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Drawing gold wire -- problems. Any tips?


#1

I’ve started alloying and fabricating my own gold sheet and wire.
Sheet and heavier wire gauges are working out fine. But I’m having
trouble drawing down 18k and 22k red golds into very fine wires
(20g and finer). By the time I get to 19-20g with the drawplate, I
keep breaking off the taper on the wire. Even annealing between
each pass, I’m still experiencing frequent breakage. The alloy is
relatively high in copper relatively, little or no (22k) silver,
which I suspect is part of the problem. But I do like the color!
Maybe not getting completely annealed? I’ve also wondered from my
reading if a tiny bit of zinc would make the alloy more malleable.

Any suggestions? I remember John Burgess (I think it was you,
John )saying at one point last year that he had drawn down a
fair bit of gold over the years. What am I missing here?

Regards,

Bob


#2

You’re right about the copper content, it makes the gold very
brittle…you are doing great doing that much with it.

I don’t know of any special annealing tricks but mabye there are.


#3
  Even annealing between each pass, I'm still experiencing
frequent breakage.  The alloy is relatively high in copper
relatively, little or no (22k) silver 

Hi Bob:

I also work with 22Kt. and do my own wire and sheet. I have drawn
down to 28-30 gauge. How are you annealing your wire. First I file
a point and then I coil the wire and anneal in a beehive kiln and
quench in pickle. I rub the wire across some bees wax and pull thru
drawplate. On the larger gauges the bees wax does make a
difference. Hope this helps. I would love to get the formula for
your red gold. Will it fuse, as in bezels or links to weave chain?

Linda
@Red1Eagle
New Jersey


#4
   I remember John Burgess (I think it was you, John <g>)saying
at one point last year that he had drawn down a fair bit of gold
over the years.  What am I missing here?

G’day Bob; As you rang my bell, thought I’d better answer.
Whilst I have drawn gold wire, it wasn’t very often and it was the
lowest carat; 9ct. Yes, I too have trouble with the point-tip
breaking off when getting down to low size. All I can suggest is
that the wire be carefully annealed, for low carat gold seems to
work-harden very easily. Indeed, it could be that the very act of
filing a point could harden it and make it more brittle. I have
actually soldered it to the florist’s iron wire used to hold one’s
work together when soldering and drawn successfully down to 0.2mm
And when recycling the gold from a beaten-up ring someone gave me
I soldered the little rod I cast to a bit of soft welding rod
because it was too short to do much with in a rolling mill, and
then drew it with join still in place. When I draw sterling, I
usually skip several draw-holes as I tend to be a bit impatient,
(no, I’m not that strong; I use a home-made drawbench) and if the
tip breaks off - well so what? I file another whilst cursing in
fluent Royal Navyspeak. Sterling is cheap enough. I have also used
a cyanide bath and a fairly high DC current, dipping the wire in at
various depths to produce a point and thus no work hardening. But
my high current DC supply (around 20 amps - I used to get a nice
little arc from the wire tip!) :slight_smile: blew up about 2 years ago and I
have only a common or garden battery charger which only gives 5
amps at 12 volts. It takes too long to point a wire. Well,
doubt if all this will help, but you’re welcome. Cheers,

        /\
       / /    John Burgess, Nelson, New Zealand
      / /
     / //\    @John_Burgess2
    / / \ \
   / (___) \
  (_________)

#5
   .....I would love to get the formula for your red gold. Will
it fuse, as in bezels or links to weave chain?

Glad to oblige. 22k is just 22 parts AU, 2 parts CU (same as
Krugerrand, actually). 18k colored to match is 18 parts AU, 3
parts CU, 1 part AG. Yes, the 22k fuses with no problem at all,
the 18k is a little fussier, but works. I’ve generally been
soldering the 18 and fusing the 22.

John Burgess wrote:

...Indeed, it could be that the very act of filing a point could
harden it and make it more brittle.

Right! That may be part of the problem, I’ve been filing AFTER
annealing. Will try the other way and see what happens. Also
like your idea of soldering on an iron wire; will try that also.
I’ve also had “little bitty” ingots that were too small to roll or
draw. Nice idea. And, I think the next batch will have a few %
zinc added; I’ve seen several references in the literature to zinc
improving ductility of gold alloys. I guess I took your name in
vain, John! Sorry 'bout that.

Thanks, everyone, for the ideas. I’ll let you know how they work
out.

Regards,

Bob Edwards
Chromis Designs


#6

Hi Bob, I too work only with 22k…I alloy my own gold and etc…
Just pull it carefully at the 28+ times and etc… Wax does help…
But the steady pull works also,.slowly!! It still is a challenge to
get to 30 and pull it clear across the room… calgang… who lives
in NJ.? I do too.calgang


#7

Hi Gang,

  Wax does help.  But the steady pull works also,.slowly!!

Another good lubricant for drawing wire is liquid diswashing
detergent. Put a litte on a cloth or your hand & pull the wire
through it. An alternate method is to soak a piece of felt with
detergent & fold this over the wir e on the input side of the
drawplate. Hold the felt together with a paper clip or some
mechanisim of your own fashioning. Any residual detergent is easily
cleaned from the finished wire. If you don’t like using dishwashin
g detergent, the felt can be soaked in any oil or other liquid
equally well

Dave


#8

can’t wait to try it on my next pull job… Got the wire almostthru
the mill and almost ready to pull… I love it… calgang Thankssssss


#9

I am still trying to catch up on the many e-mails which piled up
while I was at the Yuma Symposium - probably won’t until after
SNAG is over either - Phew!

Anyway, I have drawn lots of gold wire - down to 32 gauge. Not
red gold however, so can’t help with that. But, as you are
drawing down and getting thinner, and the end starts breaking
off, check to see that your draw tongs do not have such coarse
jaws for gripping, that they are not just cutting right through
your wire. I switch to smoother jaws when the wire gets smaller.
Also, when it gets really small, I just pull it through a few
feet with pliers, then start just pulled with my hands, hand over
hand, letting it pile up opn the floor. I pull a longer piece
than my room is long. I know this is not an even and constant
pull, but it seems to work.

Mary,
Seattle