Introduction: Longhorn Hat Hanger in 10 Steps

Railroad spikes are one of my favorite blacksmith materials. Not only are they fairly cheap in bulk, but they're incredibly versatile. This project is one example of the many simple and satisfying tools that you can make with nothing more than a railroad spike and a few simple blacksmith tools, all within the time span of one day.


Note: If you don't have any of the tools listed below, there's almost always a substitute tool that can still get the job done. Don't be discouraged from taking on a project just because you lack some of the "required" tools. These tools help make the job easier, but very few are absolutely essential to completing the project.

1. Forge ~ Or a fire with a powerful air flow.

2. Anvil ~ Or any hard relatively flat surface. I used to use an old piece of railroad track.

3. Tongs ~ Or a rusty trusty pair of channel locks.

4. Hammer ~ There's no substitute. Everyone needs a good hammer.

5. Vise ~ Or a clamp and a table to clamp onto.

6. Eye punch

7. Railroad spike

Optional tools:

1. Angle grinder w/ cutoff wheel

2. Drill press

Step 1: Split the Railroad Spike in Half, Lengthwise, About 1/3 of the Way Up From the Tip.

You can split the spike with an angle grinder, or you can heat it up in the forge and forge out the split by jamming it with another spike until you get it cut all the way through.

Step 2: Bend Out Forked Pieces to Be Perpendicular With the Rest of the Spike.

Now that the tip is separated into two independent pieces, forge them out first into a Y shape, then onto a completely T shaped piece until you have something like in the picture above.

Step 3: Forge Out the Horns.

As you might have guessed, the two prongs of the T are gonna become the horns of the longhorn. Actual longhorns tend to have a little bit of variation in the shape of their horns. Some are almost completely straight. Some bend up at the end, or have a slow curving bow shape to them. Whatever shape you want to go for, start by tapering the tips of each horn before adding the desired curvature the the horns. They don't even have to be completely symmetrical unless you want them to be. The one thing you want to make sure you do is forge them out long.

Step 4: Forge a Convex Just Below the Horns to Make a Head.

You're basically going to put a dent in your spike. Then keep forging out that dent until you're able to completely fold it back on itself.

Step 5: Add Any Desired Detailing to the Head.

You're going to want to slim down the side of the face and draw out a snout the best you can. You may even try adding some eyes or nostrils. Or you can keep it featureless like I did.

Step 6: Forge a Curve at the Head of the Spike to Make the Hook Shape.

This is what you're gonna hang your hat on. You could even hang hats or coats on the horns, but then nobody will be able to tell that it's a longhorn unless you take everything off.

Step 7: Drill or Punch a Fastening Hole.

Now you want to put a hole through the belly of your longhorn. This is where you'll drive the nail or screw that you'll use to hang your hook on the wall.

Step 8: Hang the Hook in a Spot That Will Be Impossible to Miss.

What's the point of having an awesome hat hanger if you're not able to show it to everyone who walks into your home?

Step 9: Hang Your Favorite Hat and Stare at It for a While.

Savor the moment.

Step 10: Share Pictures of Your New Hook With Every Last Living Human You Know

You just made an awesome little wall hook, and if you're like me, you're probably thinking of what you're gonna do differently the next time to make it even cooler.

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