Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Drawing tubing

Was: [Source] Fine silver tubing

hello Larry, etc.

I'm curious. Please expand on your "never make a taper" method of
drawing tubing. How do you cater for the tube to enter the next
smaller hole? 

never is a bit -strong- I generally don’t need a taper if the if
the gauge of the metal is below, say18 (20-28g. )( or if I’m in a
hurry). to make a tube without a tapered end: I use a metal swage
and lubricate the metal with beeswax*, and match the diameter with a
dowel or brass rod (also waxed) and form the annealed metal into the
initial curve’s diameter I am going to pull through a plate/ draw
plate, turn it in the swage and tap with a 4 oz. rawhide hammer as
I’m rounding out the tube shape, when the edges meet, I pull it
through until it moves easily with no resistance…it is fairly fast
and easy at this stage. With decreasing diameter it becomes
necessary to use pliers wrapped with a bit of blue painters tape, a
thin sheet of jett sett type thermo-plastic as a soft jaw or grab
some previously coated with a product like “plasti-dip” (dependent on
the gauge and size of the tube I want in the end), I then repeat the
process with increasingly smaller holes until I am satisfied the
inner diameter I need is accurate. If it is not I anneal and repeat
until it is finished (the thinner the gauge the less annealing is
necessary). When it is right I run a seam of solder to seal the edge
then finish as desired…Thai silversmiths make tubing by this method
and wrapping annealed silver around piano wire to make tubes and
beads. actually. It is fairly common in alot of indigenous cultures
that make metal jewelry to do it without a draw plate and tong, the
Navajo and Indian silver/goldsmiths are , perhaps the exception…It
is quite an easy proposition to make tubing no matter what the inner
or outer dia. by any method…and in my brain, a taper is only
necessary if I’m beginning with extremely thick sheet (10-16g) and a
drawplate in a vise or drawbench…the only time I use that thick a
wall is if I am flush setting stones in the tube’s wall or ends… or
making pave’d cylinders for beads, slides, etc.

  • heat the sheet, or rectangle in this case, and rub a chunk of
    beeswax over the side to be in contact with the swage, drawplate,
    etc. with a light hand. If piercing out the sheet from which tubing
    is to be made (don’t pierce if it’s less than 24 gauge). if you have
    more questions ask away !