We use a drawplate a lot in our studio, as most of us make our own
wire. The 2 round wire drawplates we commonly use in the studio are
fairly inexpensive ones, that do NOT have the more expensive carbide
inserts. The potential problem with the drawplates which have the
pressed-in inserts, is that if you are not careful, and happen to
pull a stuck piece of wire out of the drawplate in the same direction
it went in, you can pop out the insert, which is difficult to
re-attach solidly into the drawplate. If you are missing an insert,
you can’t skip that missing hole as you draw down wire sizes with the
Essentially, you will have a “handicapped” plate.
Other jewelers out there will certainly have their own take on the
value of carbide-insert drawplates, and maybe a way to fix popped out
inserts. I’m just fine with our round wire ( insert-less) drawplates,
as the wire comes out perfectly smooth.
As far as other shapes in drawplates, we don’t use half-round or
square plates, as we make all those shapes with our rolling mills.
A suggestion: an inexpensive bench drawing machine is vital, unless
the wire you are making is pretty thin.
The drawing machine ( mine was less than $200, complete) will take
the “muscle” out of making all sizes of wire and tubing. For small
ga. wire, you can put the drawplate into a heavy bench-mounted vise
and pull with draw tongs.
As far as draw tongs go, look for a heavy model with the hook in the
handle (so your hands don’t slip off) and a curved ( instead of
squared-off) tip. This curved end is for rocking out a short tapered
wire tip from the drawplate, to get a longer piece of wire to grip
with the tongs. Have fun making wire! Remember to make your square
wire about 2 gauges larger than the round wire you plan to make from