The Story of the Irish Rug Hooking Hook (a.k.a., Hartman Hook)

In 1988, Neville Smith began making "The Irish Hook" an 8mm straight rug hooking hook designed for primitive rug hooking.  In the early 1990's other variations were developed and Neville partnered with Cindy Hartman, who distributed the hooks in the United States under the brand name "The Hartman Hook."

Because of their popularity and reputation for quality, the hooks are known the world over as "Hartman Hooks" but Neville continues to trade under the name "The Irish Hook."

In recent years, Neville has passed along the handcraft tradition to his son Rick, and they work together in the shop, hand crafting each rug hook.

They use locally grown yew wood based on years of feedback from rug hookers that yew wood feels good in the hand.  Because yew is a slow growing tree (Neville had a batch of wood that was from a tree that was 1,000 years old!) it has a dense and closed grain that is beautifully smooth when brought to a fine finish.  As a result, much to the surprise of many, the hooks don't need to be finished with varnish or oil. 

The "business end" of the hook is made of handcrafted brass.  Each hook, stem and sleeve is individually crafted and smoothed so that there are no sharp edges.

The hooks are available in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Neville in the shop, at the Victorian age metalworking lathe, which is still in use today.

Rick at the woodturning lathe

 Honey Bee Hive offers three of the most popular handle shapes, in various hook sizes, suitable for primitive hooking to more traditional fine hooking. 

To see our entire collection of rug hooks, click here.

If you are interested in other sizes and shapes, let us know and we can order them - just email us at patterns@rughook.com:

The Ergo Handle, has a tapered handle with a thumb indent, allowing for a comfortable, positive grip.  Popular for all types of rug hooking, but best for primitive rug hooking.  We offer it in 6mm and 8mm sizes. 

The Slim Handle has a slightly longer and thinner handle, for slightly finer work.  We offer these in both a 5mm and 8mm hook size.  

The Pencil Handle, designed to be held like a pencil is for finer hooking and is offered in 3mm and 4mm hook sizes.

 

The following table provides a comparison of hook sizes to wool cuts.

Hook Size Wool Cut
3mm, 4mm Designed for fine cut wool, typically less than #5 cut.
5mm Works well for many sizes, best for #4 through #6 cuts.
6mm Works well with most cuts, a popular size for a first hook.
8mm Ideal for primitive rug hooking, typically #8 cuts or larger.