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How do I make my drawn wire smooth?

Hi guys!

I recently started teaching myself to draw my own wire. For the most part it’s been going well, but I have been having trouble getting my wire to be fully smooth. I start out in a square shape from my rolling mill, after I get it to the right thickness I start to pull it through my drawing plate. I go through a bunch of the holes but still find that there is a line that won’t seem to smooth out throughout the new wire.
Am I not putting it through enough holes? Should I anneal it more before? I know it’s probably a simple maneuver I’m not doing but I couldn’t seem to find an answer anywhere.
Any help is always appreciated! Thank guys :slight_smile:


Each time it comes out of the rolling mill, do you file off any flanges? Even if those wings disappear on the next pass through the mill, they are not truly gone and will eventually haunt you.


Good Morning Ava,

I will qualify this by saying I have never drawn square wire. But I have rolled a few miles of it. I think I may take more time than I need to with the roller but I haven’t experienced a problem with the lines you described. Betty mentions the wings being developed from rolling square wire. If you are going to draw the wire through a die those wings need to be gone. I have pulled square wire I have rolled, with very small wings, down to round wire and experienced the problem you described. Whether you physically remove them or make more, smaller, passes through the mill so you don’t create the wings I think you will solve your problem. I have used those wings as a design element by the way.

Good luck, have fun.



I don’t that’s great thinking thank you!

This is very helpful thank you. Not sure if I made it clear but I’m trying to draw round wire after my rolling mill made it square.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond thank you!

I always roll my square wire from round 2 times. First through, no big thing. Turn the wire 90 degrees and roll again. Viola, the wings are gone.

If I see “wings”, I pretty much start over. They appear on the open or horizontal part of the square crossection that isn’t supported metal to metal as it passes through the roller. I blame it on taking too much of a reduction at one time. Like Don, I roll a lot of square wire to either remain square or be rolled, forged, drawn or fabricated into another shape. I do often draw it into round wire where the wings will appear as little wispy pieces of raised metal as you draw. They also hurt like hell if you happen to drive one into your skin. When I roll an ingot into square wire, I anneal often, don’t reduce too much at a time and always roll twice at each step of reduction turning the wire 90 degrees each time. Put a little sharpie mark on the wire near the end to keep track of which way is up so that you can be sure to turn 90 degrees. Good luck…Rob

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I second this.
Also I continually adjust the roller as I find there is to big a jump between each size, so each time I step down to a smaller roller I open it up a bit, roll, rotate the wire 90*, tighten the roller, roll. this eliminates the ‘Wings’ issue.

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Hi Ava, wings and feathers are a pain but things go belly up sometimes. As an experiment take a piece of beaten up metal and get into the feathers with a half round bench file say #3 or 4 cut. Have the round side down into the metal.This will start opening up the cracks in the metal way deep down. If you want to use this metal then you will need to file all this stuff out of the way first. As advised turning the metal as you roll is important and Professor Dr. Erhard Brepohl in his book "The Theory & Practice of Goldsmithing ", covers turning the metal end over end also!!

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Pull thru a draw place like this: [](
Anneal, secure draw plate in vice, file down one point of wire so it fits into hole, grab from other side with drawing tongs Anneal every few draws. BE CAREFUL that you brace yourself so you don’t go flying backward!

Esta Jo, waiting for winter in Philly

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another point is that the pliers must “grip” the wire tight! If you feel that the plier jaws are sliding off, cut off that worn tip and grip the metal again but lower down.
I saw some people apply “bees-wax” along the wire. This is to lubricate it as it’s going through the draw-block, opening!

Gerry, on my iPhone

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You are all so great and so helpful thanks for taking the time to help me out! I’ll try these suggestions at work tomorrow :slight_smile:

The lines and surface on drawn wire is from the smoothness of the holes in the draw plate. In the industry they have nice carbide holes and the wire is polished as it goes through the process. What you need to so is simply polish which can be a pain. You can buy milled metal from suppliers and it will be smooth square and shiny otherwise a hard felt wheel will do the trick. Problem is you have to do all 4 sides. An expensive drawplate with carbide bits will be better to start but none are perfect. Hope that helps get polishing😁

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Thanks Gerry, I forgot the very important lubricant!


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I have a collection of very expensive drawplates most of which I never use. The larger size round wire plate has carbide inserts, most of the rest are all steel. I draw a lot of round wire and some square wire when I need nice sharp edges. I built a draw bench using the standard 2"X6"X6’ base and boat winch design. I hold my plates in place with PVC stops screwed deep into the base. To that design I have added a wooden pulley that allows me to do one continuous draw that is longer than the base. The key is, as Gerry suggests, a good pair of draw tongs. I also use this bench to straighten wire by securing the end of the wire rather than letting it pass through a draw plate. Actually the drawplate is replaced by a short piece of PVC board with a hole in it. I secure the wire with a lock wrench. I may have $150 in the entire bench with the most expensive piece being the draw tongs. Draw plates are another story. I keep a jar of vaseline nearby to lubricate the wire. The initial taper is done fairly easily on progressively small size square wire grooves on my rolling mill. This works down to about 18 gauge, after that I have to secure the wire in a pinvise and taper it on an expansion sanding wheel. Real small tapers are done by first pounding the end of the wire into a tapered flat and then grinding the edges to form a full taper. I also draw a lot of 22 - 26 gauge fine and sterling silver filigree wire. I do this by just putting the draw plate in my bench vise and pulling it by hand. I should probably just buy it, but I have trouble planning ahead. I would be interested in hearing how others form their tapers. This is all lots of fun…Rob

Orchid confuses me sometimes. Rob, was this info private to me or for everyone? I got plans for a portable draw bench from John Cogswell. Almost done with it. The winch is expensive but I think I might have spent more in screws and bolts with my inaccurate measurements!

Esta Jo

Elizabeth…Ganoksin is confusing. I intended what I wrote for general consumption. Good luck with your bench, they open up a whole new world of possibilities…Rob

Esta Jo,

I am unfamiliar with the drawing bench by John Cogswell. What is the winch used? I think Rob and I bought the same boat trailer winch from Harbor Freight. Less than $30.00 in any case. And I agree with the idea that if you spend money on anything buy really good tongs.


So gratifying that we are always helping so many people. What we take for granted & mundane is such a challenge to others.
Even we may be busy at our own benches, we still take a few moments to help those who need our immediate help!

On behalf of them, thanks!

Gerry, on my iPhone


I will ask John if I can post his plans. I got my winch from HF as well and I am going to get some better tongs as mine are stripped.