Many of us make our own wire because we don’t like to wait to have
stock mailed to us, don’t like the limited selection available, the
price charged for the manufactured wire, and a lot of us are in too
big a hurry. When we build custom projects, we often need
custom-shaped stock, and off the rack stock often will not suffice. If
you stock your own wire, then you have lots of different sizes on
hand, right? How much money do you have tied up in all that stock?
18K or platinum wire? You’re talking a fortune in stock. I make what I
need, as I need it, as much or as little as I need, and in the exact
size and shape required. And if I screw something up while
fabricating, then I just make more. No tears, no swearing, no having
to get on the phone and order more stock. You just make more. Yes,
there is labor and time involved to make stock. That is part of
metalsmithing, in my mind.
I have a student who is making several link chains out of 20 ga.
Argentium wire. She is going through many feet of that each day in
class. Of course she is buying that much wire ready-made.
I would not advise you to make your own drawplate. Way too much work
when they are available fairly cheap. Don’t spend your money on the
pricy carbide-insert models. Too expensive, and vulnerable to damage.
You’ll need to put a long, slender taper on the wire you pull
through the drawplate, and I’d recommend learning how to do that with
a rolling mill. Very fast with no loss of material. You must then
anneal the tapered part, as the entire wire must be annealed before
drawing. Start with the hole in the drawplate that is the next size
smaller than the hole the wire completely goes through. You will pull
through the tapered side of the plate, out the numbered side.
Generally speaking, make square stock 2 gauges larger than the round
stock you want to end up with, taper, anneal, and start pulling. Small
ga. wire can be done by hand by putting the drawplate in a vise and
pulling with tongs, but bigger wire will require a drawbench ( mine
was less than $200 sent to my door).
I think a video on wire drawing will be made soon at my studio.
There are lots of questions out there on how this process is done, so
I need to get busy making the video!