Project Tutorials

Crochet Hook


sizing straight shaft diameter

Now we get to the critical part of the hook, the shaft. This is where the business all takes place in use and where you need to pay special attention to sizing and finish. The hook I am turning is an "F" size and the shaft is only 3.25 mm in diameter when finished. You need to support the shaft when making all your cuts to ensure a good finish off the tool and maintain a round shaft.

I start turning the shaft down to size close to the tailstock center where the support is best. Then I can slowly cut back toward the headstock side.

Skew cutting shaft with underhand support

I am using an underhand supporting grip here to steady the thin shaft. Take light cuts with the direction of cut along the length of the spindle. The shaft supported between my thumb and two of my fingers. You should feel no heat form the wood, if so then ease up on your finger pressure and cutting. Try to avoid cutting pressure that is perpendicular to the spindle axis. This can cause it to bow out and try to climb over the cutting edge.

Skew cutting shaft with overhand support

This is a cut using an overhand grip to support the shaft. My thumb rides along the tool rest and on top of the shaft. My fingers in the back lightly support the underside of the shaft. Remember if your fingers get hot to ease up on your pressure.

Gouge cut on shaft

Using a spindle gouge to turn the shaft area works well also. When you are turning use the tool that works best for you. There is always more than one way to get the desired result but the more tools you can use well the more options you will have at your command.

Calipers used to check shaft diameter

I use a caliper that has a metric scale; the metric system is use in sizing crochet hooks. These are more accurate than the cheap caliper I use for most of the rough sizing.

Checking shaft diameter

With the lathe stopped, check the shaft size. There is only ten thousandths of an inch difference in diameter of some of the hook sizes so measure carefully and leave slightly oversize to allow for removing some diameter when sanding. I reverse the lathe direction when changing to the next grit of sandpaper (not necessary if your lathe doesn't reverse). Also, stop the lathe between each grit change to sand with the grain direction. The first 2 1/2" of the shaft on the hook end needs to be a perfect cylinder without taper that would enlarge a loop in the crocheted piece when in use and get you in trouble with the user

File cut on shaft

I use a 6" single cut file to take the last few thousandths of an inch of the diameter off the shaft. You can also get a "lathe file" that has smooth faces on the two narrow edges of the file instead of cutting edges if you have trouble scoring the shaft with the corners. The file will remove shavings and leave a surface that does not require a lot of sanding. I sand usually starting with 240 grit and going to 600 or 800grit. Do not use steel wool with the lathe running because it can snag on the shaft and twist it in half.

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