Introduction: Handy Push/Pull Hook Stick

Almost 40 years ago in my first apartment in Indiana I found that the heating vents overhead were almost impossible to get to when I wanted to adjust the air flow.

The Handy Hookstick was born from that problem that needed solving.

Constructed from a 3 foot piece of 3/8" oak dowel and a 4 1/2" piece of coathanger wire, over the decades since it's creation I have found innumerable uses for it.

It leans quietly in a corner behind a door most of the time, and I've found it so useful that I've created more and have one in the basement, one in the garage and one in the car as well.

This afternoon when I grabbed it to poke a recalcitrant curtain into place above my head it occurred to me that it would make a nice quick Instructable.

Ways I've used it over the years, that I can remember:

  • Adjusting heating vents.
  • Shooing a bird out of the house that came in through an open door.
  • Retrieving items in tight spaces. (Stick a magnet to the wire and you can pick up screws, nails, etc.)
  • Pushing, pulling, or otherwise manipulating things too high to easily reach without use of a ladder.
  • Retrieving things in water - pools, fish tanks, toilet tanks, etc.
  • Moving aside curtains or other object to look for spiders, scorpions, etc.


None of these dimensions or materials are critical, this is just what I had on hand one cold day in 1979. Any strong stick, stiff wire, etc would work fine.

  • 36" (90 cm) x 3/8" (9mm) oak dowel
  • 4-1/2" (11.5 cm) coat hanger wire
  • 20" (50 cm) nylon cord
  • 4-1/2" (11.5 cm) coat hanger wire
  • 20" (50 cm) nylon cord
  • 2 small nylon zip ties
  • Accessory - 3/8" neodymium disk magnet


  • Drill and 1/8" (3 mm) bit
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Knife suitable for making a shallow groove in oak


  • Bend wire to more or less the shape in the picture, ie a 3/8" long sharp 90 degree bend at one end, a 1/2" hook at the other going in the opposite direction.
  • Drill holes about 1-1/2" from each end of the dowel
  • Cut a shallow groove from one of the holes to that end of the dowel
  • Insert the 90 degree bend of the wire through the hole and lay the length of the wire into the groove in the dowel.
  • Use the zip ties to hold the wire in the groove, one close to the end, one close to where the wire enters the hole.
  • Run the cord through the hole at the other end of the dowel and tie the ends together.
  • Stick a magnet to the wire and it's handy for retrieving screws or whatnot dropped behind furniture or other tight spaces.