A few months back my brother Peter tasked me with replicating some bent metal coat hooks he had come across on Etsy. I have some experience bending metal and so I assumed this would be a relatively easy job. However, in practice it ended up being a bit more complicated than I had initially thought.
Step 1: Design
I decided to use a 3/16" x 3/4" steel bar to construct the five hooks. I settled on 3/16" over 1/8" steel as I wanted the hooks to be strong enough to hang significant weight from without risking unwanted bending. I purchased a single 3' length of steel bar for around $5 at our local big box home improvement store.
The design of these hooks is quite clever as it allows for two pieces of clothing to be held from each hook. Each hook is made from a 6.5" length of the steel bar. Starting at the bottom, a 45° bend is made 1/2" from the end of the bar. Moving another 1" along the length of the bar, a second bend is made to 90°. The final bend is made to 45° at a distance of 2" from the top end of the bar. Using these dimensions, both the bottom and top hooks protrude approximately the same distance from the surface the hook is mounted to.
I used the following tools for this build:
- Combination square
- Metal cutting bandsaw (A hacksaw or angle grinder would work as well)
- Sturdy bench vise
- Large punch
- Bench grinder and wire wheel
- Drill and metal bits
Step 2: Cut the Metal
The steel bar was cut to 6.5" lengths using a metal cutting bandsaw. If you do not have a metal cutting bandsaw, a hacksaw or angle grinder would also make quick work of this step.
After cutting the metal to length, it was marked at 1/2" and 1.5" from the one end. These marks will be used to make the first two bends.
Step 3: The First Bend
To make the first bend, the metal was carefully clamped into the vise along the 1/2" mark. I used a combination square to make sure the bar was at a perfect 90° angle to the top of the vise. This is critical to making a square bend.
Next the bar was heated along the bend line using a torch. With the bar red hot, I used the hammer to bend it to 45°. The large head of the hammer did not allow me to strike directly along the bend, which resulted in a larger bend radius than I wanted. To fix this, I reheated the bend and used a large punch to tighten the radius.
Step 4: The Second Bend
For the second bend, the bar was clamped along the mark 1" from the first bend. Since the jaws of my vise were 1" wide, I simply slid the first bend up against the bottom of the jaws. When clamping the bar in the vise, the previously bent end should be placed toward the rear of the vise (away from you).
As with the first bend, the bar is heated along the bend line and bent using the hammer. Since this bend is made to 90°, the hammer was able to create a very tight radius without the need for the punch.
Step 5: The Third Bend
The third and final bend was made using the same techniques as the first two bends. After marking the bar at 2" from the unbent end, it was clamped in the vise along this line - making sure that the previous bends were positioned away from me. The bar was heated along the bend line and bent to 45° using the hammer and punch as needed. I used the combination square to measure the bend angle.
To ensure the finished hooks are smooth, I would recommend bending them in a vise with smooth jaws. My vise did have ridged jaws and it marked up the hooks a bit. If you are going for a rough look this can be beneficial, but not if you want to keep the hooks smooth.
Step 6: Clean Them Up
After bending the five hooks, I rounded all of their edges using a bench grinder. This step is important if you don't want to rip any clothes you hang on the hooks. I also quickly polished the hooks using the wire wheel on the bench grinder.
I also drilled two holes in each hook for mounting. The size you use for these holes will depend on the mounting hardware you would like to use.
Step 7: Enjoy Your Hooks
Although the hooks were individually made, I was pleasantly surprised at how similar they all were to each other. This similarity is important as these hooks will be placed side-by-side. They are by no means perfect, and as I previously mentioned, they are a bit rough due to the jaws on the vise and the hammer strikes. Ideally, I would have a bending brake capable of bending this gauge of steel, but I haven't made that yet.
I will upload a photo of how my brother ends up using these hooks once he gets them installed.