Perun Blacksmithing Tongs
If you're like me, you've never heard anyone talking about this brand name. Maybe you can find a review of one of their anvils if you search through Youtube, but what about their other products?
Well, I couldn't resist the temptation and decided to buy a pair from Blacksmith Depot. I had misplaced my other set of V-bit Bolt Jaw tongs for holding 3/8" bar, so it was as good an excuse as any. Right?
The description on the Blacksmith Depot website specifically said that these tongs would hold stock between 3/8" and 5/8" - always a warning sign since no tongs will hold that wide a range of stock comfortable or securely. Still, knowing that I was using them for the smallest size listed and confident that I could reshape them a bit if needed, I felt good about the purchase.
Imagine my surprise when I get them in the mail a few days later and saw that not only would they not hold 5/8" bar, but they were so incredibly delicate around the jaw that even holding 3/8" bar was something of a challenge. Because of the design of the bit, square bar would sink down into the valley and be held with relative security, but round bar was just barely captured and quick to pop out.
As you can see in the company photograph, the tongs look large and beefy. You're told that these will hold reasonably thick iron, and the jaws and reins look parallel in the photo, so you'd expect that that's what they'll look like when wrapping around some 3/8" round stock you're about to hammer into shape.
Now, compare that to the photos of the tongs as I received them, a 6" nail in the jaws, and you begin to see just how small the things are. That nail has a shank diameter of 1/4" and you can see that it's held perfectly, the jaws parallel just like in the company picture. There's no extra meat in the wings of the bit, but even if you drew them out to paper-thin to get some more room... you'd still have the problem of the jaw right behind the bit being so small. I measured them at roughly 1/4" in diameter, far too wispy to provide any long term strength when twisting and bending bars larger than 1/4". In other words, even if you could forge the bit to a new shape, the Achilles Heel would still exist right behind the bit.
Overall, the Perun model 80x400 tongs are an absolute delight in the hand. They are light, well balanced and comfortable. The reins have no sharp edges and are long enough to get your hand away from the heat of the forge. Their appearance is spot on with what you expect to see in a blacksmith shop.
They just aren't sized to hold 3/8" bar like the advert claimed.
If I was to describe these tongs in one word, it would be "dainty". They're great for doing light work with light steel and I'd certainly recommend them to anyone needing tongs for 1/4" and 5/16" bar stock.