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Making a table top draw bench-length

Hi all,

I am going to be making a table to draw bench and already have all the parts. The primary use will be to draw for making filigree wire. I’m debating on how long to make it. I see draw benches on sale that are 3.5 ft. up to 6 ft. long. Are there any guidelines on how long they should be? If I make it only 2 ft long, will it still work?


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The bench needs to be longer than the length of wire you want to draw. I have a 6’ draw bench but the best I can draw is a 4’ length of wire in each pull. Look up the project on YouTube. There is probably a How To there for you.

Don Meixner
---- Monica Fiorella wrote:


If you use standard draw tongs such as these that do not lock

you will need to grasp the tongs closed with one hand and start cranking the winch with your other until the pulling causes the tongs to grip, so your effective bench length can’t be longer than your arm span.

If you have an attachment ring welded to a vise grip or perhaps use something like this to lock the tongs onto your wire

then the bench can be any length you find reasonable.

Almost all the pulling I do is of thick wall, large diameter tubing so I don’t need a long draw bench and can start my pull using the German draw tongs, but a vise grip type of pliers would make things a lot easier. One of these days…

Neil A


I just got back from a hardware store and came up with a solution that doesn’t require welding. I just replaced the vise grip’s knurled bolt with an eye-bolt:

Should have done this years ago. A vise grip setup like this would cost at least $60 less than German draw tongs, too.

Neil A



That is the best idea I have seen in a long time for a draw bench. It eliminates the awkward holding tension on the draw tongs and cranking the winch.


My draw bench is an under the table bench that I can pull out when I need it and then push it back out of the way when I don’t. It is a bout 5’ long. With the pulley I can pull wire longer than the bench by wrapping it around the pulley before the next pull. The pulley is made out of hard wood so it doesn’t damage the metal. I use my bench as much for straightening stock as I do for drawing stock and have about $100 total invested in it. Following should be some pictures. Yes Richard, those are my Lucas pedals…Rob


What thicknesses of wire are you drawing?? And what lengths?

8 gauge down to 20, occasionally smaller, but my draw tongs have trouble hanging with to the smaller gauges. I form my tapers first in the rolling mill square grooves and then in a small hand vise on an expanding abrasive belt wheel. The lengths are typically less than four feet, but with the pulley I can pull whatever I need. By staging my annealing steps, I can finish with wire that is semi to very hard depending on what purpose it will be put to…Rob


FWIW, I think that drum would be called a capstan, rather than a pulley.

Many years ago, I had a beautiful old draw bench on loan to me for several years because the owner didn’t have room for it, but when he decided to sell it, I actually found it much easier to work without it…:-)… My tried-and-true techniques–which have served me well over 40+ years–may or may not be suitable for you:

I cast an ingot rod, usually not more than an inch or two. I reduce it in the wire part of the rolling mill till I can start hand-pulling it through a drawplate mounted on a plain old screw-on vise mounted anywhere which allows me to walk backward as many feet as I need to draw the length I want.

When I need yards of wire, here’s an old-time solution used by Yemenite jewelers: when you are walking backwards pulling your wire and eventually come up against a wall (which happens pretty quickly in a small space), you start rotating in place so that the wire (pliers held waist-high during the pull) starts wrapping around your waist. One would think it would pull tight and hurt, but it doesn’t–it wraps nice and comfortable, keeping the wire nice and smooth (unbent)! You can get infinitely long wire this way.

I only use a draw tongs if I’m drawing very thick gauges. My favorite pliers for drawing is an ancient small pliers which is half broken, but the part that is not broken grips thin wire firmly without breaking it. Or I use a serrated parallel pliers, whose flat nose gives a good grip right up to the plate. The most important thing is to file the pulling-tip as thick as possible, taking off only enough to get it through the plate for a good grip–which is sometimes just a millimeter beyond the face of the plate:

These suggestions might not be applicable for you–eg if most of the wire you need is too thick for you to pull by hand through a drawplate. When I need really heavy round wire, I do go to a colleague to use their drawbench. (Square wire I can always roll out on the mill and sharpen up the corners by hand-pulling through a square-hole drawplate.) But for those of you who mostly use wire a bit over 1 mm. and/or below, the above techniques are probably the least expensive, most space-saving way to make it…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem

Rob–I just realized you are not the original poster–this reply replies to your comment, but it is actually directed towards the original poster ‘myfiorella’.


Janet, rotating in place is brilliant.

But if the surface to which the vise is attached is not secured to the floor or the wall, then that surface moves when I draw (even if the vise is attached to my most heavily laden table). The wasted time and effort of repeatedly moving the table back into it’s place makes it worth the price of a draw bench.

Elliot, I thought the drum itself was called a sheave, and the whole system was called either a pulley or a capstan. This is one of those torturous examples of the English language …it’s nearly impossible to figure out which word is most accurate.

I call it a pulley. It just idles. A capstan is powered. Who cares, it works for me, but Janetb’s method is great…Rob

A drawplate cannot be used at all unless it is held by something immovable…:-)… Much more efficient (money, space, time) to secure a vise than to build or buy a drawbench…:-)… especially since a secure vise is useful/required for many things. You must have something in your surroundings that is immovable e.g., a sink counter. In Israel, all older buildings have a marble shelf embedded in the wall under windows over radiators (to keep the heat from rising, I suppose). I attach my vise to that. Something extremely minimal can quickly and easily be attached to a wall/window sill/door frame/etc.

Janet in Jerusalem

Fantastic idea - my compliments!

You’re absolutely right. I was confused by the sheave not being within a block, so to me it looked like a capstan.

Yes Rob, I noticed that immediately, they kind of stand out from the crowd. Regards, Richard Lucas

Here’s a neat drawbench concept that has worked for me for over 20 years (and which I posted to Orchid years ago). Rio used to carry it and no longer does, but any machinist could pull it together for you (no pun intended). We replaced the original aluminum parts that gave up the ghost and it’s a gem.DrawBench1%201 DrawBench2%201 DrawBench3%201 DrawBench4%201 DrawBench5


Hello LaLinda, I like your setup… have you ever considered using a foot operated Rheostat to control this motor… just a thought. Possibly our #9 Lowboy Rheostat might do the trick for you. I can be reached at (800) 332-5573 Richard Lucas

That’s a great idea! Thanks!