Rivet tongs (punch pliers)
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Joined: August 25, 2005
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Rivet tongs (punch pliers)
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Posted on Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:00 am
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Hey I haven't been here in a while....anyway, I have a problem making my rivet tongs. My first attempt was with lineman's pliers and a screwdriver bit. After giving up on trying to solder them in, I threw them away and went back to butted. My second (and most recent attempt) used a screwdriver bit again except with tile nippers....after I found out that the nippers had carbide bits on the ends of them and were eating up my primary forging hammers, I was just going to hand punch them...sadly the steel used for screwdrivers doesn't work too well. I hardened and tempered it...and did it again after it dulled...and gave up after it dulled again (without making it through one ring mind you; temper temperatures were 500 for the first and 350 for the second).

Is there an easier way to make some slit punching tongs?

Joined: March 27, 2002
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Posted on Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:18 am
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Get a box of masonry nails and grind the points into the screwdriver-blade shape that is needed. You may prefer to grind by hand, not with a bench grinder, to avoid drawing the nails' hardness. Make up several of these so a broken drift tip won't bring your piercing session to a screeching, cussing halt. Such drifts are driven with a light hammer, into either something a bit resilient or a metal plate with a little hole in it just big enough for the drift end to punch into. The drift doesn't have to get all the way through the far side of the link, just enough to get a hole started there, so when the rivet goes in it can jam there good and tight.

A temper of 350 to 400 degrees seems to be the successful one, but you need high-carbon steel to start with, like a nail-set. I've heard that a straw temper (400 deg) is the right one for the needed balance of toughness and hardness.


'The Minstrel Boy to the War is gone...'

Joined: August 25, 2005
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Posted on Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:25 am
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Thats a good idea. I'll try that. I'll look for something I can use for tongs there too.

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