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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
May 4, 2011

Question:

Hi Dale, I’m curious about draw plates and how to use them. I purchased two draw plates somewhere about a year apart and both times the holes were huge compared to the stamped size they were supposed to be. I would like to know things like, can you pull gold filled wire through a draw plate or would it take off the gold? How long a piece of wire does a person start with? Do you have to heat the wire on every pull? I can’t find these or any other in-depth answers about draw plates anywhere and believe me I’ve spent hours online trying. I need almost all the steps involved in using a draw plate.

-Dean in Blaine, Minnesota

Answer:

Dean, the marked size of a draw plate hole is the outer dimension. When you are pulling a single strand of wire through a draw plate to make the wire smaller in diameter or a different shape, it is important to first make one end as small as possible (cut and file the wire end to a fine, thin point) so it will fit through the smaller-sized holes.

Square Draw Plate
Square Draw Plate

Pulling by hand can be a challenge as the wire gets smaller. Folks who draw wire all the time will often invest in or build a Draw Bench (click for a picture). The most comprehensive information I found about drawing individual wire strands is this Ganoksin article, Wire Drawing Hints.

With regard to drawing gold-filled wire: because the gold layer is heated/fused to the brass core, the gold will stretch with the wire, and there should be no problem until you pull the wire several times through progressively smaller holes.

Using a wooden draw plate to reduce items such as Viking Knit Chain is similar to using a metal draw plate. Click to watch Albina Manning discuss wooden draw plates: How to Use a Wooden Draw Plate.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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