Diy drawbench- how tong should handle be?


i am going to make a drawbench, and am wondering how long the handle should be…?

i looked up the general specs for the durston tabletop version

length: 47-1/2”
width: 9-7/8”
height: 9-7/8”
(should i assume this is the aporoximate handle length?)

working length: 2-1/2 ft

my arm span is around 60” so i think 48” total length should work for me…

i am looking into the Dutton-Lainson manual Pulling ratchet Winches
(mainly because their website is so informative! i always appreciate a comprehensive website!)

and a winch strap with a hook…is 15 ft sufficient? or is 20 ft better? Charles Lawton Brains book mentioned larger diameter drum is better…the 20 ft roll is bigger…

and drawtongs of some sort


Julie…Following is a link to pictures of my bench. It is built on a standard 2X6 that is cut to 62" long so that it will fit under a bench on two slide rails. The handle of the winch is 8.75" center to center. I just bought a standard winch and it has worked fine for years. I may cut off a bit of the web and have a shoe repair person resow the hook. As I recall, the biggest challenge was buying the draw pliers and finding a heavy steel ring that would fit the hooks on the end of the handles. I found one at Tandy Leather. The pieces that secure the draw plate are just pieces of PVC molding. It was originally temporary until I could cut a piece of angle iron, but it works fine. The hole half way down is for a wooden pulley. When I need to pull wire longer than the pull length of the bench, I wrap the wire already pulled around the pulley and grab ahold with the pliers and pull some more. Repeat until the wire is completely pulled. I don’t bother with any of this if I am pulling 20 gauge or smaller. I just put the draw plate in a vise and pull the wire across my shop. I have done 40 feet of fine silver filigree wire this way. Good luck…Rob

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Sorry: resew not resow…

hi Rob!

thank you! i already had your drawbench in mind!:grin:

(the winch i linked has 2 speeds…a 4:1 geared or direct drive…but the main reason i picked that model is that because it is two speed, the handle is a quick change no-nut style…so basically removable too…my studio is teeny tiny so i wanted an easily removable handle)

so…your drawplate part…

what is the crosswise piece of wood for?

are the copper strips to hold down the drawplate? genius!

(what is the red thing in the pic in the shelf below your draw plate?)

is your winch geared? do you feel geared is neccessary?…for pulling bigger things…?


The cross piece is just another piece of molding with a hole in the middle. I use it to straighten stock before I cut it down. Attach a pair of visegrips to one end of the wire, pass the other end through the hole, attach the draw pliers to that end and pull.

Copper strips are hold downs.

Red thing is a device that allows me to cut multiple pieces of stock to the same length. I rarely use it, but it was our father’s.

Not sure about gearing. Mine is direct drive and it works fine. I just reduced a 10X10mm ingot to 12 gauge wire with no trouble. Remember that even with direct drive, these things pull large heavy boats out of the water.

Be sure to research draw plates. The cheap ones just don’t work and they will frustate you. Look for ceramic inserts for the round ones.

If you want a picture of the wooden pulley mounted on the bench, let me know…Rob

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The winch that I have…Rob

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Hi Rob!

yes, please, a picture of the wooden pulley would be awesome!

I think I am going to go with Dutton-Lainson…it is made in the USA, reviews seem good, support look good.

I looked into “powder coating versus zinc plating” and have decided to go with the zinc plated version

I wish websites would give the Inside diameter of the hooks on the straps…but perhaps the boat loop hardware is standard…the hook “seems” big enough… (see below pic)

24251_addl_6 crop rs

I do not recall the draw tong listings mentioning the steel ring thickness either…i will call them and find out…

this one is forged steel, with a ring

this one by Durtson does not have a ring, but is forged metal…


oh…Durston sells a separate ring…

if I go with a regular offset handle, not the quick attach…is it ok to just remove the nut and handle for storage…?

(so funny…I was thinking a longer handle would give me better leverage, and so was focusing on that…wishing they were longer…but there were reviews that commented that long handles hit the boat/ seadoo…haha!)



I checked out Tandy leather like you recommended…Tandy leather has ring sizes 3/4" to 3"…did you get the 3" diameter solid ring?


Julie –
My drawbench is basically the same as Rob’s. 6’ 2x6 with a piece of 2" angle with a slot cut in the upright leg on one end and a Harbor Freight strap winch (62537 ($35)) on the other. Having a removable handle would be useful for storage but having a 2-speed winch isn’t necessary. The main thing is that the winch have a strap rather than a steel cable. A cable without tension on it will tend to uncoil into a birds nest on the winch drum.
Rather than draw tongs I used a ViceGrip with an eye bolt replacing the adjustment screw and a Quick Link to connect to the strap hook.

Also useful is to mark the strap (Silver Sharpie) where the length is sufficient to reach the drawplate. I use a spring clamp to hold the drawplate to the angle.

The 6 foot 2x6 gives me a 4 foot usable draw length.

