How to straighten thick wire?

Hello everyone,

I just bought some 3mm thick round wire (I don’t know what gauge that
is). It was delivered coiled up and I need to work with it straight.
With thinner wire I’d rub it back and forth along the edge of my wood
workbench, but this is heavy stuff. Any suggestions on how I might
straighten it out?

Thanks, Cathy, Anjou, France

I would anneal the wire, put one end in a sturdy bench vise, grip the
other end with drawing plyers and give a quick, hard yank! I have
found that this really straightens and work hardens wire rather
efficiently. --Vicki Embrey

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I have straightened out thick wire by cutting it a little beyond
the length needed, annealing it, clamping one end in a sturdy vise,
grabbing the other end with a pair of draw tongs, bracing my feet and
pulling hard on the wire till I feel it stretch. It is now straight.
Requires considerable strength, and you have to take care not to
fall backwards if the wire isn’t firmly
anchored. Good luck. Dee

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Take two flat sheets of heavy material - the sturdier the better. Two
wood planks will do (pastry boards have been used in some workshops!)
but a pair of steel plates is even better. Anneal and pickle the wire.
Rinse it well and dry it. Put the wire onto one sheet then put the
other on top and roll the top one back and forth with a bit of
pressure applied.

If you have more than about nine inches of wire you’ll probably need
to cut it in two.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Cathy: you didn’t day if the wire was gold or silver but this works
for both though easier with silver. With a torch make a small ball
About 4-5mm on one end of a piece of wire you want to straighten. I
usually only straighten about two feet at a time. Now place the ball
end of the wire in the vice and tighten down firmly. Next grab the
other end with as pair of draw tongs and pull with a steady pressure
until you feel the wire stretch. it should be nice and straight at
this point. Make sure the wire is annealed before you pull. Frank Goss

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hallo Cathy

This Nicolas speaking from Belgium. If you want to make thick wire
straight you have to anneal it first then quench it under running
water if it is silver or copper for gold it depends the alloy that
you are using and then with a vise tide up from the back side and
passed through an drawing plate and then you can strecth it carefully
on your drawing bench. It goes pretty easy and it becames very
straight. The only thing is that through stretching the wire it
becomes a little bit smaller from diameter.

I hope that works!!!
Nicolas Theodoridis

One way is to twist it. Cut a piece (as long as you want,3-4 feet
100-200+++ feet). Put one end in a drill and attach the other end to
something solid. Start twisting with the drill. You don’t have to
make the wire tight to make it straight, just don’t let it kink or
form a loop while twisting it. Twist until it is as straight as you
like (neat way to make “patterned” wire is to twist 2 or more pieces
together). The only potential drawback to this method is that it
does work harden the wire but so will pulling it over the edge of
your work bench.

John Dach
MidLife Crisis Enterprises
Cynthia Thomas Designs
Cynthia’s sculptures are at:

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Here are 3 ways you could try.

For shorter lengths (under about 30 cm); hold the end down on the
bench or some other flat surface. Then unroll the coil so that it
comes in contact with the bench top as soon as it leaves the coil.

For longer lengths, unroll the amount you need plus a little more (15
cm). Clamp on end in a vise. Clamp the other end in the jaws of a
drill chuck. A manual one will work, but an electric makes the job go
faster & is less work. Remove any kinks & loops from the wire. Draw
the wire taut with the drill. While holding the wire taut, run the
drill until the wire is straight.

This method will also work harden the wire; how much depends on how
long the wire is twisted. Just to straighten it shouldn’t take many

Another way for any length is pulling the wire sharply.

Clamp 1 end firmly in a vise. Grasp the other end tightly in a
pliers, vise grip, hand vise or other tool. Give the a sudden hard
pull. For the size wire you’ve got, this may not be effective.


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Cathy, First anneal the wire. I find that the wire I get from the
supplier is usually pretty work hardened. Next secure one end in a
vise and grab the other end with heavy duty pliers or better yet,
vise-grip type pliers. Pull the wire as taut as you can and twist the
wire several turns. Another way is to use a draw bench to pull the
wire taut and stretch it slightly. Of course if you don’t have a
draw bench you’ll have to depend on brute strength.

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If you have to straighten a large diameter wire it can sometimes be
tricky to get sufficient leverage pulling against a vise, especially
if you don’t have a drawing bench, and/or if you are a person of
small stature.

Here is an alternate method which will work well for short lengths of
very heavy wire that I have often observed used by the goldsmiths in
Thailand, many of whom are not physically large individuals:

Draw a substantial size bead on one end of the wire (with a torch)
and insure that the wire is as well annealed as possible in the
process. Using two very sturdy (and not too tall) chairs or stools of
the same seat height: Place the chairs quite close together facing
each other, set the drawplate down as a bridge across both of the
seats. Standing with one foot firmly on each chair (and on top of the
drawplate) insert the wire into one of the holes from the bottom
pointing up, the bead will stop it from passing all the way through
the plate. In this position, with knees slightly bent and your weight
well balanced and centered over the plate, you will have the best
unaided leverage available. It is essential that when you pull the
wire to straighten it the force of your exertion is very controlled,
and directed straight upwards, for safety’s sake as well as for the
best results.

I have seen very slight lads straighten quite large wires with
relative ease in this fashion. And I have yet to see anyone pull hard
enough to lift the drawplate off from the seats of the chairs, but do
try this technique only with appropriate prudence and caution.

disclaimer (the contributor of this technique assumes no
responsibility or liability for injuries due to any individual’s
clumsiness or the improper application of the above described

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