I have a draw plate from Rio with carbide inserts that goes to 29
ga, and it works great, but I'd like to go several sizes smaller.
G'day; Well, I have an ordinary drawplate (without carbide
insertions) which will draw wire down to 0.05 mm - looks finer than a
human hair. I have drawn sterling with this down to that size, but it
had to be thoroughly annealed, and even fine silver must be properly
annealed. At this size draw tongs with toothed jaws are out; they cut
the wire when you latch on to it. Pointing the wire for the small
sizes is extremely difficult to do with a file; you have to use nitric
acid (possibly warm ferric nitrate might work) or a cyanide bath using
electrolytic etching; for this a rather high current is necessary or
it takes too long. Annealing by heating the wire directly with a
torch is out too; the very fine wire will melt in the softest flame.
I coil the wire, put it in an empty tin and heat the tin with a torch.
We have but one jeweller's supply merchant in NZ, and that is where I
bought my drawplates, so that won't help you; all I can say is that
he gets all his supplies from overseas, that my plates are probably of
French origin, and are marked with the simple letters, "WIT" + of
course, the sizes. Try your own suppliers. --
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