Forging a J Hook

About: Hi, I'm stephen, I'm a certified welder, working on my machinists cert, and working part time at a hardware store. Mixing in all of that with my hobbies of blacksmithing and knifemaking, only makes for more...

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 - 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

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.

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    15 Discussions


    Question 3 months ago on Step 1

    What type of steel are you using? 1018, 1020, 1045 ?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    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!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hey man, awesome Instructable. Forging is something I'd like to do one day, I feel like this would be a great starting project.

    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. is a good online forum to start at. As is When I started out, I found a great deal of good tutorials on

    Hope this helps, Stephen.

    Phil B

    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    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.