So, you’ve set out to become the next local knife maker, or you simply want to try your hand at working with molten metal. After you’ve heated up that railroad spike or piece of flat bar in your forge, you’re going to need a good set of tongs to help you get it over to the anvil and turn it while you shape the steel into whatever you’re making. We Modern Makers believes that a pair of cheap blacksmith tongs should last you a lifetime, and be flexible enough for you to use them in a multitude of applications. Below is a list of our top five beginner blacksmith tongs that are well rounded and of good quality.
The E-Cowlboy does a bunch of things right when it comes to providing value. These tongs come with a plethora of jaw types for different material applications, and the ability to change them on the fly with a slotted quickbolt design. This allows you to change to one of the five provided jaw types quickly, letting you get the perfect grip on whatever you happen to be working at the time. This set isn’t without its drawbacks however, as we find that with the compromise of more variation in jaw types, the overal stability and rigidity is not as strong as other types of tongs on the list.
Betterforge made a good set of tongs that we’ve done an extensive review on here on We Modern Makers. They’re some of the highest quality tongs you can get for the price, and they come in a two piece set with V-Bit and Wolfjaw variants (while supplies last, and also sold separately.) While they’re on the higher side in price, the handle length, the jaw notches, and the overall durability of these tongs are about all you’d need when first starting to learn how to shape hot steel.
Caliburn created a great product with these V-Bit tongs. Not only are they cheap blacksmith tongs, but they’re as high of quality as Betterforge’s, at a better price. The only downfall is that they’re a little smaller in size, so if you plan on making some larger elaborate pieces these might not be what you’re looking for.
Another set of cheap blacksmith tongs from Betterforge, the Z type tongs wide mouth bite accomodates a wider range of material due to the size. These are a great entry level set of tongs because of the fact that they’re so versatile. Granted, you’re not going to have quite as much control due to the 17″ length, but every positive comes with a negative. Overall, we believe that these tongs offer enough flexiblity and quality to accomplish a multitude of projects.
We believe that the Wolf jaw tongs offer enough flexibility and a good amount of dexterity for the novice blacksmith. These tongs are probably one of the most expensive sets on our list, but the build quality and the versatility they offer are second to none. With multiple bite types for various materials, and just the right handle length to give you enough leverage when holding on to your steel; you really can’t go wrong with these tongs. Overall, cheap isn’t always better, and in the greater scheme of things its worth spending a few extra dollars up front for one tool than it is spending twice for a cheaper one.