Tag-Team Tongs

The 2010 Calgary Mail-In Forging Exercise requires participants to get a helping hand

When Marshall Iles and I first discussed the 2010 Calgary Mail-In Forging Exercise, the shoer from Alberta said he wanted something that had a real Calgary feel, yet was a departure from the ordinary. As soon as I suggested forging a pair of tongs, he immediately agreed. Only later did I realize I was to write the article on the exercise. I apologize to all you expert toolmakers.

The World Championship Blacksmiths’ Competition has always had such a strong two-man team influence, so it is only appropriate to finally bring this to the Calgary Mail-In. The desired result for this exercise is a pair of bolt tongs that will hold 3/4-inch stock.

My son Cody is normally my two-man partner, but that caused a conflict because he is also my normal photographer for articles. For that reason, many of these shots will look like I have done all the work, when in reality, Cody brushes the hot stock, picks up the camera, takes a picture, strikes for most of the heat and then takes another picture. I work him like a rented mule.

I hope that you can get someone out to the forge to help you with this project. For the making of these tongs, we only used two power tools: an ancient Little Giant Trip-Hammer and a 14-inch straight grinder.

 Everyone should have a lot of fun with this year’s contest. Besides, who doesn’t need another pair of bolt tongs? It is better to have three or four…

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Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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