Northwest Blacksmith Association

Easy Scissor Tongs


Easy Scissor Tongs

Scissor tongs are fun to make; they are great gifts; and they are handy around the shop.

A simple, but light and very functional set of scissor tongs can be made from 1/8″ x 5/8″ mild steel.

1) Cut two pieces 18″ long and two pieces 8″ long.

Punch or drill 3/16″ holes centered 3/8″ from one end of each piece. Punch or drill 3/16″ holes, 3-7/8″ from the drilled ends of the short pieces and 5-3/8″ from the drilled ends of the long pieces.

2) Clamp the long pieces together in your vise so that the second hole is about 3/4″ below the top of the vise jaws and the first hole is at the bottom. Grip the pieces about 1.5″ above the vise jaws and twist counter-clockwise exactly 1/4 turn. Do the same for the short pieces.

3) Shape the short pieces to a gentle curve for the pinchers, with the non-drilled ends flattened and rounded. You can draw out these ends slightly, or not.

4) Shape the non-drilled ends to form handles. Fine-tune the handle shapes using a bending tool or your anvil horn and a hammer. To make the handles feel really good, use a ball peen hammer and a swage to put a cylindrical curve in the surface before you bend the handles.

5) Finally, rivet the tongs together as shown. It is important to place them in the right positions; otherwise they will not open and close properly: the parts sloping up to the right in this drawing need to go underneath the parts sloping down to the right. If you twisted clockwise, you need to do the opposite. First rivet the two long pieces together, then the two short pieces, and make sure the joints move easily. Finally rivet the drilled ends as shown. Make sure you do not hammer these rivets so hard that the joints won’t move. If you need to loosen a joint, heat the joint locally with a torch and open & close the tongs while quenching.

 

Article by Steve McGrew Incandescent Ironworks, Ltd.

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