Forging a Wall Hook Rack

Here is a good forging project for any blacksmith. It is a wall hook rack. It can be used to hang clothes, coats, or whatever.

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For the project I used a 20″ length of 1 3/8″ x 1/4″ flat bar for the backing, and 4 pieces of 1″ x 1/4″ flat bar each cut at 5 1/4″ long for the hooks. I used eight 1/4″ rivets.

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1) To prepare the pieces, start by marking the four 1″ x 1/4″ bars by punching center marks at 2 1/4″ from one end, and 1 1/2″ from the other end. This will then give you 1 1/2″ between the two punch marks.

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2) To prepare the back plate, center punch  2″ in from both ends. These are for the holes to be drilled to mount it to a wall. Drilling 2″ in from each end will make the holes 16″ apart, which will line up with studs in most homes. As this hook rack will carry a lot of weight, it is wise to brace it strongly.

Then, place center punch marks 4″ from each end, and 4″ away from those marks — creating four marks, each mark being 4″ away from each other. These punch marks indicate where each hook will attach to the bar.

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3) Next, you are going to heat up the four pieces of 1″ x 1/4″ bar and, where the punch marks are, fuller them down to about 3/8″ thickness. It helps to have a guillotine tool for this job. I bought mine from GS Tongs. You should check it out.

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4) Now you need to draw out each end of the bar from the fuller to the edge down to about 3/8″ x 1/4″ thickness. Then, round out each drawn out section. These will be the hooks. One section is longer than the other. That will be the bottom hook. The section left flat in the middle will be the rivet plate for attaching to the back plate. Be carful when drawing out the end sections not to hit the center section.

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5) Next, drill two 1/4″ holes, in line with each other in the center plate. Do this for all four hooks and make sure the two holes are all the same distance from each other for each hook.

Then, using those holes, mark out where to drill on the back plate, lining up everything perfect for the rivets.

Also, on the back plate, drill out the two holes for the mounting screws, appropriate for the size of screw you want to use.

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6) Now, place the four hooks back in the fire for bending. Start with the top hook, which is the shorter of the two drawn out sections. Place the hook in a vice holding firmly to the flat middle section. Hold the tip of the hook with tongs and hammer down to form the hook as shown below.

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With the bottom hook (the longer section), curl it around as you would any “J” hook, on the horn of the anvil or around a bending jig. Don’t block the drilled holes.

Clean up all rough areas with a file.

7) Place the back plate in the fire. Knock off the edges to give the bar a less manufactured look. Next, place the bar in the vice and upset each end a bit — again, for a nicer look.

Grab a counter sink and counter sink the mounting holes. Then flip the plate over and counter sink the back side of each 1/4″ rivet hole. The rivets will be hammered flush with the back plate and the counter sink provides a space for the rivet to fill in to.

Now is a good time to add a touch mark if you want.

Clean up all rough and uneven areas with a file.

8) Now, it is ready for assembly.

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Cut the rivets so that a 1/4″ sticks out the back of the back plate. Normally rivets are cut to twice their diameter, but as you will hammer them flat and flush to the back of the back plate, you need them to be shorter.

Insert the rivets, line everything up straight and in the correct orientation, and hammer the rivets down flat on the back side. You can hammer the rivets cold. As you are hammering, stop frequently to be sure everything is lining up properly. Hammer them down good and tight so there is no movement.

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And you’re done. Put a good finish on it, some beeswax or linseed oil, and hang it up. These hooks will last many decades to come.

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Happy forging…

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This project was inspired by a video posted by Black Bear Forge.

 

 

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The Forge

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When blacksmithing, you can either work with a charcoal forge or gas forge. Both have their pros and cons.

The charcoal (or coke) forge is more traditional. You can get the steel hotter and you can be more selective in what parts of the work piece you heat up over the gas forge as there is more space to move the piece around. If you want to do any forge welding, the charcoal forge is usually the better choice. The charcoal forge is also messy to use and requires more maintenance.

The gas forge is clean and easy to fire up. Propane is usually not too expensive (depending on where you live of course), and a well made gas forge will be quite fuel efficient. A well built gas forge can get up to welding temperatures, but if one is using flux, measures must be taken to protect the lining of the forge. The opening of a gas forge, depending on how it’s built, can be restrictive on the size of work pieces that can be heated.

I personally use a two burner gas forge. I do have a charcoal forge, but most often the gas forge is more than sufficient for what I’m doing and it is quicker and more efficient than a charcoal forge.

Black Bear Forge is one of my favourite Youtube channels. Here they discuss the pros and cons of the two different forges…

The Anvil

I’ve recently gotten into blacksmithing. A couple of years ago I got into welding. Both these are an amateur interest for me. Working with metal is not only a practical skill to have, but can also be an artistic outlet as well.

The three essential tools of the blacksmith are the anvil, the forge, and the hammer. Here I will write a bit about the anvil. I’ll write more about the forge in another post.

Anvils are difficult to find no matter where you live, but they are especially difficult to find where I live, which is Cambodia. At first I just used a big chunk of cylindrical steel as an anvil, and that works if it’s all that’s available. A large sledge hammer will work as an anvil also. I searched high and low on the internet to find an anvil. It’s actually not that hard to find one online, and there are places in the USA that sell new anvils for reasonable prices. But in Cambodia? No.

But, I did eventually find one. An old Cambodian man had one and wanted to sell. I wasn’t available to see it before buying, but my father-in-law went and picked it up for me, and I just had to trust his judgment on it. When it was delivered to me it was covered in rust, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover after removing the rust that I had acquired a decades old Peddinghaus anvil.

Peddinghaus is a German company founded in 1903. They are known for making some of the highest quality anvils in the world. The particular stamp on my anvil shows that it was made some time before 1930. It is possibly 100 years old. The old man I bought it from had it for the last 39 years. He acquired it shortly after the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia thus toppling the Khmer Rouge government. Somehow the anvil ended up in a ditch on the side of the road at the time, and the old man found it. Who knows who owned it in the decades prior to that or how it came to Cambodia in the first place.

The anvil is 110 pounds, and while the face is perfectly smooth, it is curved inward a small bit from many years of use. Regardless, it still has many more years of use in the decades to come.

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