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Flying while drawing wire

Hi, So glad to hear that I’m not the only person who goes flying
across the room drawing wire. I once ripped the vise off the
counter and was left with a gaping hole where it was screwed in.
I usually run the heavy stuff through my rolling mill to thin it
to a more manageable gauge to draw. You really just have to keep
annealing and pickling each time you roll or pull the wire
through to avoid the cracking. Bonus, the more it sits in the
acid the higher karat it gets. The worse stuff is recycling
things that have lots of solder in them such as chains. Susan
Sarantos @auag

Got a huge laugh out of that----last time I had to draw some
wire down I had my cheapo plate in a vise on my drawing
table-turned-jewelry-bench and had my leg braced on the table. My
cheapo draw tongs slipped and I banged my shin with it real good
while uttering some rather nast swear words. Someday will get one
of those expensive drawplates. Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World
Crystalguy Jewelry
Recumbent Cyclist’s Advocacy Group

Dave, and others, To really get serious about stopping the
drawtongs from losing their grip I screw on a small but strong
c-clamp onto the jaws. Pulling is also made a lot easier -
something to hold onto.

B r i a n =A0 A d a m R u t h B a i r d J e w e l l e r y ph/fx +64 9 817 6816 NEW ZEALAND

Ok…so I had one of those expensive drawplates and a heavy
duty vise and a BIG, solid workbench…Which slid three feet
across the room when I pulled. Whatever you do, make sure that
table is bolted to the floor before you start drawing! D.

I’ve always just held the draw plate between my feet and, while
sitting in my chair, pull the wire. If I do slip, I’m already
sitting and I go nowhere. If need be, for length, I stand up.
Curtis -

Just for grins: this evokes a rather strong memory of the
long-ago and trying to draw about 10’ of silver wire. No problem,
good grip, plenty of room, no interference, and not a CLUE as to
how much recoil power all that amount of wire has. It took me a
while to unwrap myself from that particular coccoon.

Hi Gang,

‘Knock on wood’, but the only times I’ve had the problem of the
end breaking off the wire is when the end was shorter than it
should have been. I have to confess though, I don’t use a draw
tongs, I use a parallel smooth jaw pliers.

The draw plate goes in the bench vise. The wire supply is guided
to the draw plate through about 10 staples placed in a 6 ft long
board. The board & staples guide the wire so it enters almost
perpendicular to the draw plate. Just before entering the draw
plate the wire contacts a piece of felt saturated with a
lubricant (oil of wintergreen). The felt is held to the draw
plate with a paper clip. When drawing the wire I try to keep it
as close to perpendicular to the draw plate as possible as it
leaves the draw plate. Using this method I’ve regularly drawn
lengths up to 30 ft in one draw (any longer & I’d have to remove
a wall). The trick is to keep the wire moving once it starts.

If the wire enters or leaves the draw plate at an angle other
than perpendicular, the side that’s on the small angle doesn’t
receive as much elongation/compression as the other side. Wire
that is drawn perpendicular to the draw plate will remain
straight after drawing. Wire that’s been drawn at some other
angle will tend to coil toward the side that was closest to the
draw plate.

Stopping in mid draw creates a location of unequal stress in the
wire. Generally, when restarting a draw in mid pull, there’s
enough of change in angle, relative to the draw plate, to cause
this unequal stress.

This routine works well for me, maybe it’ll give you an idea to
try in your shop.


G’day; I don’t ‘fly whilst drawing wire’ I use the home made
drawbench I’ve had for about 10 years or so. Looks a bit crude
(bit like it’s owner these days) but it works (unlike it’s
owner) I don’t use normal drawtongs either; go to your DIY tool
store and have a look at the vice-grips on offer; they stock
several varieties and the El Cheepo ones work well too. Buy the
one with a long nose (no ethnic ‘jokes’ here please) that looks
a bit like a crocodile. They are lighter than some, and have
serrated jaws which are too rounded to cut deeply into the
sterling or valuable 18 ct. wires yet grip well. If you anneal
your wire often - wrap it round a screwdriver handle or what have
you and put the roll in an old tin, then heat the tin with your
trusty torch (not ‘rusty,’ dear, I said ‘trusty’) and you won’t
melt the fine wire too easily. Do it in an old tuna tin and
you’ll attract all the cats for miles - to say nothing of your
family. And neighbours. If you hate filing a point on the
wire like I do, you can point it in conc nitric acid or plate-off
electrolytically in cyanide but remember, like East and West,
NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET!! What; still prefer the file?
I don’t blame you. But anyway, using long-nosed vicegrips and
well annealed wire, you can give your parachute to the local Boy
Scouts garage sale. Cheers,

       / \
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   /  /                                
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2

At sunny Nelson NZ

I am going to have to disagree with this one. Vicegrip is a
trademarked name & IMO nothing else in the line of locking pliers
is close to good enough. If you must get an off brand at least
check the release mechanism. vicegrip’s patent on the little
lever ran out a while back. you want the one that you squeeze to
open, not the design like Sears uses that you push toward the
other handle. this probably isn’t clear in words, so take a
look. I am NOT usually big on getting the brand name but htis is
an exception.

tip for cheapskates: check garage sales, it is seldom that
someone sells the real thing in good shape, but the ‘bad’ ones
show up and the usual problem is the spring lost tension, easy
replacement. several of mine came from this source.

