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DIY drawbench - which winch to buy?


I am going to be making myself a drawbench in the next week or two.
I’ve looked back through the archives and read quite a few posts
about this topic as well as having read, some time ago, Charles
Lewton-Brain’s writing about it.

What I haven’t been able to find anywhere is an explanation on what
load bearing capacity the boat winch needs to have. I suppose I
wouldn’t draw anything heavier than 3 or 4mm diameter… but that
will still be a pretty big load as far as I can figure. I would be
drawing brass, copper and sterling silver. Also, is there minimum
specs as far as the timber is concerned if you are using a timber
beam for the bench part?

Thanks for any help you can offer!

RR Jackson


Just had a look at my wench and it is rated at 1100 lbs with the
warning (I thought this was very strange) "NOT FOR MOVING HUMANS"
anyway it has served me for drawing silver and both white and yellow
gold. hope this helps you choose.

Frank Goss

What I haven't been able to find anywhere is an explanation on what
load bearing capacity the boat winch needs to have. I suppose I
wouldn't draw anything heavier than 3 or 4mm diameter... 

If you’ve searched the archives I expect you’ve already seen
references to the “$200 DIY Drawbench” page at my website

FWIW the winch I used there --a Fulton T600-- has the following
stamped on the side of it:

600 LBS 1st Layer
300 LBS Full Drum

I’ve drawn wire as large as 4mm on a side with it and the winch never
even noticed the strain.

I did replace the original cable with “1 TON” seatbelt strapping
material because I found the cable too springy. In the end the
strapping has proven much more satisfactory, for this and other

As to the “required” timber size I couldn’t tell you. I started with
a doubled up 2x4 and it seemed fine albeit ugly. I later obtained a
6x4 fir timber which, like the winch, has been totally unphased by
anything I’ve ever drawn.

My guess is that it’s over-kill on both counts but for $30 who’s

Trevor F.
in The City of Light
Visit at


Simpler to simply purchase one made up - from Orchidian Kenneth
Singh - 46th St. Jewelry Supply. As I recall, the price was around
$140 - and students have failed to destroy ours for the past three

I had made up one before I got his, and if you count your time
chasing down parts, the cost of the parts, and the time it takes to
put one together - you cannot beat his for price/quality. (Even if
the price might’ve gone up in the past 3 years?:slight_smile:

What’s your time worth?



If you can find a winch with a flat strap rather than cable, or
rope, it makes it nicer. Rope, under a load, tends to get caught in
the turns already on the winch spool. I did not like the steel cable
that came on my cheap Harbor Freight winch because of the chance of
getting stuck or struck by a frayed steel end so I used some soft
nylon rope already at hand.

I used a 2x8 for the bed of my drawbench. More than adequate. Found
a collapsible folding metal sawhorse at Lowe’s that let’s me store the
tool easier. Bolted the 2x8 to it. I glued a stick of wood across the
mount for the drawplate to hold the drawplate at the right height and
a simple pinch clamp to hold the drawplate on. The critical parts of
the bench that need strength were made of 2" red oak.

Total cost, all new parts, was $150 (less drawplates). Inexpensive
drawplates can be found on E-Bay under jewelry tools for $8.00 or

The biggest deal was getting the right draw tongs. I used the type
with both handles bent over and a ring in the bends, to tie the rope
or strap to. If the tongs slip, look at the teeth on them to be sure
they are not fouled with metal. (Mine cost about $20.00.)

Thanks to John Cogswell (SUNY) for the ideas I gleaned from his
drawbench. Sure beats me pulling wire of HEAVY guage thru a
drawplate mounted in a vise, with both feet against the workbench !!!


This is legalese to prevent lawsuits if used to hoist people on a
lift etc. My other comment is to always watch and inspect the cable
for frays or rubbing on an edge etc. If the cable snaps under tension
it could do a lot of damage to things and people.

Dan Wellman


Thank you everyone for your replies to this topic.

I am planning to attach my “draw bench” to my workbench that I use
for the heavier machinery (it is not the jewellers bench I sit at)
and is at standing height. I want to attach it to the front legs,
with bolts, sitting on the inside of the legs under the table top -
with just enough clearance from the bench top to be useable to keep
it at a fairly usable height. In regards to this part - I am now
wondering if you can buy a winch handle that extends outwards from
the drum for about 8-10cm before the 90 degree angle where the handle
is attached… Not sure how to describe this better - hope it makes
sense. Basically I need clearance between the drum of the winch and
the handle of about 8-10 cm to clear the bench leg. Also, I’m hoping
it is possible to get an easily removeable handle like this so I
don’t have to whack my leg continuously on it whilst its not in use.

My other question for today is about using seatbelt strapping or a
tow-strap. How do these attach to the winch? I saw in one of the
photos of a homemade drawbench that the strapping was attached to the
iron ring that holds the draw tongs by looping it over itself and
attaching with rivets. I am surprised that rivets are suitable for
this application - do they need to be a special kind?

I appreciate all this help - it is so much easier when you get
things right the first time.


I posted a little while ago about making my own drawbench. Thank you
for all the replies. I have not yet made the drawbench… and now I
have another thought about it. Just wanting to get some opinions on
whether the idea I’ve had is entirely crazy or not.

I think I explained last time - I want to mount the timber beam that
the drawbench is built on just below the top of my workbench on the
inside of the two front legs. I just finished building the workbench
last weekend and I built it to the right height for my polisher - now
that it is standing there to see I can tell that the drawbench is
going to be too low to comfortable draw wire for very long. It will
be much too low. So, I’ve had a thought…

If I took the winch handle off and was able to modify a large boat
steering wheel to slide on and off the shaft where the handle was
attached (needs to come off so it doesn’t get in the way while I’m
using it) - if I got a wheel of a large enough diameter I could
comfortably use it to draw the wire through from a standing position.

Are there any thoughts on this? Problems?

Thanks for whatever you can offer.

RR Jackson


I would like to make a correction to this part of my previous post:

needs to come off so it doesn't get in the way while I'm using


“(needs to come off so it doesn’t get in the way while I’m NOT using

And, for further clarification, I’m thinking of replacing the winch
handle with something like this:

I was actually thinking of a wheel with a bigger diameter than this
still but that should give a general idea of what it would look like.

RR Jackson


The Winch Handle will have a sloted hole. You will have to cut &
weld a piece to be able attach the Wheel. You do not have to mount
the Draw Bench on the legs just use wood like 2x6 about 4 feet long
and mount your winch on that. When ever you want to use the Draw
Bench just set it on your work bench and put it away or stand it up
it one corner.

Kenneth Singh


Hi RR,

I used an electric hoist 1300 Lbs from Harborfreight about $120.00
mounted it on the ceiling, screwed a $ 29.00 wise on the wall at
3.5ft height. For pulling pliers I use a regular $5.00 grip pliers by
drilling a 1/4 inch hole in the screw head of the pliers and inserted
a steel ring. The wise holds the drawplate. I have been using this
setup for 4 years now and use it almost every day. I have since made
more changes to improve speed but this setup should work for you. If
you have any questions please feel free to call me 340 332 2252.

Gary Udhwani.