– alonzo


Hello Fellow Orchidians,

Late to the party on this thread, but here are some pics of my solution for the $100 portable drawbench. I gave up on trying to use draw tongs a long time ago. Reason? I never found a pair that holds the wire well enough or consistently enough. Like Julie, I use vise grip pliers instead because you can adjust the amount of tension/grip on the wire. Unlike Julie, I got a Newton rated climbing carabiner. Might be overkill, but there is a lot of stress generated when drawing wire, and the bigger the wire, the more stress/tension.

I clamp mine to a work bench when I need to use it, and hang it up on my wall when not in use.
I had a buddy of mine modify the aluminum channel to cut the slot for the draw plate to slide in on one end, and cut away the walls on the other in order to mount the winch. He has a nice metal band saw he used, but this work could also be done with a coping saw and a # 4 or 5 blade (not 0/4-0/5).

The parts and cost for my drawbench:
aluminum U channel 4’ long - $30
nylon strap boat winch (mine came from Amazon) - $35
Newton rated climbing carabiner - $15
Vise grips - $15-ish


I had seen the vise grip idea in a previous post, great idea! Who doesn’t have a pair of vise grips.

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I don’t typically name brands of tools, and I don’t get anything for mentioning one brand over another, but I got the Milwaukee vise grips. Look at the pic with the vise grips closely. They have a solid steel adjustment nut on the end that you can insert a screwdriver shank into the nut to tighten/loosen the tension on the jaws. I don’t know about anyone else, but I wish I had a nickle for every time I adjusted the tension screw too much and had a devil of a time opening the pliers back up - even with the release lever in the handle. With this one just insert the screwdriver shank and loosen a bit. Genius

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Hi Alonzo,
thanks for the info on suitable length and other details!

you and mike both have the screw eyebolt and carabiner thingy!!!

Hi Mike,

re: your comment:
“I gave up on trying to use draw tongs a long time ago. Reason? I never found a pair that holds the wire well enough or consistently enough. Like Julie, I use vise grip pliers instead because you can adjust the amount of tension/grip on the wire. Unlike Julie, I got a Newton rated climbing carabiner. Might be overkill, but there is a lot of stress generated when drawing wire, and the bigger the wire, the more stress/tension.”

i have not yet bought the draw tongs…I was thinking the same thing about grip…I was thinking vise grips would be better…but I did not know how to modify to attach to winch strap…although I am having new steel driveway gates made, and they are being welded, and I have visted the shop…maybe they could do it for me…

I love the red screw in closed eye bolt you are using!!! genious!!! I did not even think about that solution…love it! now I have to run out and inspect one of my vise jaw pliers!

I love the carabiner too…solves my "what size are all these hooks and rings dilemma!
the aluminum channel is quite jazzy too!


Julie…I know that my pliers were expensive and probably came from Durston. They look just like the Durston model in your picture, but mine do not have a name on them. The ring that I use with them has a 3" ID and I know that it was the only one that I could find that would work. The Contenti model looks a bit smaller. That doesn’t mean that they won’t work, I just use my bench to pull a lot more than thin wire and need the jaws to open more than I suspet that the Contenti model will. I like the vise grip post and intend to try it. I just happen to have a couple spare vise grips hanging around. Following are pictures of my pliers and ring next to a scale and a mockup of how I use the pulley when I need my pull length to be longer than the bench alone. You just wrap the already pulled wire around the pulley and keep on pulling. I have a lot of wooden discs left over from a laidary project and turned one into a pulley for this bench. I started with a metal pulley, but the wire got bound up in the close V of a typical metal pulley and it wouldn’t work. The harder pulley material also damaged the wire…Rob

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Hi Julie,

Yeah, the Milwaukee vise grips are going to be a few dollars more than other vise grip brands, but they are well worth it. And there is no need to modify the adjustment nut with an eye bolt or whatever.

Good luck with building your drawbench.

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re: the angle stock to make the drawplate restraint…

do you think a thick aluminum angle stock will be sufficiently strong? home depot has 2” tall, 1/8” thick aluminum angle stock…

i think i can cut/ drill it easier…?



Check with your local recycling center or steel purveyor that supplies to welders. You could probably find some angle steel. That would certainly be strong enough. You could cut/drill some mild steel angle stock without much problem.

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The drawplate doesn’t need to be supported along its full length. A couple of heavy duty angles in the front and a couple of pins behind will hold the draw plate in place. You might even get along with just heavy lag bolts to support the draw plate, depending on what diameter wire you’ll be drawing.
In this photo of benches sold by Karl Fischer in Germany you can see a closeup of the parts that hold the drawplate.


hi Elliot, thank you for the advise!
i wish i knew how to weld!…i am tossing around ideas now…bolts, wood, and pvc have always been my friend! it is all gonna come together, i can feel it!

hi Mike, ok….i just realized that the Milwaukee vise grips COME WITH the red metal screw! woohoo!

(i think alonzo made his own!)


hi alonzo,
i just noticed you are using saw horses for legs in the pic…does that work well?

alotta genius going on over there!