The following photo shows the gas forge we were using. It has a hookup for forced air. Oh, come on. I know it's not period, but my arm can't swing the hammer and pump the bellows and get this all done.
While I waited for the forge to get up to welding temp I played with some 1/4 inch square stock.
Other students were making these, so I made one too. This is a shepards hook. I plan on using it to hang my pots from a cooking chain, when I get around to making that too.
Here is the finished hook. It was warmed up, brushed off and then place in a bath of crisco and wax to coat it from the elements.
Now that I had the basic shape I polished it up a bit with a wire wheel and grinder. After it was nice and shine I had to temper the piece. The goal was to get the tip very hard, but the the striking end had to be very soft. I didn't want the piece to shatter from a firm hammer blow. To temper it I heated it until it was no longer magnetic and then I quick quenced the entire piece in the wax bath. Once cool I reheated the striking end of the piece and let the color change gradually. Once the color change moved to the tip I was ready to quench it again. The goal is to get a purplish blue about 1.5 inches from the end and a dark straw color all the way up to the tip. Once close to the tip I quenced just the last 1/4 inch and kept doing so until the piece was cooled. Here is a photo of the tempered piece. You can really see the color change which shows the proper temper. Also I file tested it. If you can draw a file over the soft end it should grab and file easily. When you get the file closer to the tip, it should only slide over the metal and no longer take purchase. The file test and colors showed a proper temper. I used the piece about 3 hours later and it worked like a charm!