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Tap & Die Techniques

Ok… it’s very possible I’m looking to attempt something that can’t
be done… But I thought it would be worth a shot to ask the
friendly people here at Orchid. I want to take some sterling silver
tubing and sterling silver wire and form the wire so it screws into
the sterling tubing. Can I do this? I’ve searched all over to find
out just what a tap and die set actually does, and have had no luck.
How does one go about getting the threads on wire that will fit
into the threads of tubing??? I’m desperate for an answer… I hope
someone can help me.

Follow Up Messages combined

Ok… I tried another search on the forum and found some information
that I think might help. So here’s my second question - is there
anyone in the Phoenix (or surrounding areas) that would be willing
to give me a short course on threading and using the tap and die
sets? I’m only going to be using one size tubing for a large
project I’m working on. So if I could get some instruction (paid,
of course), I would greatly appreciate it.


Cat, in one of Charles Lewton-Brain’s books (and very likely in the
Orchid archives) is a method for making male/female threads that you
could put inside larger tubing to make threads. Basically you twist
two wires together over a core (depending on the size of your
tubing, you could make the wire threads the size to go inside the
tubing) and then unscrew them carefully and solder one set inside
tubing and the other on the outside of the rod.

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Donna in VA


I would be glad to help you with you’re tap and die question. I need
to know the inside diameter of the tube and the outside diameter of
the wire. Since I am more a machinest than anything else at this
point it should be easy.


Hi Cathrine:

After reading you’re clarification thread I believe that the problem
you are going to have is with the long internal thread in the tube. I
think what you need to do to get it to work is use a threaded insert
in the tube so that the rest of the inside diameter of the tube is
larger than you’re threaded rod. As you probably already know on
small threads keeping you’re sizes accurate is critical. I don’t have
a source in particular but if you got threaded rod of steel and
silver plated it that could possibly work for you. I would worry
about long exposed threads in silver. I’m sorry not to be of more
help. Please feel free to call me if you need

Best Regards

Dear Cat,

Tapping and making screw tread can be done in many sizes of tread.
There are about 50 commercial available type of screw tread.
Different angle, pitch tread shape etc.) I know you Americans still
stick to the inches tap and dies, but there is much , much more to
use in metric. First of al I need to know the inside diameter of your

If we have found a correct tap than I can tell you the thickness of
the wire on which you can use a cutting die for a perfect fit.

Martin Niemeijer
Cultuurwerkplaats R10
Rieteweg 10
8041 AK, Zwolle
The Netherlands

Although you may not find what you actually neeed; browsing this on
line catalog may offer a suitable solution - many small parts are
available at and they may even
be able to talk you through alternative possibilities.

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The problem that I always ran into w/ threading sterling tube was
stretching. The walls of the sterling tube, unless quite thick,
would not be stiff enough to resist the entry and wedging action of
the tap. I always had to draw the tube back down to original OD.

Andy Cooperman

You can create you own Tap.

The normal Tap length will not be sufficient to be used for a long
thread in a tube.

You will end up making a Tap to fit your project.

Since you have the die a long tap can be made by getting an
appropriate size of Drill rod.

Drill rods come ground to size and are usually made of steel that
can be hardened.

Check in Mac Master or any other Industrial Supply Catalogs.

The Drill Rod should be annealed so you can work on it. After that
it has to be fluted (two flutes should be enough). Then the starting
tip has to be tapered. You have to now use your Die to Thread this
Fluted Drill rod to create your Long Tap.

Regards Kenneth Singh
46 jewelry Supply Inc.
46 West 46 St,
New York, NY 10036

For that length of thread, you will need a tap with back clearance
to allow for the extended cut in length, given that the shank is
usually of a larger Diameter in a good set of taps. Also look at
forming taps, these do not cut, but rather form a thread which will
equate in a stronger thread especially in soft metals. For example a
6-32 tap will require a hole size of .1065, but with a forming tap,
this hole will be 1/8 or .125. Less stress on the tool and the user.

If you need assistance in getting the right size, give me a call.

Best Regards.
Neil George