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Hay Hook A hay hook is an easy project to start out with. When you're finished, you will have a little tool to make moving your hay bales easier. 1. Obtain your materials. You will need a piece of round iron, 7/16" in diameter, to form into the hook. Any length of stock over 10" will work - if it's longer than that, you can cut the excess off at the end of the forging process. You will also need a piece of 3/4" pipe cut to a length of 5". Set the pipe aside for now; you'll start by forging the hook and will use the pipe later to make a handle. 2. Mark your stock. The first thing you'll need to do is mark your round stock. In order to create a point for the hook, you need to draw out the end of the rod. Make a mark 2" from the end with a center punch. You will draw this 2" out to 4". 3. Draw out the end. Heat the end of your stock in the forge until it is a bright cherry red to orange color. You should heat about the end 3" of the rod so that the entire 2" you will shape is heated. When heating the metal, make sure you heat the entire 3" equally. You may need to move the rod around in the forge to get the entire area hot, rather than just holding it still while it heats. Once your metal is the right temperature, quickly remove it from the forge and place it on the face of the anvil. You will start the drawing out process by making the round stock square. Bang the top surface flat, then rotate the stock 90 degrees and bang it flat, and so on until you have four flat sides. As soon as the metal starts to lose its red coloring and become a dull cherry red, you need to reheat it to bright cherry red to orange. Be careful not to overheat the metal, though, as this will cause flaking of your finished product. The next step is to hammer the square end into an octagonal shape, using the same method as you used in making the round stock square. Once this is accomplished, hammer the stock back out to round. Remember that the point of changing the shape of the metal is not solely to change its shape but to draw the metal out into a thin point. As you hammer, your strokes should be slightly in the direction of the tip of the metal. You should keep working the metal this way until the 2 inches you started with has been drawn out to 4 inches. 4. Shape the end until it is smooth. If the end of your metal stock has flat spots or is a bit crooked, you will want to fix those mistakes now. Once you bend the curve of the hook, it is nearly impossible to improve these aspects. (Grinding and filing are possible alternatives, but it is easiest and will make for the best results to do it this way.) 5. Make the curve. Once you are pleased with the quality of your tapered end, you are ready to finish the hook by making the curve. Heat the metal, and put the original mark you made on the stock (which is now 4 inches from the end of the point) on the top of the anvil horn, near the middle of the horn. Keep in mind that the size of the hook will be determined by where on the horn you hammer out the curve - if you want a smaller hook, hammer nearer to the point of the horn, and vice versa. With the mark directly on top of the horn and the pointed end of your stock pointing away from you, quickly hammer the pointed end down around the curve. You might need to rotate your stock downward after you hammer the first part of the curve so that you can hammer down the part nearer to the point. The last inch or so of the hook should be kept straight, rather than curved in, to allow for hay bales to be slung off the end of the hook easily. 6. Add the handle. First you will need to saw the hook off from the rest of the metal stock. You can do this by placing the stock in a vice and using a hacksaw. Measure the piece of pipe to 5" and mark it with a scratch awl. Cut the piece in a bandsaw, or with a hacksaw, and dress the ends of the pipe on the grinder or with a file so they aren't sharp. Then use a drill press to drill a (size) hole in the center of the pipe. The unaltered end of the hay hook should fit perfectly into the hole, and you can arc weld or braze the hay hook into the handle. File the weld down so it is smooth.
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