Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The hook making process

The process of making each hook is as follows:

A boxwood branch is sawn into lengths suitable for the finished hook.

This cylindrical piece of wood is then split in half, then the halves are halved and so on until these segments are of an appropriate size. Because of the nature of boxwood, and its unpredictable grain these 'clefts' are never straight, and sometimes the split runs off centre. I would get more hooks out of each round if I were to saw the wood into segments, but I am not willing to sacrifice the strength that cleaving retains. Wood is always stronger when cleft than when sawn.

Each segment is then carved down to a comfortable size using a swedish carbon steel knife.

Particular attention is paid to the final 35mm of the hook as this is the working end. I cut it carefully down to size, and then stick it through a brass gauge that I made. This is a sheet of brass with holes of various sizes drilled in it. This not only checks the size but also marks any high points. I then carefully shave these off to reach the desired dimensions.

I then sand the entire shaft, working through many grades, to bring out the grain and leave the hook feeling wonderfully smooth.

To cut the hook, I first use a small tenon saw to cut in at a slightly diagonal angle, I then cut up to this with my knife, creating a V. The sharp corners are then shaved off, and the point of the V softened with a small round file. Then the hook part is sanded smooth.

The hook size is then burnt onto it using a pyrography pen.

It is then given a couple of coats of raw linseed oil.

After drying the top 35mm of the hook is burnished to a shine by rubbing it with another smooth piece of boxwood.

And the crochet hook is complete!