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Drawbenches notes


#1

Was: Milling your own or buying stock

Greetings all:

This is mostly just a question based on a couple of comments in the
rolling mill thread about drawbenches.

Several of the shops I’ve been in, as well as a couple of rigs I’ve
built myself have made a drawbench simply by attaching a reduction
clamping system to one end of any random strong bench/tabletop in
the shop, with either a set of pins or a vise at the other end.
When not being a drawbench, it’s just a normal tabletop. The
reduction system just sits at the end of the table, out of the way
until needed, and the vise is just a vise, until it becomes part of
the drawbench. As I said, I’ve seen rigs like that in more than
one shop, and I’ve built two of them myself. (Probably about to
build a third.) I get the sense from the 'unaffordable luxury’
comments in this thread that this isn’t a common trick? Has
anybody else seen a rig like that?

As a side note, someone asked about whether having a rolling mill
with wire wheels made it un-necessary to have drawplates. No,
regrettably, you still need the drawplates. Rolling mills don’t do
round wire, and those that do, don’t do it well. (They still leave
flanges.) You’ll note that the square wire has 2 corners beveled,
rather than true square, and flanges on the other two. (Or all four
corners beveled if you roll your wire properly.) However, they’re
absolutely great for breaking raw ingots down into something close
to the final drawn dimensions. Use the mill to get close, and then
draw from there. Much faster.

Besides, how else will you get star shaped wire?

Regards,
Brian Meek.


#2
Hi all just to let you know when i was an apprentice wire drawer we
used soap flakes to reduce friction and easy the load also the more
times you draw through to get to your final size the more brittle
it gets 

Ivory bar soap or flakes work quite well as a drawing lubricant. But
it is hydroscopic and will pull water out of the air and rust your
tools if you do not get it all cleaned off the tools.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#3
A draw bench is only a luxury until you have one....No expensive
draw tongs, just a hardware store common slip joint pair of pliers
with a steel ring over the handles. 

And when the wire or tube finally comes through the hole in the
drawplate, how do you prevent the draw tongs from flying back at you
with great speed and hitting you uncomfortably?


#4
I've heard many things, and it's whatever works, ultimately - that
includes not damaging or rusting the plate. We use Vaseline... 

What do people use to clean the metal after it’s been through the
draw plate and is coated with whatever lubricant has been used?

Helen
UK


#5
Besides, how else will you get star shaped wire? 

And what do you do with the star-shaped wire once you have it?

Noel


#6

Jeff,

A draw bench is only a luxury until you have one. 

Looking at the extortionate prices charged by jewellery supply
companies for jewellery dedicated tools, I’m not surprised how much
jewellers improvise where they can. I’m sure hubby can rig something
up in the garage that will do in place of a draw bench but I’ll shop
around for reasonably priced draw plate or two.

Thanks for the tips.

Helen
UK


#7
I get the sense from the 'unaffordable luxury' comments in this
thread that this isn't a common trick? Has anybody else seen a rig
like that? 

Brian and all - I once participated in the building of a dedicated,
motorized drawing system to make silver heishe (liquid silver), which
was essentially similar to what refiners use to make wire. It didn’t
use drawplates, it just used the needed dies individually.
Personally, I don’t feel the need for a drawbench (though again I
have never used one, but I don’t miss it) until one gets to a
diameter of wire that means you just can’t do it by human power
alone. But that doesn’t mean they’re not good to have, if someone
wants one just because. It’s interesting to hear people’s take on it

  • I just think that for those who are starting into the "wonderful
    world (or is it druggery?) of pulling wire, it’s important to know
    that you don’t NEED a bench for the usual stuff, it’s just nice to
    have. BTW, it’s pulling tubing where it really pays off have the
    capability, even though your product will have a seam.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#8

Doc,

And when the wire or tube finally comes through the hole in the
drawplate, how do you prevent the draw tongs from flying back at
you with great speed and hitting you uncomfortably? 

My “bench” uses 3/16" steel cable. It does stretch a little. One
learns to stand to the side very quickly :slight_smile: It also helps to hang
onto the draw tongs when the stock finally exits the plate. Never
stand down range !!!

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9
And what do you do with the star-shaped wire once you have it? 

Nothing, yet. I picked up a cheap-ish multi-section drawplate at
Pike’s in the Garden once upon a time, largely because it was neat.
Sooner or later, it’ll come in handy.

Sooner or later, I use all my toys. Usually at 3 AM, 5 hours before a
deadline.

Cheers-
Brian.


#10

Helen,

Looking at the extortionate prices charged by jewellery supply
companies for jewellery dedicated tools, I'm not surprised how
much jewellers improvise where they can. I'm sure hubby can rig
something up in the garage that will do in place of a draw bench
but I'll shop around for reasonably priced draw plate or two. 

