I keep on breaking my plastic Rainbow Loom hooks. I've gone through 6 in the last 4 months or so... I had hoped to wait it out and get the metal hook from Rainbow Loom, but they kept on pushing the release date out. Now, I've been using crochet hooks, but I found that the one that I really liked (inline), that had a deep hook is cutting my bands if I pull it through too many and the other hook (tapered) doesn't have enough hook to hang on to the bands. So I got this brilliant idea the other day. I turned a latch hook into a pretty reasonable substitution. A latch hook is used for fixing carpets or making the pillows/rugs that come in the little kit boxes.
This is a Caron bent latch hook with wood handle. I picked it up from my local Jo-Ann's craft store. It was $3.99. It was the only style they had, but apparently there are straight versions which would have saved me a bit of hammering, lol.
The middle piece simply unscrews from the base. It's in there pretty good too, but I needed to remove it so that I could straighten the hook. I held the metal with a pair of pliers (wrap your pliers with tape or something if you don't want to scratch the hook all up) and just kept twisting until it came out.
Now the fun part! I simply held it down on the floor (carpeted) and used a hammer to get the bends out of it. I had tried to use the hook without hammering it, but it was way too awkward. Once I had it as straight as I was going to get it, I screwed it back into the base of the handle as tight as I could get it. Then I took pliers and twisted off the latch part. I couldn't get it all the way out, but it broke off close enough to the shaft that I don't even notice it. I also ended up bending the hook backwards because I found that as I loomed, the bands were sliding to far up the shaft and it made it hard to get them off. It seems to work a little better, but it could just be how I hold it too. To bend the hook back, I just grabbed the shaft right next to the hook with the pliers and bent it back. For metal, it wasn't too hard, lol.
And this is the difference in the hooks, before and after. So far, I'm really liking it. and it was CHEAP...cheaper than I imagine the official hooks will be. Give it a try if you're looking for a new hook!