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To draw wire or not to draw

I use the kiln to aneal my wire

Regarding kiln annealed wire:

Do you put the wire in a tin can first?

How do you determine when it’s annealed?

Do you start when the kiln is at the annealing temp.?

I periodically make (in gold) or buy (in silver) a bunch of 1.00mm. wire to have on hand and then draw down as needed. I draw down to 0.30 mm. regularly. Wire drawing is extremely quick and easy if you file the points optimally so they 1) don’t break and 2) go through the hole easily so you don’t have to struggle to get a grip on it for pulling.

THE KEY: When you file the end, think ‘parallel’—not ‘point’!!!

The angle off parallel should be minimal. This is especially important with very thin wire. See illustration:

Happy drawing!
Janet in Jerusalem

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Hi Sandy, Drawing 22K or 24K wire really isn’t hard to do. And if you have good quality draw plates it’s a great way to get any gauge wire at any time you need. I’ve drawn 22K down to 31 gauge, and going that fine can be a little tricky, but if you take your time, it’s not difficult.

Follow Andy C’s great advice! It’s really important to remember that he says "the taper is only a leader. I get the wire started by pulling on the taper and then re-grip the wire at the meatier place as soon as I can see it."
This is where it will snap off if you don’t take care! I use a small needle nose plier to start and then sometimes switch back to my tongs, or just stick with the needle nose.

I also anneal in a small trinket kiln, and keep a close eye on the wire, it will melt easily if you don’t. I anneal between every pull after I’ve gotten to 24 gauge. Use lubrication between each pull as well.

You may want to practice a bit with fine silver before trying 22K.

I know a lot of people think it’s a waste of time, but there is something very satisfying about making your own wire, or sheet for that matter.

Good luck!
Amelia

Thanks Amelia and Sandy!

A post was split to a new topic: Andy Cooperman - Flex Shaft DVD

Hi All,
I am so happy to have been invited to the new forum. I was taught this trick by my former boss and mentor, a certain Tom Arnold, and I can attest to the fact that it works. Could it be you Tom? From Facets? It would be great to catch up if it is you. Hélène.

This is one of the best drawplates , I have two of them , one like in your picture and another in square profile . The steel is very well tempered and the holes are calibrated and gave a nice polishing surface to the wire .
When I draw wire thinner than 0.4 mm , I’m using two pliers . First is a pointed nose plier to catch the tip of the wire from the hole and pull it slightly out , then the drawing plier to form the wire , pulling slightly and without interruption until the wire is almost 40 cm out of the drawplate . Then I grab the wire close to the drawing plate and pull again , with smooth and continuous draw . The secret to get the thinnest wires is to anneal the material ( gold or silver ) more often the wire gets thinner , then to pull in a smooth motion , without interruption and with confidence . The thinner the wire , the more and more often the annealing .
And the lubricant is another VERY important subject . After decades of using different lubricants ( bee wax , parafine , oils ) I stopped searching and I use only BurLife from RioGrande . It’s the best lubricant I ever used and it comes in paste , stick and liquid . I reccomend it to all those who are making wire in their workplaces . The rest is patience and a good density of the material , ingots for wire must be free of internal cracks and without any impurities , so use a magnet to remove any eventual iron powder or rust when you remelt your scrap to make ingots for wire . I hope this will help . If you want to find more about bench working , go to www.hollowjewelry.wordpress.com or visit Wingsfarm page on facebook .

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The only experience I have had is using a macro draw plate to align a sterling silver chain that was about 3/16 of an inch in diameter and was composed of fused fine silver links woven into a pattern. The wood draw plate was made by me and it whipped the chain into shape easily.
I tried doing a search on wire drawing on this site and did not find my friend Giovani Corvaja. He is a master at drawing fine wire the thickness of a hair and finer. He is located in Todi Italy where I visited him. He had at least one piece in the MAD museum in NYC. Here is a link: http://www.beadinggem.com/2014/08/giovanni-corvajas-amazing-golden-fleece.html
I do not know if he has written a tutorial but he has incredible dies and a whole complex protocol for creating “fleece”

Giacomo referred to lubricants. The best filigree jeweler I ever knew used chicken fat as a lubricant for drawing wire…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem

That is hilarious.

Chicken fat!!!

I use bee wax if you were going to use bird fat duck fat lasts longer and keeps better.

Les

Good to know…:-)…

I use bees’ wax too.

Janet in Jerusalem

An interesting suggestion from another shop, something new to me, was this.

To make very fine wire, really any size wire, melt your metal in a melting dish. Then use a quartz tube, like a lab would use, with a rubber suction ball at one end. You melt your metal and suck it part way into the tube. Apparently when it cools the wire slides out. They say they do it all the time.

I use traditional methods but may try this someday.

Sucking up molten metal?
I don’t think so just for my own safety.

I draw very thin wire when I need silver or gold french wire which is realy
realy thin (0.25mm).
I have it done in no time using drawplate with carbide tungsten inserts and
my wire shines like a mirror.

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Brilliant idea! That sure would save a lot of time and effort! Where do you get “quartz tubing”? And where do you get a rubber suction ball with the tip the right size? I wonder what diameter tubing they use.

Janet in Jerusalem

This suggestion was from Stuller’s metallurgist. He said this technique works great if you want to produce some very fine gauge wire for laser welding. It significantly cuts down the process time. Especially works for metals that harden on slow cooling like white gold and 18K rose gold. Quenching of pin samples gives you appreciably malleable material with less fear of cracking. They use it for larger gauge wire as well.

I have yet to try it. Below are the answers to your questions, I asked the same ones. :wink:

Where do you get the tubes?
www.technicalglass.com
Ask for fused quartz tubing.

Just a rubber suction ball?
Yes.
Cole-Parmer Instruments
Pipette bulbs about $4 each

Doesn’t the suction ball melt?
No. As long as the quartz tube is at least 10" long

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Ok, this sounds completly different then I was thinking.
That rubber ball does the sucktion, now I understand.

Oh yeah! That’s funny!
You were very sensible to be reluctant!
Mark

Sometimes I go through to Belgium to sell old gold to my metal supplier. They take the gold and melt it in an induction heater, and then when it is all melted the dude takes a 4 mm quartz tube with a suction ball at the end an sucks up a small length of gold in.
Then he breaks the quartz apart and then the little rod that is left is put in one of those analyzer magic machines to determine the composition. Super accurate too.
Having seen the process, I seriously doubt that sucking up gold to make wire is even feasible at the 1 mm scale.
I also doubt that the gold will just ‘fall out’. COE and all that.
Maybe with 3 mm upwards you could suck gold up and then roll it and make wire as per normal.
But why reinvent the wheel?

Hi all
I think it depends on how much you need and the quality of your bullion dealers metal.
I use .8 mm Argentium for my earwires from A&E metals Australia for my ear wires.
But I do draw down wire for other purposes.
all the best
Richard