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.
Step 1: Tools
Basic blacksmith setup you need for this.
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")
Step 2: 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
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
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
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.
Step 6: Flatten
You need to make a spot at the top where you can put a hole for nailing the hook. I heat the top, and flatten it with 3-4 good blows, you can try to make the flattened part look nice and symettrical, but I like the random way it flattens. Now jsut go through the hook and straighten anything you need to.
Step 7: Brush and Wax
Now that your done forging your hook, you take a wire brush and scrub it real good to knick off any loose scale. Then, sit it on the fire without the blast on. when it's nice and warm rub beeswax onto it. (if it bursts into flames it's to hot, it should just smoke and melt all over the steel) shake off any excess molten wax (avoid getting it on you) and toss it in the quench tank.
Once you get good you should be able to make these in less than 10 minutes each, I usually take around 3 heats to make a simple J hook.
Step 8: Drill
You could hot punch each one of these, but I like to just make up several and then take into the barn and drill the holes, it's faster that way. Make sure to use cutting oil when drilling steel. After you drill the holes, you might want to take a single cut file and remove any burrs that pop up after drilling.
Step 9: Your Finished!
Once you master the basic J hook you can add all sorts of embelishments. Below I have some pics of the hook you saw me make, along with some others.
Pic 1 all the hooks together
pic 2 my valentines day hook
pic 3 my heavy duty leafy hook (it's forged from 1/2" square steel)
and the rest are just the basic hooks.