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Trouble using drawplate with sterling


#1

Hi,

I’m trying to derive ear wire from a leftover casting I made using
sterling from IJS a long time ago, so I know I am proceeding with a
known metal.

I had no trouble rolling the wire through my rolling mill all the way
down to its finest setting, but my wife considers the wire still too
thick for her ears, so I decided to try out my drawplate with carbide
ties for the first time.

I clamped the drawplate in a vise bolted to my table, sharped one end
of the wire to a point, lubricated it with EVOO (I can’t get beeswax
on it), and fed it into the metal side of the die with it existing
from the carbide sid, pulling with conventional drawing tongs which I
bought for the purposes, and annealing every few passes.

I’ve been successful all the down to the 0.80 millimeter diameter
die. But no matter how hard I try to sharpen the end and then anneal
afterward, I cannot get the wire through the 0.75 millimeter die at
all. the point snaps under the tension.

About the only thing I can think of offhand is sanding the entire
wire to bring the diameter down to where it can all just go through
the die, but I think that would be overkill.

Any clues on how I can overcome this hurdle?

Thanks in advance,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#2

Youve a no of issues here.

your too trusting of the numbers, If you dont have one, now is the
time to get yourself a micrometer.

The mechanical sort, not the digital vernier type.

Check that the .8mm is in fact .8. Draw plates arnt always what they
say they are.

The .75 might just be .7 or even less.

You wont know where the problem is till you take some measurements.

find some .75 wire using your micrometer. andsee if it goes through
your draw plate.

check its what it says it is.

Re ear holes, Heavy ear pendants need thicker ear wires. which need
bigger holes.

the easiest way to do this is to make TAPERED ear wires. The wearer
moves them along a bit every few days. The hole will get bigger
slowly and painlessly.

Use only fine gold or 999 titanium wire. Mirror polished of course.

As a lube olive oil extra virgin works fine. dont use prepared face
creams or moisturisers, many contain Sodium laural sulfate.

An irritant to skin under tension in a stretching ear hole.


#3

I use 1.0mm wire for all my ear wires. Any thinner and they can bend
out of shape too easily.

Helen
UK


#4

Hello Andrew,

You don’t mention annealing in your process. That must be done to
combat work-hardening after drawing the wire.

Just asking, Judy in Kansas, where a nice 4" snow is lovely. until
the wind moves it to drift across the drive.


#5

When you sharpen the end of the wire go to about to extend 15mm or +
then use parallel players or needle point players to pull the wire.

Vasken


#6

Hi

Don’t bother .8mm is good for earwires.

Richard


#7

Your problem is annealing the wire too often.

Say you start with a 1 or 1.5 rolled wire which you have annealed.
Now draw the wire down through as many holes as you want, sharpening
the end as required.

DO NOT ANNEAL! (Many people anneal work far too often) As to
sharpening the end, place the wire on your bench pin with the end
pointing away from you and with a fairly rough file push the file
away from you turning the wire after each stroke Build a drawbench.
See my Ganoksin Blog ‘On your Metal’ For larger wires you can taper
the end using the wire groves of your rolling mills by just
inserting the thick wire into the rollers and rolling about 5-6mm
then reversing, turn the wire and repeat the process till the wire
will fit through the next hole in the drawplate.

David Cruickshank (Australia)
jewellerydavidcruickshank.com.au


#8

Anderw, The tapered end of the wire is stronger if it is work
hardened while the remaining wire is annealed. To harden just the
tapered end after annealing the whole wire, hammer the end into a
fishtail, snip the wide bits off leaving a rough square taper, then
refine the taper with a file. The fine tapered point is now hardened
and is less likely to mash by gripping with the draw tongs, is more
likely to enter the next smaller hole, and has a higher tensile
strength. Even so when drawing fine wire the taper may need to be
touched up with a fine file for each hole in the drawplate.

