Master Wire Gauges with Draw Plates and Draw Plate Tips
by Dale Armstrong
Question 1:

When trying designs from directions using copper wire, I always seem to have the next size wire (for example, I have 20-gauge when it calls for 21-gauge). Would the wire work just as well if I were to purchase a draw plate and use it to make the correct size wire, so I would not have to have so large an inventory of wire? Would the wire be just as smooth?

-Peggy in Nebo, North Carolina

Question 2:

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 1:

Actually, Peggy, as you say you are trying/practicing a design using copper, I don't think using a draw plate is as convenient as just using the different wire size. (Most designs can be practiced, and made, using 22-gauge wire.)

Pull wire through the holes in a metal draw plate to make your wire a narrower shape

If you would like to use a draw plate, yes, the wire will be smooth when you are finished pulling it through, but it will be a bit harder, because you have hardened it by working it.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
Dale Armstrong's Master Wire Gauges with Draw Plates and Draw Plate Tips - , General Education, Wire Wrapping, Wrapping, Wire Wrapping Jewelry, Tools, , Draw Plate
Answer 2:

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.
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.

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.

Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong


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Draw Plate
  • DRA-410.00
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Wrapping, Tools, General Education