In my opinion there is nothing more important in the blacksmith shop than strong tongs that hold your material securely.
Since our move to the historic Cambria Iron and Steel industrial blacksmith shop in Johnstown PA nearly three years ago, I have been studying Industrial tongs. Preserved at this location are over 1000 pair of tongs forged by the industrial smiths that worked here dating back to 1854.
For my entire forging career I have been searching for a way to forge a strong industrial V-bit tong. When I arrived in Johnstown I found all the examples and inspiration I needed to research the process. A few things became clear very quickly and one of the main discoveries and revelations I had was these blacksmiths did not hot cut the “V” portion of their jaws, (as was commonly seen in old literature and diagrams). Instead they had power hammer tooling to form the V-bit and preserve strength at the bottom rather than split it with a hot cut. This process allows you to take the mass and forge it up to have more material coverage rather than cutting deeper.
Developing tooling to do this on my hammers on a smaller scale, along with focus on preserving strong transitions was fun to research and experiment with. After about two and a half years I am happy to say that I have found a process and order of operations that produce a strong V-bit tong that I am happy to have in our forging classroom, my personal tong rack, and offer for sale to the forging community.