Blacksmithing tools - Railroad spike bolt tongs.

  • Published on Mar 10, 2015
  • Contact me:
    Even thought of making anything else to make of a railroad spike, but a knife, bottle opener or letter opener?
    Why not turn them into a useful pair of tongs!?
  • EntertainmentEntertainment

Comments • 111

  • Josh Rowe
    Josh Rowe 4 months ago

    How long was the rivet?

  • Gary Gilbert
    Gary Gilbert 5 months ago

    I finally found this video and it was exactly what I had been looking for. Well done and easy to grasp the concepts and surprising just how large a set of tongs can be made just from 2 spikes.
    Love it.

  • Gabriel Bowman
    Gabriel Bowman 6 months ago

    Wow! Just fucking....WOW!

  • Garon Power
    Garon Power 6 months ago

    This video is fantastic! Thank you!

  • dequinox
    dequinox 7 months ago

    What hammer weight did you use here?

    • dequinox
      dequinox 7 months ago

      @Joey van der Steeg Oh ok so not so heavy... It looked bigger. I have a 3 lb cross-peen I prefer for general use, so I'll give it a try with that. Thank you for the awesome tutorial! I have kept a bucket full of these spikes around for years intending to do knives with them, but a set of tongs made from (roughly) 1045 steel would be nice, as they'd be a bit stronger than mild steel.

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  7 months ago

      Around 2.5 to 2.75lbs

  • Blake Horton
    Blake Horton 9 months ago

    It takes me five heats just to get the the head of the spike to square up , I think what I'm seeing is that he's bringing that thing up to forge welding heat , I'm to nervous for that but I'm going to try tonight , it's rediculouse how much time I see that I have been wasting

  • Harrys'Schmiede
    Harrys'Schmiede 9 months ago


  • Pete McWade
    Pete McWade 10 months ago

    Lots of spikes around here along old abandoned dismantled tracks. Going to go get more. Looks like excellent material to practice with.

  • Jonathon Braz de Santana
    Jonathon Braz de Santana 11 months ago

    Beautiful tool!

  • Pat Lowney
    Pat Lowney Year ago

    Nice work there who'd ever think that a railroad spike would do that. Well now I got to walk along side the train tracks and pick up some railroad spikes they're everywhere in the area where I live. They recently changed the ties and there's a bunch of spikes laying around.

  • manny jimenez
    manny jimenez Year ago

    You sir are an artist. Inspired me to follow my unexplicable urge to forge

  • Larry Fetters
    Larry Fetters Year ago +1


  • Duke Sinner
    Duke Sinner Year ago

    EXCELLENT!! You make it look so effortless,really like your work and videos,MORE,MORE,MORE!!

  • William Cunha
    William Cunha Year ago

    Beautiful job!

  • Dgozz122
    Dgozz122 Year ago

    Would you make a pair like these to sell?

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  Year ago

      Thank you very much!
      I do sell these on demand. Contact me:

    • Dgozz122
      Dgozz122 Year ago

      VERY nice anvil by the way!

  • MrShoeguy
    MrShoeguy Year ago

    Why does it have long pointy handles?

  • War pig Hammer
    War pig Hammer 2 years ago

    You are real good I get tired fast when I make stuff . I like your anvil and tongs.

  • Scott Reynolds
    Scott Reynolds 2 years ago

    Nice tongs, bro ! My favorite!

  • kilogram064
    kilogram064 2 years ago +11

    Didn't realize that there is that much steel in a railroad spike.

  • Lenblacksmith
    Lenblacksmith 2 years ago +1

    How far from 1st set down and the 2nd please?

  • Charis Williams
    Charis Williams 2 years ago

    Keep up the great work!

  • Ben Carpenter
    Ben Carpenter 2 years ago +3

    it should be legal to collect railroad spikes from the tracks. Me and my friend got 41 lbs of railroad spikes and a 21 lb tie plate ; it was a lot of fun walking home with all that weight

    • Blake Horton
      Blake Horton 9 months ago

      Yes and if they catch you there is no playing stupid or saying your an artist or blacksmith , to them it's stealing considering they have magnets that recover all the steel off the tracks and they themselves scrap it and get a return on they're investment of the lost spikes and other steel laying around that was not salvaged

    • Blake Levien
      Blake Levien Year ago

      It's legal to buy some at a salvage or metal yard. It's illegal to take from existing tracks.

