A drawplate gets its name from it being a rigid sheet or plate
containing tapered holes though which something can be pulled
(drawn) to change its thickness and shape.
They are usually made of metal and used for making wire. Typically
you start off with some wire, thicker than you want, that you have
made by rolling some relatively soft metal (gold, silver, copper,
etc) in a grooved rolling mill.
You shape the end of the wire to a blunt point (called a “dog”) by
forging and filing it until it can be poked through one of the holes
in the drawplate. Choose a hole the same size, or a little smaller,
than the wire you have, with enough dog poking through to allow you
to grab it firmly in pliers (or, better still, proper “draw tongs”).
Hold the drawplate in a vice and pull the wire through the drawplate.
Repeat with the next smaller hole until you reach the required
thickness. If the dog breaks, form another. Anneal the wire after
pulling through about 3-4 holes, and use a lubricant such as candle
grease or soft soap.
The force required to draw the wire can be considerable, especially
for wire thicker than about 1mm. I’ve managed 2.5mm but wouldn’t
recommend it. Far better to use a “draw bench”.
The holes don’t have to be round; they can be any shape you like.
You can gets plates for square, oval, star, crescent, etc.
Wooden drawplates are often used to true up hand-made chain. Wood is
used so as not to mark the chain.
Regards, Gary Wooding