Barbed wire!

I’ve had a small problem for a while now, and want suggestions . I am an amateur silversmith but like most I create bits of scrap as I make things from sterling. When I get about 20 - 50 grams of scrap, I go over it very carefully with a powerful magnet to remove any iron filings (yes, I DO keep my silverworking tools apart from the rest of my workshop, and use a different room) and melt the scrap down using a flat alumina crucible and a small oxy-propane torch, with a sprinkle of borax or Easiflo flux upon melting, and just before pouring the liquid ‘button’. I make a lot of my own tools, and for casting rod, I have two 12mm (1/2 in) thick steel plates which I held together in a machine vice whilst drilling two long 6mm (1/4in) holes so that each plate has half a hole. Two little 3mm (1/8in) rods register the plates, and the open ends of the 6mm holes are enlarged to a sort of small funnel. I smoke the plates a little over a flame, then pour the silver into the funnels quickly. Thus I get two quite nice little sterling rods which leave the mould easily. A friend allows me to use his rolls to get the rods down to about 4mm (3/16 in) and I use some home made steel drawing dies followed by drawing through commercial dies (using a home-made drawing machine) to get wire of the size(s) I need. Now the problem is that almost invariably the wire has little ‘jags’ or barbs in a few places along it’s length. OK, so I file them off, but get more ‘jags’ at the next drawing. I do of course, anneal and pickle the wire whenever required between draws and lubricate with beeswax. So, how do I stop the annoying and slightly dangerous jags forming? They can and do sometimes cause rips in one’s hands. Anyone help?

   / /    John Burgess
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