When pulling through the drawplate, grip the exposed tip lightly and
pull gently until a little more of the taper appears, then get a
bigger bite and pull a little more. With fine wires I use two or
three bites until I can grip further up the tapered end before
pulling the whole wire.

For fine wires, use a fine draw tong. For wires less than 0.7mm, my
draw tong is a flat 5" jewellers plier. The serrations on the jaws
are the marks left by a file, and the jaws are refined and checked
with a loupe to ensure they can grip a tiny little tip poking through
the drawplate. This plier is reserved for drawing from 0.7mm down to
0.3mm, and my steel drawplate does this in about 10 holes. (I need
0.3mm wire for micro welding).

Lastly, not all drawplates are equal. A drawplate with 30 holes
having nice even steps between each hole is ruined if one of the
holes is out of kilter. That one hole is a stubling block requiring
extra work to bypass. If your drawplate goes from 0.7mm to 0.3mm in 5
or less holes, it will be hard to do but not impossible.

Alastair


#9
your too trusting of the numbers, If you dont have one, now is the
time to get yourself a micrometer. 

Mr. Frater makes a number useful observations. However, everything
could check out but the problem could still be present. There are
number of techniques related to drawing wire which I do not want to
disclose in public. I reserve them for paid materials like my DVDs.
Nevertheless, if you are in financially difficult situation, like
Andrew for example. Contact me directly and I may make an exception.

Leonid Surpin
Studioarete.com


#10
The tapered end of the wire is stronger if it is work hardened
while the remaining wire is annealed. To harden just the tapered
end after annealing the whole wire, hammer the end into a fishtail,
snip the wide bits off leaving a rough square taper, then refine
the taper with a file. The fine tapered point is now hardened and
is less likely to mash by gripping with the draw tongs, is more
likely toThis is a big reason I like orchid! 

Even after over 35 years at the bench someone continually makes a
suggestion like the above, that I have never thought of, and that
solves an issue I always struggled with!

Thank you Alistair! Such a simple thing, and yet I never heard of it
till just now.


#11

I find 1mm wire is fine for posts on earrings but I use 0.8 mm for
hooks.

After I have competed the earrings I put then in the vibratory
tumbler for a few hours and they come out sufficiently hard to stay
in shape. Of course if you pull hard on them they will bend but
that’s preferable to an torn earlobe.

All the best
Jen


#12
I clamped the drawplate in a vise bolted to my table, sharped one
end of the wire to a point, lubricated it with EVOO (I can't get
beeswax on it), and fed it into the metal side of the die with it
existing from the carbide sid, pulling with conventional drawing
tongs which I bought for the purposes, and annealing every few
passes. 

First olive oil is not all that great a drawing lubricant. Use plain
old ivory soap or any other simple bar soap it is possibly the best
drawing lubricant there is. It’s only drawback is if you leave it on
steel tools it can cause rust. I shred it and mix it with a small
amount of water soluble machining oil to prevent this.

Second as David said it sounds like you are annealing too often.
With silver should do at least a reduction of 50% in area if not 70%
before annealing. If you anneal before doing enough cold work you
just cause the crystals in the metal to get larger making it weaker.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13

Hi,

It looks like yesterday and today I found out mostly by trial and
error and a little bit of on-line advice, that I had learned through
that process nearly everything you all were recommending:

  1. Helen: 1.0mm ear wires are not comfortable for my wife. I have to
    use 0.6mm instead in what I am about to make her for Valentine’s day.
    But based on your advice, I will keep some 1.0mm sterling wire handy
    for things meant other than for my wife.

  2. Judy: I’m sorry I forgot to mention it, but I though annealing was
    a given. I have been doing that, don’t worry.

  3. Ted: You may have a point, but someone offline gave me advice of
    using smaller tongs and pulling downward at a slight angle so the
    plate can act as a fulcrum. I can’t afford gold, sorry, and I really
    want to be able to engrave “925"or"999” on everything I make, so
    titanium is out. But I LIKE your idea of tapered ear wires. I think I
    will try it sometime.

