Swamp Hooks

Bonita Springs, Florida

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About SwampHooks

Sales 147
On Etsy since 2008

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Making the most of the deep south swamp trees

Deep down in the South Florida marshlands (i.e. our backyard) there grows a variety of different trees that make real nice crotchet hooks as it turns out. (just mind the gators and the snakes please) It all started when Amy began to wonder if those branches over yonder might in fact look good if they were carved up nice. The first wood we worked with was Cypress, sometimes called Southern Cedar, because of it's nice look and the fact that when dried it is amazingly light weight and durable. After 40 or 50 hooks that ended up as kindling, we started to get the hang of it. That led to further exploration of the trees in the area and eventually, to Swamp Hooks. Our hooks are hand carved from branches we cut and finished with bees wax to protect the wood naturally without harsh chemicals and citrus and walnut oils to make the grains pop nicely, creating a rustic and beautiful crotchet hook that is southern grown and American made.

Every hook we make is unique, carved by hand, not machined. This means they are one of a kind items that we couldn't make an exact match if we wanted too, the wood grains and subtle differences in the wood and bark always make them slightly different. Not that we are against using lathes, we just prefer this way. Each piece we make is a one of a kind original little bit of art that will be yours and yours alone.

We make use of gathered wood for our products; this means that it is pruned or fallen branches, trees that have died or fallen after a storm, and scraps from other people’s projects. We do not buy wood that has been harvested. What we make use of is wood that would go to waste, be put into a burn pile or thrown out otherwise. We don’t go out and cut down healthy trees just to get the wood. The sole exception to this is melaleuca trees. Melaleuca trees are an invasive species that are damaging the Florida ecology. Those trees we do cut down, but we’d cut them even if we didn’t use the wood.

Using branches, trees, or chunks of fallen wood, from our property (or places such as a local state park that lets us raid their burn pile for hidden treasures) we dry them, cut them, and prepare them ourselves. It is not only more cost effective allowing us to lower our prices but it also allows us to use all of the wood and not just the dimensional lumber cuts. A branch can yield a walking stick or two, pendants from burls or knot wood, crochet hooks of various sizes from smaller pieces and finally hair sticks. Even the wood bits that are too small for any of that are either made into buttons or used for kindling in the fire pit. Very, very little goes to waste so that one branch becomes many things. This process also allows us to see more of the character of the wood we work with. We can catch pieces that may be overlooked if we did a more bulk type method and can find hidden burls and interesting aspects that might have been otherwise missed. Because of doing things this way, we find unique aspects to the woods we use that others may miss. It's part of what allows us to create the one of a kind items we do.

Shop members

  • Amy

    Owner, Buffer, Carver, Wood Carving, Fiber Arts

    Amy has been doing various fiber arts for over 20 years now and other forms of crafting her entire life. She was the inspiration for the creation of Swamp Hooks when she took up a branch and said "I bet this would make a good hook".

  • David

    Maker, Woodwork, Carving, Wood Carving, Artist

    Amy's husband and hook carver surprisingly still has all of his fingers and as of yet has not required major medical attention while carving Swamp Hooks. A pastel artist and writer, he does much of the shaping and carving of the hooks.

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Last updated on May 11, 2022
Frequently asked questions
Can you make a hook just like this one that was sold?

No. We can make one close, use the same woods and the same size and shape but every hook is unique. The wood grains, the way the wood takes the oils, even the carving, it is all one of a kind. Because it is made by hand using a knife and sandpaper, we can't duplicate a hook exactly even if we wanted to. But we can make you a unique one of your very own that no one else will ever get a copy of.

Can I get one made of cocobola or rosewood burl or. . .

We don't use exotic hardwoods in making our hooks. First, because they are so dense you have to lathe them and we don't do that kind of hook. Secondly, because we don't want to be part of the rain forests being wiped out just so people can have pretty wood things. What we use is wood that nature is done with and find the beauty inside that to make our art.

But you said exotic wood. . .what is the difference?

An exotic wood is an unusual form of a wood. Oak is fairly common, oak burl is an exotic form of it as is figured oak, spalted oak, etc. It is the rare grain patterning of the wood for one reason or another that makes it unique and exceptional. We could call them nifty woods or funky bits, but those lack a certain flair of description. Exotic hardwoods are, by and large, trees from the rain forests and we don't use them because we like an oxygen rich atmosphere. Exotic woods from indigenous species are the rare bits that are different, beautiful, and one of a kind.