Dan at Birdwalk Farms

Hello Disagreeing Dan,

I agree with you :slight_smile: My favourite Vice Grip story concerns the
patent holders visit to an Asian knockoff factory, posing as a
buyer he was given a personal tour by the owner and they became
quite friendly. Back in his office the owner pulled a genuine
Vice Grip plier from his desk drawer declaring that in spite of
it’s horrendous cost (there) he would never think of using any
other plier, including his own manufactured items. He went on to
add that only Americans can afford to buy cheap tools. I believe
this gentleman was never prosecuted.

John, I’d like to suggest a technic that I use to develop a
point on a wire for drawing. I pass the wire through a pin vise so
that about 3/4 of an inch protudes from the gripping end and the
remainder of the wire is wound into a small coil at the other end
of the pin vice. Tighten the grip well! I then take two garnet
abrasive discs the type with a hole (not the Moore’s type),
either 3/4 or 7/8 D. mount these on a mandrel facing each other,
and chuck this into the handpiece. Slowly rotate the discs and at
the same time insert the end of the wire between the two discs
and twirl the pin vise with the thumb and index finger to get an
even conical point on the wire. I have found this to be easier
and quicker than filing. Try it-you’ll like it.

Seems that a small portable draw table would be in order for
drawing wire 3 or 4 feet long. I have been sketching an idea for
a while.

Looks like this kind of:

a piece of 1/4 inch angle iron 5 feet long

a plate welded to the outside of the “V” just large enough to
support the V in the vise, V down

a plate welded across the V at one end to hold the draw plate

a couple of small plates welded at the other end of the V to
accommodate a crank

a crank and a leather/nylon belt with a eye

a bent handle pair of draw tongs and voila, a draw fixture ‘only
5 feet long by 8/10 inches in cross section’

Sounds so good I may go down to the scrap metal yard for the
steel materials, spend $10.00 and try it out.

Bill in Vista

G’day, Bill Eisenberg and others who may be peering over his
shoulder. I made a portable 5’ drawbench about 10 - 12 years
ago and wouldn’t be without it.

However, I used a piece of 5’ x6"x2" of timber for the base. I
happened to have it and it’s easier to screw stuff to timber
anyway. I got a bit of heavy 3" angle iron and drilled three
3/8" holes to take nice heavy wood screws and drilled a 3/4" hole
in the other ‘blade’ of the angle to allow room for drawtongs to
grip the wire protruding from the wire-die. Like your idea, I
have a crank, but with two handles which are about 12" long to
give plenty of leverage. But don’t try using a strap; it would
be too elastic… I use an old bicycle chain (bike shop owner gave
it to me!) pulled over a bike sprocket welded to the horizontal
part of the crank. You’ll find you need to have some sort of
guide to stop the chain coming off the sprocket.

For draw tongs I found the very best was to get a pair of
alligator-jaw vice-grips. I attached them to the other end of
the chain with a simple shackle. I normally keep the drawbench
upright in a corner of my workshop then using a pair of
’tea-tray’ type metal handles fastened to it to carry it easily,
I lay it on my sawbench, hold it down with a couple of G clamps,
and I’m in business. I have actually started with 3/16th
sterling rod (home cast of course) and drawn it down to 1 mm -
no, not in one pull! My professional jeweller mate comes and
uses it to draw 9 carat gold which is as hard as! (he works in
a poor area! And I use his rolling mill in exchange)

But if you do make a drawbench, make certain it is very strong;
use ‘overkill!’ I’ll be honest with you and admit that I
usually skip at least three drawplate holes at a time; sometimes
more, when I need a big reduction. And incidentally I find it
pays to pull a bit of wire through each hole in turn one day, and
measure the reduction accurately, putting the resulting table on
the drawbench, so if you need a specific size you can stop at the
right hole number… You’d be surprised to find out how many
holes are all the same size instead of being a tiny bit smaller
than the previous one! Apart from the home made plates, mine are
Joliot of Paris. and WIT. You’ll need to anneal sterling wire
frequently; I roll it up over a screwdriver handle and put it in
an old tin and support it on the traditional lab tripod over a
Bunsen burner. That way you don’t have to watch it like the
proverbial hawk whilst you heat it. Except for the knitters ,
crochetters and weavers of fine silver etc, one rarely needs
more than the 4’6’’ of wire my bench can manage. One day
(perhaps) I will photograph some of my home made gadgetry and
scan it.

       / \
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   /  /                                
 /  /__| \      @John_Burgess2

At sunny Nelson NZ