What’s your favorite way of making a tapered wire?
I like to chuck up short sections of wire in my flex shaft and taper
the ends on a file and then emery.
Perfectly smooth every time.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
I’m presuming that you mean a round wire with a round taper -
My favorite way to make a tapered wire is to use my wire rolling
mill. Just use sequential openings, rolling each pass slightly
shorter. I do this for tapers on heavy wire and to draw down tubing.
If you don’t have a wire mill, now you know one of the very
practical reasons to own one.
And if you don’t want to run out and buy such a tool, modify your
bench pin to have a tapered slot. Place the wire in the slot and file
to where the end is shallow, rotate your wire and file some more.
If you wire is heavy enough and short enough, you can put it in your
#30 hand piece and file it down while rotating.
Or you can mount two sanding disks face to face on a mandrel - so
the abrasive surfaces face each other, insert your wire and let the
discs do the work. (My personal fav for pin stem ends.)
Or you can put your wire in a pin vise and rotate the wire against
any moving abrasive - expand-o drum, abrasive disk in flex shaft, or
against sandpaper on a block.
This is not an exhaustive list, but they are all techniques I use
for various reasons.
And in the event you want to taper a big old fat wire, use a hammer
- cross peen to lengthen or widen. Clean up with a planishing hammer.
What if you have, say, 12 inches of wire that you want to taper the
last six inches of?
Well, you could file down a short length by holding a piece of wire
against the slope of your bench peg, pointing the wire away from you
and with a roughish file push away from you and turn the wire
slightly after each push or cut.
You can get a good taper with a bit of practice on a short length.
The Partial Draw and Reverse Draw Method.
If you want a long length you need a drawbench where you can see
what you are doing. Say you want to start at 2mm with a 0.5mm
downwards drawplate, taper the end of the wire, either using the
rolling mills or the technique I mentioned before, then insert the
wire into the 0.95mm hole and raw it through till near the end, say,
20mm, then reverse the drawplate and pull the wire back through, then
taper the end again and insert through hole 0.9mm and draw it through
the drawplate till 20mm from the previous stopping point. reverse the
drawplate and draw the wire back.
Repeat the processes till you have a nicely tapered wire.
You will have to decide on the degree of taper by shortening or
lengthening the length of each of each progressive partial draw and
When you have mastered this try to make a mirror image piece of wire
for a necklet.
You can also make tapered square wire using the rolling mills using
the same method, roll, reverse, turn, roll, tighten, roll, reverse,
Thank you Judy and David for the detailed about tapering
I like to chuck up short sections of wire in my flex shaft and taper the ends on a file and then emery. Perfectly smooth every time.
That is genius Jo!!! I love reading your solutions to different
tasks. So far I’ve painstakingly filed a taper on the end of a wire
by hand, but it takes me ages to get a decent result as I only have
needle files. I really need to get at least one large file but it
never comes to the top of the list of priorities when shopping for