Mysteries of European anchor chain links

Care to unlock the mysteries of European anchor chain links?

Well after all of you wonderful people helped a newbie like myself
learn how heavy wire is twisted together and I successfully repeated
the process… I wondered what next?

My current curiosity is how to make a masculine anchor chain link

There are two types of chains I’m interested in trying. The easiest
anchor looking chain would be the cable chain that is drawn through a
square plate to give it the right look. I know and understand the
process of making cable chains. Revere’s project for a cable chain is
simple and valuable enough for practice. However, in order to finish
the anchor chain/cable look one must drawn the chain through square
drawplates. The problem with this is that I have searched and never
seen any drawplates that have square holes bigger than 4 to 6mm. This
limits the size of the wire I want to use to make a man’s nautical
style necklace. (The oval shaped links that you would start out with
would far exceed the holes in the drawplate).

So unless anyone can please tell me where I can get square
drawplates that have over 6mm holes in them there is another style
anchor chain link that is interesting. The European anchor chain
link. These are used on very large ships so the links have a bar in
the center of them to prevent stretching of each link. When I see
photos of these style links made into necklaces I assume they are
casted links and then made into chains.

There is a “puffy” 3d type link that must be casted, and then there
is a wire made looking center bar link as used by a trendy Hermes
sterling anchor necklace. I think even the Hermes wire pieced looking
European anchor link is casted because the up close photos show a
poor finish.

So does anyone have a wax tree with ton of the links in them and
that is how these are made? I would be best if I could buy a larger
drawplate because I need the practice of drawing wire.

Any sources?
With much appreciation for this place and people,
Rick Powell

Bigger square draw plates are usually made by the user. Drill a hole
then file out a square from that in your 01 gauge plate. usaually
4in by 12 in by 3/4 in thick. have some here for oval wire, and a
suitable tonnage draw bench. Just time consuming as you will need to
repeat at least 10 times in different sizes…

Re your anchor chain, you make the oval links first joined up. then
the crossbar with ends concaved!! is put in place as follows. you
place the cross link diagonal then rotate it 45 Deg to put it across
the link. re solder to retain.

then polish and harden.

Ahhhh. I did think that perhaps people make their own drawplate
holes when the need for weird sizes arise. Then I thought that since
one end of the hole begin with a pitch or taper, that making your
own square drawplate holes would need very technical machining

Someone showed me that Otto Frei has drawplates with up to 12mm

I think the max I would need is 6 to 8. Thanks again everyone. Now I
know were to begin.

I love this forum.

Rick Powell

Better than filing the holes for the plate, would be to use a drift.
A drift is steel hammer drawn to a long gentle taper, about the same
taper as a ring mandrill, or even a longer taper. Make sure that
your drift is long enough to contain fit into the smallest and
largest anticipated hole. The drift will work best if it is of hot
working-steel such as one of the H types.

Drill (or punch, which is harder) a series of holes progressing from
small to large in the steel which will become your draw plate. Heat
the draw plate to a medium red, and drive the drift into each hole to
square it.

The drift will need to be quenched occasionally, more often if not
of one of the hot work types. File or grind the back of the draw
plate flat again, then reheat to a bright red, then quench as per the
specs of the type of tool steel it is made of.

If this sounds like something a blacksmith might do, it is! But it
is all metal. Gold, silver, bronze, steel – its all metal. See if
you can enlist the help of a local blacksmith. There is bound to be
one around.

You will enjoy making the tools yourself, with help as needed.
Remember, its all metal!

Many of the round final forming draw plates are made of a very hard
wood, such as rosewood, beech, rock male, etc. You might be able to
make one in wood.

Good luck!


Make your own custom size and shape drawplates out of purple heart,
or other thick pieces of very hard woods. They are readily available
at Woodcraft, or wood working stores. Discover your mad skills and
drill, saw, chip, carve, sand, or do whatever you have to do, to
make the shapes and sizes you need, apply wax to the holes to
provide slip, then use as you would a commercial draw plate. Just
make sure that your chain is evenly, and very well annealed, before
you draw the chain down. Takes strength! Making your own tools frees
you up to design and create just about anything you can imagine.
It’s fun, and deeply satisfying.


Thank you for the tips on how to make my own tooling for a drawplate
hole. I will try this first.

Rick Powell