S hooks are one of the simple products I offer in the Prairie PastTimes gallery. I make a batch of them and eventually they sell out and I have to make another bunch. There are four standard sizes of stock (nails) and the are formed into four different lengths.
The process is straight-forward, not very interesting but not really unpleasant just repetitive. I may make about 20 of each size at a time.
Step one is to hack off the head a the common nail with the hydraulic forging press. That leaves a nice flat taper just like cutting off over the hardy. The press work is done cold and it is nearly effortless. A round taper is forged on both ends with torch heat. I have a special swage block dedicated to such small stock taper work.
The hook is finished by pulling the end curves on a jig. Each size stock has its own jig.
The reason I’ve bothered to post this is that it relates to the last post about creative dreaming. When I set out to make this batch of hooks I could only find a couple of old jigs so I figured I’d make new simple ones and get them collected and stored together, once and for all. As It turned out I did the designing of the new jigs in that awakening dream state.
The new jigs are all made with vise tangs of 3/16” x 1.25” x 3.5” angle. I have a whole drawer full of these on hand most of the time. If I run low I have a fabrication shop cut a 10’ stick with their Piranha shear and get another 34 of them. That saves a lot of time and bandsaw blade wear.
In this case I used two of the angle pieces to make the vise tang. They are paired in an offset that lifts the working face away from the vise jaw and gives me space to clamp the tapered stock with a slim nose vise grip.
|Offset Tang Allows Clamping Space|
I cut some short tube sections for the radius mandrels. It seems nice to me to keep the MIG weld bead inside the tube so there is no interference with the bending. If the diameter of the tube is small it may be necessary to cut part of the wall away to make that weld. Torch preheating make the result nicer too.
|Checking Length and Marking the Center Point|
A small notch on the front edge of the jig makes it easy to place the straight tapered workpiece and use the correction pen or silver pencil to put a dot at the center point. The workpiece is then positioned and clamped. Torch heat is applied and the curve is swept with the dedicated lever.
|Localized Heat to Bend|
One nice thing about a rather mindless job like this is that it allows time to think about other things. In this case I thought about what goes into S hook design. More about that soon.