I can snap a few pictures of my “draw bench” and either figure out
how to post to Orchid or stick on my web site. Wire plates are
probably best purchased without much concern for price. Good steel
ones will probably outlast you, fancy carbide ones give a little
better finish and service into the next century. For larger tube
sizes even home made mystery steel ones have worked well for years.
(car/truck leaf spring bits recovered from road side pedestrian
ramblings, one hardened and tempered the other still annealed).

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#11

Helen,

What do people use to clean the metal after it's been through the
draw plate and is coated with whatever lubricant has been used? 

Contrary to some of the pre soldering cleaning I have seen posted my
basic rules are :

  1. If oxidizied black then emery
  2. If a water based flux doesn’t wet the metal then lightly anneal
    and pickle or wash with soap, water and ammonia.

Soldering temperatures do tend to burn off finger prints and minor
oils; flux dissolves nasty minor oxide coatings. No need to remove
all of the germs and bacteria, just get everything hot enough quickly
enough and relax. Soldering is not rocket science, more a case of
using the right size hammer.

Jeff
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#12

My draw bench is a sold wood table top with as heavy swivel vice
mounted at one end and a wench off a boat trailer mounted at the
other.All sorts of other tools, hydraulic press, drill press,
grinding wheel etc, mounted in between but set back out of a direct
line between the vice and the wench. The wench has the nylon type
strap with a loop tied in it. You place the loop over the handle of
the draw tongs with them attached to the end of the wire. You
tighten it down and crank the wench handle. I use it mostly to draw
heavy white gold wire. The yellow gold wire and silver I can usually
pull myself. I’m 5’11" and weigh 200lb’s. Got the upper body strength
and the weight for most of it. White gold will usually kick my butt…
not the wench’s. Cheep and effective.

Frank Goss


#13

To ease the drawing of wire, I use one of those big black paper clips
that are used for holding stacks of paper together. I think I use the
one inch size. I clamp it on a huge piece of cotton, maybe about 4
cotton balls, and soak it with oil. I attach it to the draw plate
with string or twine, so it wont get lost, then clamp it on the back
side of the wire before it goes through the DrawPlate. The wire is
always oiled, the string keeps the clamp from falling on the floor
when the end of the wire goes through the drawplate. The oil also
keeps the drawplate oiled and it never rusts due to 'someone’
forgetting to maintain it…

Love and God Bless
randy
http://www.rocksmyth.com


#14
What do people use to clean the metal after it's been through the
draw plate and is coated with whatever lubricant has been used? 

Denatured alcohol or mineral spirits, depending on the actual lube
used.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#15

I’ve used a rather huge chunk of lignum vitae for a tube draw plate
for many years. I just recently bought a steel one because I plan on
chopping up the wood for various jewelry related pieces.


#16
1. If oxidizied black then emery 2. If a water based flux doesn't
wet the metal then lightly anneal and pickle or wash with soap,
water and ammonia. 

Thanks Jeff. I’ve always been very careful to avoid grease prior to
soldering but obviously if using a draw plate I’m going to need some
sort of lubricant. It sounds as though either my pickle or my
ultrasonic solution (water soap and ammonia) will do nicely, thanks.

Helen
UK


#17
What do people use to clean the metal after it's been through the
draw plate and is coated with whatever lubricant has been used? 

It occurred to me last night that some might go overboard on this. I
use vaseline, as I said, but it doesn’t matter what the preference
is - back in the day it was lard. I just wet my finger with it and
pull it down the stock (careful of edges and things, of course) - the
coating is pretty much microscopic - I’ve had the smallest container
of vaseline you can get for 20 years and we do a fair amount of
drawing. There’s no need to gunk it on, whatever it is.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#18

Hi,

I own a small motorized draw bench that I purchased from Rio many
years ago. It uses an electric drill, as the power, mounted to a
threaded rod that pulls a unit that holds a pair of locking pliers.
The pliers clamp the end of the wire that is being drawn. The wire
is being pulled through a drawplate that is clamped at the end
opposite the drill. This was an inexpensive tool and saved wear and
tear on my arms and shoulders over the years. It sits on a table top
and is about three+ feet in length and no wider than the drawplate
and the drill. Unfortunately the manufacturer used much aluminum on
the working parts and we had to have a machine shop replace/reinforce
it. Since then it’s been a perfect tool. The manufacturer is no
longer making them.

Seems like it would be easy to reproduce this, for someone with
machine shop skills (not me, however). Pictures on request from a
party interested in manufacturing this tool. It’s perfect for a
small jewelry studio.

Linda


#19
 Nothing, yet. [snip] Sooner or later, I use all my toys. Usually
at 3 AM, 5 hours before a deadline. 

How about drawing wire just enough to put gfrooves in the metal,
then twisting it-- it would look like bundled cable.

Noel


#20
What do people use to clean the metal after it's been through the
draw plate and is coated with whatever lubricant has been used? 

Thirty seven years later I can’t remember ever cleaning the wire
after drawing it…I just use it. Maybe pulled it through a rag?