Making Very Small Gold Wire & Broken Tips

John B.

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I'm sure all the "old dogs" already know this, but for those that don't..............

On Chris's post of "Thanks Mates" many had talked about ways to make super small gold wire.

I decided to post this as a new thread for those that might like to know but could miss it there.

Another way to make the wire as small as you want to is to draw it down in your drawplate until you have it the smallest diameter your plate can make.
Anneal it at each draw.
Then taper both ends of the wire, double the wire in half and pull the two strands through the plate at one time.
Anneal again.
Now fold the wire into three strands, taper the ends and pull through again.
You can keep doing this until the wire is the size you need for the line you want to inlay.
The strands are not nice and round after pulling it doubled up, but this does not matter for inlay.
The smallest hole in any of my plates is 0.25mm or about 10ths of an inch.
I have pulled up to five reduced strands through it at one time,after multi pulling.
This left each strand with about the same bulk as a 2ths wire.

Just a thought, hope it is a help to some.
John B.
 
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Brian Hochstrat

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John, this brings up a question that I have been meaning to ask. My drawplate goes down to .25, but after about .35, when I go to start the wire through the hole, the tip breaks off of the wire, I have tried several different pliers, longer tapers, lubrication, all with no success. Any idea of what the problem could be? Brian.
 

John B.

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Brian,
This is a common problem and we all fight it sometimes.
The only thing I can say is make sure you anneal the taper tip AFTER you re taper it.
And a cross between a gentle and firm hold on it with the pliers when the little nub appears through the die hole.
Easy for me to say....... but can be tough to do. Especially if you get in a bit of a rush.
Then a slow and steady pull. But I bet you know all this.

If you think your small die holes might have a little roughness, causing you to break the tip off here's a fix.
Taper the end of some jewelers soft iron binding wire and when it is started through coat the rest with some toothpaste and complete the pull.
Do this a few time and it will really polish a problem hole.

Your initial question brings up another good point, Brian.
Another tip for all that Tira might want to add to my last post about multi strand pulls.
When I have multi strands to pull I often twist the starting ends together and heat them in a gentle flame just enough to get the wire ends to fuse together.
Then I re-taper this end with a fine diamond nail file and carefully re-anneal it.
I find that bullet reloaders case neck lube works well when using a drawplate.
The drug store medical lube works well too and is less sticky and cleans up with hot water.
It's easily available. cheap and come in a nice tube like toothpaste.
Be sure to clean your wire with acetone to remove all lube or hand oil before you inlay it.
Hope this isn't more information than you wanted to know.

Best to all, John B.
 

John B.

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Hello Jack D. and others.
It was good meeting you at Scott and Family Engrave-In.
Here is another way to do things, probably what Ron Smith mentions above.
Other than the way I previously posted to draw small wire by doubling it there are several other ways.
One way is to take a small piece of flat stock tool steel about an 1/8 inch thick and make a draw plate.
Drill a hole with a bit about 1/8 inch round NEARLY through the plate.
Take a small center punch and tap in the bottom of the hole until you see a SMALL bump on the other (undrilled) side of the plate.
Now, using a fine file or STONE carefully abraid the bump until a minute hole appears.
Test the hole with some very soft wire to check the size.
When you create the desired size of hole to produce your wire, heat the plate to red and quench.
I do not anneal it and it will last for years and you can make any sizes you want.
These are not too hard to make with a little practice and a couple of reject holes.
Should be a piece of cake for a knife-maker.
Hope this is some help to you and others.
There are many other ways ways to do this, just as Thierry says above.
But for me.....I don't like to fit two pounds of poo into a one pound poo ditch. Ha ha!
Best to all, John B.
 

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