  4. Vasken: I did discover the utility of needle-point pliers. It
    helped me get down under 1mm.

So far, I am able to now draw 0.6mm sterling or fine wire routinely.
That part is now down to a science (and being a Mad Scientist,
(inherited depression and former comp-sci grad, I kind of like that).

I want to also make some filigree, and I’m trying it first with fine
silver as the wire is certainly more ductile.

Thanks so far,
Andrew Jonathan Fine


#14

The key to most drawing wire, I have found, is a long taper. It
seemed wrong to me, to “waste” so much material by filing a long
taper but once I started doing it drawing became easy.

This little short tapers (puppy noses, I call them) just pull right
off.

Draw tongs become nibblers.

I anneal and then roll out the tip in my square wire mill, file and
then draw. If I can’t get a grip on even a long taper, I’ll switch
drawplates back and forth (if I have them)* and sometimes I’ll fuse a
small ball at the end of the wire–small enough to still go through
the hole. This gives me some traction.

One more thing: just use the tip as a guide/leader. Once it’s pulled
to the meat of the wire, grab that part and draw the rest. The tip
becomes sort of fragile.

*If I see a used draw plat for sale, and the price is right, I’ll
buy it, even if I already own that size range. I have found that even
Swiss and French drawplates are not uniform in how they graduate down
and switching between plates can help fill in the gaps. Quality
tungsten insert plates are better, but still…

I draw wire all the time. It’s just part of my studio practice.

Hope this helps,
Andy


#15

Hey Jim,

First olive oil is not all that great a drawing lubricant. Use
plain old ivory soap or any other simple bar soap it is possibly
the best drawing lubricant there is. It's only drawback is if you
leave it on steel tools it can cause rust. I shred it and mix it
with a small amount of water soluble machining oil to prevent this. 

What are your thoughts on bees wax, we always used that for drawing
wire.

Regards Charles A.


#16

Since it was I that mentioned oilive oil, it is meant to be used in
the ear hole stretching application NOT for wire drawing.

Re read my post on this.

ear hole stretching application NOT for wire drawing.

Re read my post on this.

When I restored my Victorian draw bench, at the plate end it was
covered with 1/2in of tallow.

Here in the UK that means sheep wool fat or lanolin.

Ted.


#17

Hi Andrew,

I want to also make some filigree, and I'm trying it first with
fine silver as the wire is certainly more ductile. 

Yemenite filigree is traditionally done with 960 wire. It is 'pure’
enough to whiten (not blacken) on annealing (!!) and yet much
sturdier than fine silver — particularly important when doing
delicate work.

Janet in Jerusalem


#18
3) Ted: You may have a point, but someone offline gave me advice
of using smaller tongs and pulling downward at a slight angle so
the plate can act as a fulcrum. I can't afford gold, sorry, and I
really want to be able to engrave "925"or"999" on everything I
make, so titanium is out. But I LIKE your idea of tapered ear
wires. I think I will try it sometime. 

Re your paragraph 3.

glad you LIKE the tapered ear wire.

Now, if youve never seen 999 titanium mirror polished then fire
oxidised you aint seen nothing yet.

BLUE metal Jewwellery? Its stunning.!! especially combined with high
carat gold.

Making a 1in dia ear hoop in 999 titanium tapered from 1/16th to 1/8
in thick, fast and profitably, is all about technique.

If you are really interested, you might perswade me to write up a
step by step walk thru, here on Ganoksin.

Ted.


#19

The best lubricant I’ve found is plain old lard from the meat
counter. It doesn’t cause rust, is cheap and works better than fancy
silicone, or any high tech thing I’ve found. It works for drawing
down wire, tubing, and is really good for deep drawing with the
hydraulic press. First found it out with Phil Poirier. Judy Hoch


#20

One more note on stearic acid it is also found in plant fats mostly
in smaller qualities. But coco butter and shea butter contain much
higher levels of stearic acid so soaps made from those fats are also
good lubricants.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts