Assuming you’ve got the cash to spare it’s dead easy to get started.
Buy a drawbench, buy a couple drawplates --one round and one square
is a good place to start-- anneal some fat wire or rod, clean it,
taper it down so the tip (at least .25-.5 inch) of it pokes through
the next few holes smaller than the last hole that it will pass
through, rub a little oil or wax along the point and some of the
length, poke it the hole beside the “pass through” hole or the one
next to that, grab the protruding point with the big heavy drawing
tongs that came with the bench, hook up the tongs to the drawing
mechanism, check that everything is stable and ready to go … check
again … and crank away! Voila! Drawn wire.
Of course there are the usual common sense things: don’t try to draw
down too much in a single go, anneal when the wire starts getting
too springy, etc, etc. If you forge the taper on your wire it’ll
stand up better to multiple drawings. If you break a sweat at any
time then either you need to draw down in smaller steps, you need to
anneal more often, or it’s too hot in your studio. There should be no
serious physical effort required. In fact if it’s too much work then
watch out 'cause something could break and you get pointy hard things
flying through the air, usually towards you.
Good options for a purchased bench include everything from the big,
beautiful chain-driven benches (see Durston’s new offering at
http://www.durston.com/prod-drawbench.htm, Rio Grande has something
similar on page 239, etc) through to a table-top effort such as the
one that was auctioned off at the recent Orchid dinner (see
http://www.gembiz.com/auction/ for a picture of it). The cost range
here is $1000-ish down to $200.
Drawplates cover a wide range too. At the high end you’ve got huge
plates with 100 or more holes, spaced by 1/10 mm, and carbide
inserts (these are nice plates!) down to your basic 15 or 20 hole
hardened steel plate. Prices vary widely: $100s down to $20 for
cheapo imports. Of course plates come in every hole shape imaginable.
You can even get combo plates if you like that idea.
Now, assuming you haven’t got buckets of cash to throw at this
there are many cheap alternatives to buying a big expensive bench.
Charles Lewton-Brain’s “Cheap Thrills in the Tool Shop” mentions a
few on p.43-44. I also seem to remember that he was working on or
had completed a new paper that had a section on home-made benches.
Sorry, don’t know details.
Personally I built my own drawbench using a 6’ piece of 4"x6" timber
and a boat winch. I had the plate-holding part custom made at
machine shop out of 1" plate steel. I put casters on one end so I can
stand the whole thing up and roll it into a corner. Total cost for
this drawbench, including tongs, was approx US$200 and it has the
advantage that you can pack the business parts into a small box, toss
the timber and hit the road, should that ever be something you need
to do. The design of this bench is basically the same as the
table-top item mentioned above, but my plate holding setup is much
sturdier. Whether that really matters is debatable.
Hope this helps,