I know a lot of people who crochet. So much so that a while back I decided to make my mum the best crochet hook in the world ever.
This was perhaps a little foolish endeavor for a non crocheter but allowed me to do a lot of geeky research and experiments.
I documented my research at the time on the Facebook group called the best crochet hook in the world development page https://www.facebook.com/TheBestCrochetHooksInTheW...
I also had an idea of making hooks as a hobby business but worked out that I would have to charge more than most people would want to pay for a hook when cheep alternatives are easily available.
All my research lead me to the conclusion that different crocheters look for different things in their hooks. some love points others look for flat handles etc. But most enjoy a nice comfortable handle and high craftsmanship.
Step 1: The Wood
There is a lot of building work happening at the moment where I work which meant they had old wooden pallets available.
I originally used the wood to make pens so had a lot of left over pen blanks (after running out of pen kits to go inside)
The length of most hooks is around the distance from the tip of your extended index finger to the start of your wrist. (Luckily this is around the length I had pre-cut my pen blanks.)
Cutting blanks involved checking for metal with a detector (I don't want to damage my blades) then cutting on the table or band saw.. (These were done on the table saw) If you don't have a table or band saw this can easily be done with hand tools but will likely take a little longer. Its also likely to be a little less fun.
I only used the thickest parts of the pallet (the struts which run at right angles to the main bars.. The lower part of the pallets seemed to be almost completely free of nails and screws resulting in a whole bag of blanks being available for free :))
Step 2: Turning the Shapes
I made a quick hook for a friend but neglected to documented it, I thought it would be a nice idea to document for the lovely people of instructables a slight iteration of my earlier design.
I used my earlier turning to transfer marks as a guide for where I should make coves and beads ect
These markings were made for a person with relatively small hands. You might want to make your own iterations to make a tool uniquely suited to your hand.
My marks came at about 1 inch for the high point, 3 inch for the lowest point to thumb/finger grip 3.5 for the end of the thumb grip and my hook extends for around 2.5 inches (technically the neck hook and tip).
I shaped the wood with a spindle gouge and skew. This would be a perfect time to talk about health and safety and the use of PPI (Personal Protection Equipment) If your turning it is highly recommended that you ware safety gear including a face visor or as a minimum protective glasses and sturdy footwear. Bunny rabbit slippers will not protect you as well as you would hope.
I have exceptionally sharp tools and would recommend if you are new to turning that you look into ways of getting your tools as sharp as possible. It makes a huge difference and makes the whole job more fun.. (Its wood turning not wood work.. with sharp tools all the hard work goes away)
I plan to make an instructable introducing how to make cuts on the lathe, H+S and finishes soon which will go into far greater detail about how to cut and shape the wood. I introduced the bevel of the tool before lowering it to the level that the blade cut and finessed until I had my desired outcome. Using the lines I had marked previously to inform where to cut and to approximately what depth. Though in truth for a handle I find it is best to stop the lathe and feel weather it feels right or not. and make refinements based on observations.
The neck of the hook should be as equal as possible. (The neck is the part of the hook before the handle).
Step 3: Chopping an Turning a Nipple
I was left with a bit of what I would describe as flash around the end of the tool where I was holding it with one of the lathers centers.
I carved some of this off to reduce some of the work on my tools and then held the hook with pin jaws in my chuck and turned a nipple on the end of the hook. (I have found this shape to be most comfortable in the hand allowing for the swell of the handle to be supported by the large bowl shaped indent of the palm and have the nipple supported by the fleshy edge part of the hand. (I didn't study the parts of the hand ... I'm sure there are better descriptions for these parts of the hand. Hopefully you understand the parts I'm referring to)
Step 4: Shaping the Point and the Hook
I carved away the flash in a similar method to the base of the tool.
I refined the shape with sand paper. I wanted to end up with a slight blunted point. This allows the hook to go through hoops without too much of a risk of spiting the yarn.
I used a nice fine-ish pull saw to make a 45 degree cut in the wood where I wanted my hook to be. I then carved to where the cut was to form the hook shape.
The real trick to making a good crochet hook is making it super smooth. I sanded to 300 grit before applying sanding seal and then sanded a little more. The sanding also allowed for a little finessing of of the hooks shape an properties. I like to round over the edges of the hook to make sure there are no available places for the yarn to snag.
Step 5: Finnishing
I finished this hook with melamine lacquer. I have tried other finishes and they all work but I find melamine is soothe enough to allow yarn to glide easily over it and easy to apply. I gave this hook one coat but I have been known to apply up to 5 or 6 when I want something to be glassy smooth and perfect.
Step 6: Find It a Good Home
Once you have made your crochet hook you will want to find a good home for it.
This one will be part of a birthday present for a friend of mine.
I hope she likes it.
If you make one of these hooks for yourself or a friend I would love to see it. If you would like some help let me know and I will try to be as helpful as possible.
If you do make one for a friend here is a heads up - You are likely to be asked to make more. I have made a lot of these and each time someone who loves crochet finds out.