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Stretched straight


This post is not about some strange practice performed by a
conservative religious group, but how I solved the problem of
straightening wire. I made a bracelet this week that I have made for
years. It always would go together easier if the five pieces of
round, square and twisted wire were as straight as possible to
start. I have always straightened them by eye with a rawhide hammer
and my anvil. Sometimes it would help if I pulled them through two
large nails nailed close together on a piece of wood. Since last
making the bracelet, I built a draw bench. I occurred to me that, if
I could secure the wire somehow, I might be able to stretch it
straight with my draw pliers. Many of you have probably already
figured this out, but I fused a small ball on the end of the wire I
wanted to pull, and pulled it through a draw plate hole that was
slightly bigger than the wire, but smaller than the fused ball. This
secured one end. By pulling as you would to draw wire, I am able to
stretch the wire until it becomes straight. The wire size does not
change significantly. The only down side is that you need to use
more wire than you use in the finished product, so it is best to
pre-strech wire and store it until you need it. I am curious if
others see a downside to this method of straightening wire. As
always, thanks. Rob

Rob Meixner


Hi Rob,

Nope, that’s roughly what I was taught to do, lo-those-many-moons
ago. I normally just grab one end in a vise, and yank on the other
with draw pliers, but your method is more elegant if you’ve got a
drawbench. (I do it with shorter lengths, but I usually put my leg
against the vise, and sort of kick off, so that my leg muscles are
doing the work. Just MAKE SURE of what’s behind you, so that if the
wire breaks, or the tongs slip, you don’t take a benchpin in the
kidneys as you go flying backwards. (Ask me how I know this…)

Pulling on it until you feel it give is going to give you the
straightest wire with the least overall effort, at least so long as
the thickness and hardness are even. If they’re not, all the
’straightening’ will concentrate in the softest/thinnest spots.



Rob- In the stone age when we made earring posts by hand I’d make a
big supply of posts all at once. I always clamped one end of a couple
of feet of wire in the vise and grabbed the other end with a pair of
draw tongs and gave it a sharp pull. Then I’d measure and cut to
length all of the posts I figured I’d need for the next year. To
notch the end of the posts where the nut grabs I simply take my pair
of round ended pliers and gently squeeze and twist to make a work
hardened groove that circled the wire near the end.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer


Brian and Joy. Thanks for your reply. I am usually trying to
straighten, what is for me, fairly heavy wire. This includes 10 and
8 gauge round and 3X3 square stock. I have tried the vise and hand
method that Brian describes, but I can’t get it to stretch before my
vise and bench move. I did use a piece of wood as a paddle once
attaching the wire to the vise and then around the end of the
paddle. Stepping straight down on the paddle allowed me to use all
of my weight, but in a controlled fashion. It also didn’t move the
vise and bench. This works, but it was shortly after that I built my
draw bench. The bench is 8 feet long, so I can do fairly long draws
and straighten long pieces to store for stock. I also built in a
second stop for my draw plates that is about half way from the crank
end of the bench. This allows me to quickly draw or straighten
shorter lengths while holding on to the crank and plate at the same
time so that the plate doesn’t bounce on to the floor when the draw
is done. I enjoy building my own tools and benches. Right now I need
a bench for my two rolling mills and I will put the draw bench
(board) on it too. Stay tuned. Thanks. Rob

Rob Meixner


Invest in wire pulling pliers. They are inexpensive and last
forever. Uncoilyour annealed metal, load into a vise, one foot on
the ground and one up and braced. With the tongs, push the wire into
an arc and then pull out straight with a snap.

I love teaching this method to students and watching their faces
when kinkedwire becomes straight. :slight_smile:

Karen Christians