Picture of Forging a J hook
Welcome to the first lesson in my series on basic blacksmithing. Forging a simple J hook.

This is one of the easiest things for a beginning blacksmith to make. Very simple, and good for learning hammer control. It's also a very useful thing around the house, once they start looking good you can hang them anywhere.

Visit my blog - eagleeyeforge.com to see more of my projects (mainly knives).

 P.S. The image notes still aren't working, If they start working soon I might remember to add them in.
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Step 1: Tools

Basic blacksmith setup you need for this.
  •  forge
  • anvil
  • hammer
  • tongs
  • steel -  1/4" diam round rod (you can use other sizes for different sized hooks)

There are some other tools that would help but aren't neccesary
  • drill (or drill press) and drill bit (I use 7/32")
  • pliers

Step 2: Pointy it

Picture of pointy it
Heat the steel and forge it to an almost sharp point. Hold the rod at an angle and the hammer at an angle while turning the rod every two blows or so.

Step 3: Curlique

Picture of curlique
you can use pliers to curl the point into a small curlique, or you can do it the "blacksmith way" and start the curl off the edge of the anvil and then finish curling it over. Once you learn this method it's actually faster than the pliers.

Step 4: Hooker

Picture of Hooker
decide how big of a J you want, heat that length right past the curlique, then bend it over the anvil horn. Make sure to bend it with the curlique facing out, you don't want it on the inside. 

Step 5: Cut it

Picture of cut it
decide how long you want it to be and hot cut it there. When using a hot cut you cut almost all the way through (around 2/3) and then break it off. I used to use a hot cut chisel for this, but then I finally made a hot cut hardy. Once you make a hardy for that job, you'll wonder why it took you so long, it's a super handy tool.  
ccgeek4 months ago

that's cool

ginger200372 years ago
Question, what kind of fuel do you use for your forge? I'm looking to get into blacksmithing and noticed we were in similar locations through your facebook page.
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  ginger200372 years ago
I use Bituminous coal in my forge. I get it from a place near me in Shelby NC.
Okay, thank you so much! :)

This will be my first learning project. I built a brake drum forge and built an anvil from railroad rail and a nice piece of 3/8 hardened steel. I bought 11 pairs of blacksmith's tongs at a barn sale ($50 for the lot) and got farrier's coal at the feed store. I just picked up mt metal at the local steel supply yesterday, it's Saturday so now I have all day to teach myself a new skill. This is perfect, Thank you very much.
BTW to make a hardy hole in my smallish anvil, I drilled a 7/8 hole into the top, found a surplus 1/2 drive socket that fit the hole (actually I had the socket first then determined the size hole needed), and welded it in upside down so the 1/2 square hole is facing up.
The blower for my forge is a 12 volt air mattress inflater hooked to a car battery! I really need to post my instructables but I have dial-up so it is almost useless to try.
Up date! A few hours after posting the above I stopped at a yard sale near me and found a 90 pound anvil - a dollar a pound! WOW!
RangerJ3 years ago
Cool instructable.
obax173 years ago
Hey man, awesome Instructable. Forging is something I'd like to do one day, I feel like this would be a great starting project.
Hey I'm a twelve yo in Trenton and I would like to Lear blacksmithing I live in Trenton nj any tips and thanks
If you want to get started in blacksmithing, first make sure you have permission from your parents, very important.

Next, try to find a blacksmith in your area, if you can, talk to him (or her) about help getting started. Look around online for blacksmithing tutorials, forums, groups, and anything else. Iforgeiron.com is a good online forum to start at. As is purgatoryironworks.com. When I started out, I found a great deal of good tutorials on anvilfire.com.

Hope this helps, Stephen.
CadaverIncc4 years ago
Home made hardy tool? Cool!
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  CadaverIncc4 years ago
yup, I forged it out of some leaf spring, my tiny anvil's small hardy hole was just the right size for the thick leafspring I had.
Phil B4 years ago
Thank you for a very practical, helpful Instructable. I look forward to other Instructables in your planned series. While these hooks have a decorative as well as a practical purpose, anyone who can work metal has many, many more options available for all sorts of things. In your planned series of Instructables I hope you might include one on forge welding.

We were in Germany about four years ago and attended a medieval fair. A woman had a booth there in which she demonstrated medieval blacksmithing. She was making a "J" hook like yours. The techniques were exactly what you demonstrated and what I observed at the local blacksmith shop when I was growing up in rural Iowa several decades ago. About the only thing that seems to have changed is how the iron or steel is acquired.
oldanvilyoungsmith (author)  Phil B4 years ago
I might get to the point of forge welding, I'm still learning myself, and I'm not an accomplished forgewelder yet. Right now I'm just doing some basic stuff I wished I'd had when I first started out teaching myself.