  • Julián Giménez
    Julián Giménez 2 years ago

    a beautiful tong. really nice job.

  • Donald Carbone
    Donald Carbone 2 years ago

    Thought you were going to make tongs to hold the curved head of the spike. I didn't think you could make a regular bolt tong out of a spike. Was very impressed. Your as much a artist as a working blacksmith. I learned something there. Thx

  • Nick Freed
    Nick Freed 2 years ago

    I really like your Anvil, what kind is it?

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  2 years ago +1

      Nick Freed
      It's a drop forged steel Original PFP Peddinghaus anvil.
      No longer produced.

  • Lewis Sargent
    Lewis Sargent 2 years ago

    How the heck do you do that at the beginning without the tip fish lipping?!

    • Lewis Sargent
      Lewis Sargent 2 years ago

      Sweet, thanks!

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  2 years ago

      You have to hit hard enough. If you hit too soft, you will only move the outer layer of the material, and not the core - resulting in fish lipping.
      If you hit hard enough, you will move the core too, resulting in no fish lips.

  • dunch88
    dunch88 2 years ago

    That's outstanding Joey,

  • Karl Gustav
    Karl Gustav 2 years ago


  • Pinoy Blacksmith
    Pinoy Blacksmith 2 years ago +5

    Been watching your videos for a while, but I just noticed that you're ambidextrous.

  • phil ward
    phil ward 2 years ago

    As always, beautiful work. Do you work both halves of the tongs in the same stages or do you complete one half then the other? I find that I get better symmetry when I do each stage of each half at the same time. Thanks Joey. You have taught me a lot.

  • FirstName LastName
    FirstName LastName 2 years ago

    Hey, I'm new to blacksmithing and I'm getting started on some easy stuff, just some rr spikes. Is there a certain pair of tongs I would need to hold them while hammering? Or a certain set of tongs you recommend?? Any help would be much appreciated

  • FromTheIsland
    FromTheIsland 2 years ago +1

    You did in one heat, what took me a whole afternoon of hammering to do.

  • Homemade Blades
    Homemade Blades 2 years ago

    Are you left handed?

  • Vince Stambulic
    Vince Stambulic 2 years ago

    Very nice tongs. I just tried to replicate them and I have a long ways to go lol thanks for the awesome vid.

  • Stan Tilton
    Stan Tilton 2 years ago +1

    Nice clean set of tongs Joe. Well done.

  • Ian Mccombs
    Ian Mccombs 2 years ago

    now thats a dependable pair of tongs i think they're your best pair yet

  • Dany St-Gelais
    Dany St-Gelais 3 years ago

    just start the video, wow your hammer hit are precise !

  • Eli Lefler
    Eli Lefler 3 years ago

    what size hammer is that? and style?

  • Daniel
    Daniel 3 years ago

    Could you use an axe head to form the split in the business end of the tongs?

  • Cpt Lynx
    Cpt Lynx 3 years ago

    when making a hot cut or punch, do you quench, temper and or heat treat it?

    Nice work btw

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago +1

      Thank you.
      No, I don't harden and temper my hot cuts and punches. They are only normalized after forging.
      But they are not heat treated after that.

  • TheRakuman
    TheRakuman 3 years ago +6

    Very cool! I just walked a railroad and found 5 loose spikes in about 15 minutes. I can't wait to get home and make something with them! I'm on vacation right now.

    • Donald Carbone
      Donald Carbone 2 years ago +2

      I think they consider it trespassing. If they are that bitchy screw em

    • Chris
      Chris 3 years ago +1


    • Chris M
      Chris M 3 years ago +2

      Just FYI walking the track taking spikes is considered trespassing and theft, and people have been prosecuted for it.

  • khaynbloodstorm
    khaynbloodstorm 3 years ago

    How heavy is that hammer? you move that metal like it's nothing.

    • Karl Gustav
      Karl Gustav 2 years ago

      damn. i forge for 20 years now; the regular i use is 1.7kg. after 5 minutes, i cant feel my shoulder with my 2.5kg. and of course i need way more time to do the same job than yours.

    • khaynbloodstorm
      khaynbloodstorm 3 years ago

      +TechnicusJoe - Joey van der Steeg very impressive. I've yet to make any tongs yet :P. just began and learning! thanks for the quick reply.

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago

      +khaynbloodstorm The hammer in this video weighs 2,5lbs.

