Here is a thought. The goldsmiths, here in Iceland, do a lot of
filigrThetae (sp) work and they are basically using a wooden block
with nails in it to wrap around. They clip of the heads of the
nails to prevent scratching the wire. It is a cheap and
disposable system. They also, upon completing a design they want
to repeat, brand the design into the wood so they can see, at a
glance, what pattern they are repeating.
They use this technique both for the heavier wire outer form
and the smaller inner wire swirls.
I do not know if this is what you were refering to but hope it