I've benn making my own "shanks" with some bright finish, small diameter wire I picked up at a local garage sale for about a quarter. About the same size as 40 lb mono, 50 yards of material, so I think i'll be OK for a while. Rigid enough to hold the hook out straight behind, flexible enough to bend.
mustad 3366 in larger sizes work well. i picked up SEVERAL mustad 36890's for under $3 per 100, so i use those quite a bit too. mustad 3407's are another choice. you can find them as cheap as the mustad 9174's (which i think are too short for most patterns if a bead or cone is involved).
another thing is to use 12lb. backing instead of 20lb. that's more than heavy enough for trout and steelhead.
if you just have loads of time on your hands and still need room in the eye of the front hook, then blind splice a loop into the backing and then just a single strand will be all that passes through the eye of the hook.
as for the front hook....... 2 pairs of pliars works well. i dont cut the hook, i just break it off. if your worried about a sharp edge, then use some hot glue (i don't worry about it).
I use Gamakatsu B10S stinger hooks and 50 lb. spiderwire to form the loop to attach the stinger hook. The loop is nice because I can change the length that I want for a particular pattern, and if the stinger hook gets dull I can change that as well.