Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Bit of Blacksmithing - Flat Jaw Pliers

I once did a pin making demo and somebody made a comment about the fact that I was using a modern set of pliers.  I had removed the plastic on the handles to make them look as period as possible but some people ...

Anyway, since then this project has been on my list.  I wanted to create a period pair of needle nosed pliers.  I was also looking for a bit of practice doing the hinge which can also be used on tongs and other such tools.  I was well into the process and forgot to take step by step photos until nearly the end.

I started by placing my hand on the anvil and tracing the shape of my hand.  You'll see in the finished pliers that they are not symmetrical.  As it turns out they fit my hand perfectly and I believe if they were perfectly symmetrical they would not be as comfortable in the palm of my hand.  Once shaped and fitted I did a small bit of filing to ensure the joint was a good fit.  I then used a small nut and bolt to do the test fitting.


I placed the jaws of the pliers in the vice while still a bit warm so that I could tweak the alignment of the handle.


I quenched the pliers and tested the feel in my hand.  Once satisfied I removed the nut and bolt and used a nail to fashion a rivet which I peened over cold to complete the pliers.


I was so happy with the production that I immediately started making a pair of scroll pliers as well using all the same principles except that the tip of the pliers were rounded instead of flat jaws.


I was happy enough to finish the two halves of the pliers but ran out of energy and daylight before I completed them.  I'll come back to them some other time.