The inconsistency of the shaft and work space issue is exactly what gripes me about many hooks being sold on the market today, and it’s present in wood hooks as well a metal. When I give lectures/demos about hooks, I talk about this. That widening of the shaft causes a lack of consistency in the stitch loops, which besides causing strain on your hand, also causes changes to your stitch appearance.
I don’t know why this is happening in hook-making today, but I suspect it has to do with the time involved in making the hooks and in the case of metal hooks, strength. (And perhaps lack of knowledge?) So many of the older hooks I find are just better made. The quality of the metal is better. My favorites metal hooks have hand-machined and cut heads. The shafts are strong and they will flex, not snap or permanently bend like modern hooks will.
And you know what it reminds me of? How good knives and swords are made. Good knives and swords are strong and will flex with pressure, but not break. And especially in miniature crochet, we put a lot of torque on those hooks.
Perhaps part of all this points to the possibility that metalsmithing and true metallurgical knowledge is not what really goes into our metal tools anymore?
What about you? I’m intrigued to know. What quirks do you notice about crochet tools that get under your skin? And what can we do about it?