Straightening silver wire

Hi everyone, This is an elementary question but one that has me
stumped. I have been buying 20 guage sterling wire, cutting it
into manageable lengths, putting one end in a vise and pulling
until I feel just a little give. It is then hard and perfectly
straight. This has been working for several months. I just
received a large quantity of wire from a different source, half
hard, and when I tried pulling it nothing. No give and it ended
up just as curved as when I started. Anneal it I thought. No
progress. Maybe not completely annealed I thought so I annealed
it again. Now I’m getting a little frustrated you may realize
because I still don’t have straight wire. HELP PLEASE! Betty
Belmonte Bryn Mawr, PA

Hi Betty,

Here’s another technique you might try.

Clamp one end of the wire in a vise. Clamp a hook in the the
chuck of a drill (electric or manual; electric works easier).
Attach the other end of the wire to the hook. Draw the wire taut
with the drill. While holding the wire taut, start the drill &
run it until the wire breaks. The wire will be hard & straight.

You may see a spiral pattern on the surface of the wire. This is
only a surface condition & comes off when the item is polished.

Any length (several inches to many feet) of wire can be hardened
& straighten this way.


Hi, Betty, If it is round wire, you might try twisting the wire
with a pin vise. That sure is odd behavior for sterling wire.

Betty One thing that may help you with this problem is, an
anvil and a mallet. Depending on the length of wire you use,
just roll the wire and hit it with the mallet gently it should
straighten out for you. Any Questions Just ask Amanda

Either twist it in a drill or run it through a drawplate.
Either operation will work harden the wire so it may need to be

John Dach
MidLife Crisis Enterprises
C.T. Designs
Cynthias sculptures are at:
Maiden Metals,
A small bronze foundry, no web site yet!!

Why not anneal the wire and then use your pulling tecnique…
unless you want it specifically to be half hard. Andy C.

If it’s round wire, soft and short, try this…

Roll in between two good flat boards, a la making clay snakes
betwixt your hands, like in pre-school. Should straighten things
out pretty nicely. No nicks, no scratches.

Dan Woodard
Indian Jewelers Supply Co.