  • Paracorder
    Paracorder 3 years ago

    Is it one spike per rein?

  • fnielson
    fnielson 3 years ago

    What type of tongs are you using to forge the bolt tongs? They don't look like bolt tongs...

    • fnielson
      fnielson 3 years ago

      +TechnicusJoe - Joey van der Steeg Thanks for the quick reply!

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago +2

      +fnielson The tongs I use in this video are V-bit tongs or otherwise known as hollow bit tongs.

  • Toby Stout
    Toby Stout 3 years ago

    sorry for my dumb question, but how do you "fire weld" the ends shut? I'm really new to this sort of thing.

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago +1

      +Toby Stout
      I can type a few pages worth of what one does in fire welding.
      But that takes long for us both. I'd suggest that you look up my forge welding = fire welding videos on my channel.
      Preferably the most recent ones.
      You then should be able to understand how I fire weld the ends shut.
      If you got more questions after that, let me know.

  • SUPERMAR10312
    SUPERMAR10312 3 years ago

    6:30 that seems like way more metal than what I saw a second ago

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago +2

      If you look at 5:57, you can see there still is a tremendous amount of stock in the spike.
      This is drawn down to the same thickness as the hinge plate and then tapers all the way down.
      A big volume can become a long taper. This gives you perhaps the idea there is more material.
      Compare the 2 shots. There is a lot of material first, not to long. Then there is a lot of material, thinned out and very long. It's steel that I moved to a new place.

  • SUPERMAR10312
    SUPERMAR10312 3 years ago +4

    At 1:55 why do you life up the metal after you hit it?

    • SUPERMAR10312
      SUPERMAR10312 3 years ago +4

      +TechnicusJoe - Joey van der Steeg That makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the extremely quick reply! I'm going to be getting into blacksmithing soon, but before I can get all I need I figured I might as well watch videos and read about it.

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  3 years ago +21

      I lift the steel, so the anvil doesn't rob the heat out of my stock. So I can forge hotter for longer.
      Making it easier to forge to the steel.

  • Prairie Soapery
    Prairie Soapery 3 years ago

    Would you please show how you set the bolt size and how you adjust the reins with bolt in place. Nice work!

  • Jbowen Media
    Jbowen Media 4 years ago

    Will this method work with half inch stock?

    • Whilom Forge
      Whilom Forge 5 months ago

      Yes. You’d just need to make them for smaller material.

  • Sparks family farm
    Sparks family farm 4 years ago

    how much do you charge for a set of tongs like this?

  • Ramos Hamos
    Ramos Hamos 4 years ago

    why do you lift the metal off of the anvil after you hit it?

    • Koff
      Koff 3 years ago

      They do that to conserve heat in the material, letting them work for longer per heating.

  • Tyler Whte
    Tyler Whte 4 years ago

    Very nice tool. Great job.

  • Chuck Norris
    Chuck Norris 4 years ago

    Joe how much weighs your hammer? Is it 2kg?

    • Joey van der Steeg
      Joey van der Steeg  4 years ago

      @Radek Kamiński
      no, it weighs a few grams more than 1kg, about 1050g or so.

  • hunter joe
    hunter joe 4 years ago

    Awesome job best I have ever seen----Thanks

  • barkulator
    barkulator 4 years ago

    Pretty impressive! Beautiful work.

  • TAsatorT
    TAsatorT 4 years ago +29

    I still say you make this look TOO easy!

  • John Mason
    John Mason 4 years ago

    I have a question. I've watched at least two videos of you forging the heads of railroad spikes back into themselves. I've done this a few times and quite often I get inclusions. Do you prep them at all? Have you ever gotten inclusions? Is it just practice and getting the angles right? Is that what you mean by "forge welding the overlaps shut"?

    • Dakota Burke
      Dakota Burke 3 years ago

      yeah it just happens so that's what you do, forge weld the laps shut

  • Rick Nowlin
    Rick Nowlin 4 years ago

    Nice work. How many heats do you save when you rock the iron between strikes?

  • Felix Dzerjinsky
    Felix Dzerjinsky 4 years ago

    Joe, have you ever gone back and watched one of your own videos and caught yourself using a technique that you needed to change? I would think that filming yourself and then watching them would be a great way to tune your skills.....

  • Lee Winslett
    Lee Winslett 4 years ago +1

    What is the weight of that hammer you're using?