long tongs help you to keep your hands out of the forge to not feel this extreme heat, but they may be quite heavy for you, and it may not be easy to handle them. 

Short tongs help to make you have less mechanical leverage, keeping your hands quite close to the fire, and they are not heavy, their weight is less than the weight of the long tongs.

Which one should you choose is the question that only you can answer. It depends on the type of work you will do and the type of metal you will work with. It also depends on your preferences. 

But it is recommended by skilled blacksmiths to buy a pair of blacksmith tongs, which both have different lengths. It helps you to work with different types of metal. And it will definitely help you when you have occasional difficulties. 

You should select several blacksmith tongs which range from 15in up to 20in. 

Why is it important to have a set of tongs?

It is all about the importance of having the blacksmith tong itself in general. As it said, without a blacksmith tong, like V-bit tongs, bent knee tongs, or hammer tongs, you barely can do a thing in a blacksmith forge. To work with metal, you need to make the metal heated.

Doing this with your hands, even in special burnproof gloves, is impossible and dangerous to your health. Seriously, this isn’t something you should risk your life for.

This is the most essential reason why you need a blacksmith tong. Other causes are that you can do a lot of work with them, they can help you with many things. You can only perform tasks in a blacksmith forge with them. 

And it is significant to note that you will absolutely need not just one tong, but a set of your own tongs. It will be quite difficult for a blacksmith to perform tasks, to work in a blacksmith workshop without several blacksmith tongs.

You will definitely work with different types of metal because you just cannot work with only one, it is impossible.

Every metal requires special handling and a special blacksmith tong. If you use only one for each of them, you will have many difficulties doing your job.

This is why you require several blacksmiths tongs, and you require different tongs. 

Different types of blacksmith tongs

V-bit tongs

V-bit tongs have a shape of a circle near the joint. The circle ends with the bits that are pointing straight out above this circle. It is important to note, that even in a standard V-bit tong if both of the bits are parallel, they may have curved sides.

These sides can create a certain hollow V-shape on both sides. So, let’s say, you should take a look at every type of V-bit bolt tongs before buying. 

As it said, the V-bit bolt jaw tongs are universal tongs, a tong that can help you with multiple amounts of tasks. For instance, with V-bit bolt tongs, you can hold round stock and squared workpieces. You can easily grasp objects that have different shapes and different sizes. 

You can also perform one of the most popular tasks you can with V-bit bolt jaw tongs. It is knife making. The tongs are perfect for this task.

Why is that so? Because you can make a grip around the blade using this blacksmith tong without any problem. While the V-bit tong is holding the blade of the knife like that, you can shape the blade. 

It is better to use them in a pair of tongs, for example, use V-bit and wolf jaw tongs.

Advantages of the V-bit tongs

  1. So, speaking of that, it is important to mention that the V-bit tong is a perfect choice for a beginner blacksmith. 
  2. You can use this tong for plenty of applications.
  3. You can also hold hollow pieces using this tong. 
  4. You can easily work with a high range of stock sizes using this tong. 

Disadvantages of the tongs

  1. Unfortunately, this blacksmith tong may be quite expensive.
  2. Surely, there are applications that you cannot perform only using this tong.

Wolf jaw tongs

The wolf jaw tong is a tong with a wavy tooth-like shape. This shape is unique and useful, it lets you adapt a lot of stocks that have different sizes and different shapes. You will have a very secure and tight grip using wolf jaw tongs. 

The tong is also the one that is quite easy to use and the one that can certainly help you in a blacksmith workshop.

The wolf jaw tongs are popular among both skilled blacksmiths and beginner blacksmiths. The weight of the tong is not massive, this is not a heavy tong that is impossible to hold for a beginner. 

The wolf jaw tongs and the V-bit tongs are often a pair of tongs that are bought together and used together. If you are a beginner blacksmith, you definitely should buy both of them since a pair of tongs will provide you with perfect work. 

Advantages of the wolf jaw tongs

  1. This tong will help you to perform very different tasks. 
  2. You can easily grip stocks that have different shapes and different sizes.
  3. You can make a knife of mild steel with this tong. Bladesmithing is something the wolf jaw tongs perform perfectly.
  4. If you are a beginner, this is what will help you improve your skills, when you use a pair of tongs, for example, this tong and a V-bit.

Disadvantages of the wolf jaw tongs

  1. The wolf jaw tongs may be expensive.

The Z jaw tongs

The Z offset tongs have a distinct z-shaped jaw, as you can see in the name of the tong. This specific structure is made for holding a knife because it accommodates the shape of the blade.

So, if you are going to do bladesmithing, this tong will definitely help you since you will see that the blade of the knife sits perfectly well in the Z tongs. 

The Z jaw tongs are not very useful if you use that tong for general-purpose forging. The tongs are highly specialized, they can serve only one purpose.

And, to be completely honest, they are not that easy to use, like the previous blacksmith tongs. If you are a beginner, it promises to be quite difficult for you.

