I profess to be the resident expert on drawing fine wire… I heard
that you could draw an ounce of gold into a wire over a mile long, so
I wanted to try. I used 22 kt wire that we alloyed from Jean Starks
I drew it to about 50 gauge, so small that you couldn’t see it
unless the light was shining on it. I found the draw plates from
Allcraft. They start at 30 gauge and go from there. Called Filigree
wire plates. I gave about 100 feet to Jean.
She said "Why did you do this? I said, because you don’t know anyone
who has done it before… She said, “What am I supposed to do
with it?” I said, “You can’t do anything with it until you have
some.”…… I know, I’m a smart alec.
Drawing to 30 gauge was easy. The tricks which you have probably
already learned aRe:
Use the tongs, but use a #6 file and file the teeth smooth. Then
polish. Any roughness will cause the wire to break the next time.
There are two type draw tongs, large and small. I used the small
ones and it was easy to remove the serrations in the jaws. This is
easier than using pliers, as the handles are bigger/longer and you
can get a better grip on them.
I use a Black paper clip, the wide kind you use to hold an essay
together, and put a wad of cotton in it. I soak the cotton with 3
in 1 oil, and clip it on the wire on the other side of the hole I am
drawing through. That way, the wire continues to get lubricated as
it goes through the draw plate.
HERES THE TRICK!!
- After you draw it through one hole and need to point the end for
the next hole, use a split mandrel in your foredom tool, and put in a
strip of about 800 sandpaper.
Place the end of the wire on your finger, and use the sandpaper to
taper the end, while turning the wire slightly. This won’t take the
skin off your hand, but you could use a glove if you have thin skin.
As you get smaller gauges, use finer sandpaper. I used about 4000
girt (pink I think) as I got down to about 40 gauge. Then I used
about 8000 grit for the remainder. After you get past 30 gauge, you
can’t really tell if you have a taper or not, just poke it in the
next hole and see if it goes through.
- Anneal after every other hole you draw it through. As soon as
the wire becomes “springy”, anneal. I annealed in a kiln after about
26 gauge. I used one of the tabletop “melon” kilns. I turned the
kiln up to full power, and left the gold wire in there for about 15
minutes. I annealed till the 22 kt gold got black, then pickled.
Love and God Bless