Advantages of the Z jaw tongs

  1. If you want to do blacksmithing, and you already have certain skills, the Z offset tong is a perfect choice for you.
  2. The Z jaw tongs will provide you with a secure hold of the blade of the knife of mild steel.

Disadvantages of the Z jaw tongs

  1. You can’t say that they are versatile and useful in different and numerous applications.

Flat jaw tongs

Flat jaw tongs, which are also known as flat-nosed tongs, have rectangular flat bits. You can call this shape simple, and it is true. Thanks to this shape, you can use the flat jaws as a starting material for other tongs.

The flat jaw tongs are designed specifically for working with such metal pieces that are flat stock. The shape of the flat jaw tongs is made only for such a task.

And they are perfect for the task of working with a flat stock. The flat-nosed tongs will certainly provide you with a secure grip that allows you to have more safety during the working process.

Fortunately, it is also quite easy to work with tongs, even if you are a beginner.

To be honest, you can use a flat jaw tong another way, you can use them for forging tongs. 

Advantages of the flat jaw tongs

  1. You can use them for forging tongs. It will be easy even for a beginner if you are going to forge the tongs from exactly this tong.
  2. You have a secure grip working with mild steel and a flat jaw tong.
  3. The flat jaw tong is perfect to work with flat stock.
  4. This blacksmith tong is not very expensive.
  5. They have smooth surfaces. This kind of surface does not damage the workpiece.

Disadvantages of the flat jaw tongs

You can use the flat jaw tongs mostly for flat stock. This blacksmith tong is not versatile.

Duckbill tongs

As you can see in the name of this blacksmith tong, the shape of the duckbill tong is designed to form a duck bill. Just like the flat jaw tongs, the duckbill tongs are also designed specifically for working with flat metal pieces.

Their bits are perfect for holding flat metal workpieces because the bits are made of solid metal and can easily place on the edge of the corners of the metal workpiece.

With the duckbill tongs, you can move the flat metal pieces without any effort or problems.

Fortunately, the duckbill tongs are easy to work with, and they can be perfect for you if you are a beginner. 

Advantages of the duck bill tongs

  1. You can easily work with flat metal stock if you use the duck bill tong.
  2. The duckbill tong may have a looped design.
  3. The tongs can be forged in other blacksmith tongs, but it is good for you if you have experience in that.

Disadvantages of the duckbill tongs

You can use them only if you are working with flat stock or if you are going to forge a blacksmith tong from the duckbill tong.

Box jaw tong

Box jaw tongs have a flat surface at the end of the bits, and the bottom side of them is fully flat, too. 

The box jaw tong is versatile, but they are especially perfect if you are working with blades of metal and metal sheets.

The shape of the tong provides you with a firm, secure grasp that can be kept during the whole forging process. The sizes of the tong vary.

And this is what helps you if you are working with a lot of materials of different sizes. Several box jaw tongs with different sizes are useful in a blacksmith workshop.

Advantages of the box jaw tongs

  1. Best for working with metal sheets.
  2. They have a secure grip.
  3. They are good for bladesmithing.

Disadvantages of the box jaw tongs

  1. You have to use different-sized box jaw tongs. 
  2. The box jaw tongs require consistent stock width.

Pick-up tongs

You can use pickup tongs to pick up and hold the heated metal or the metal that is dropped. The grip of the tong is secure and firm.

Pickup tongs can also pick up the stock that is rounded, and they can pick up rivets. But you can use pickup tongs or rivet tongs only for this task, they are not versatile.

But even if you are a beginner, it will be easy for you to use pickup tongs and rivet tongs.

Advantages of the pickup tongs

  1. You can use pickup tongs and rivet tongs for chiseling work.
  2. You can use them for holding rivets.
  3. They can pick up a lot of different metals. 

Disadvantages of the pickup tongs

You can use it only for picking up things.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different blacksmith tongs for?

The different blacksmith tongs, like bent knee tongs, hammer tongs, and flat tongs, serve different purposes. They can hold a metal piece, they can grip flat metal stock, or they can pick up a metal piece.

What are the different types of tongs used in forging?

You can use different tongs, like V-bit tongs, bent knee tongs, hammer tongs, and bolt tongs, for holding different types of metal, picking up metal, and bladesmithing.

What are wolf jaw tongs used for?

They are used for gripping metal pieces of different sizes and shapes. And you can use them for bladesmithing.

What are box jaw tongs used for?

You can use them for holding metal sheets and bladesmithing.

In conclusion: you should have several types of tongs

They are a lot of different blacksmith tong jaws and they serve different purposes. You can have one or two of them in your workshop. But it is better to have a pair of tongs or several types of tongs because you can do a lot of tasks if you use them.

You never know when you need a certain one, so buy them beforehand.

Read also: 10 Blacksmithing Projects That Sell Fast and 5 Tips To Get Started

Christian Griffin

Since childhood, I have been fond of metalwork. I believe that this material, despite its strength, could be more malleable, if you know how to work with it correctly. I recently opened my shop where I sell tools for metalwork.

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