Jump to content
JeffEvarts

Missing Tool! How to make a drawplate with "simple/early" tools

Recommended Posts

Hello hammerfolk!

I considered posting this to the tools forum, but that forum seemed to have a lot of high-tech answers, and this one less so.

I am wondering what it takes to make a wire drawplate using hammer/tong/anvil tooling and wrought iron material. To me it's obvious how to do it if you have an augur with HSS/carbide tip, but wire drawing (for gold and silver, and I presume copper) went down to hair-like fineness in the Egyptian days. How would you make such a tiny hole in a hard material  without sharp edges, burrs, or irregularities? If I was asked to design a process for anything down to 1/8 inch, or even 1/16, I  think I could do it with just poking narrow hard pointy things through hot iron, then massaging them with a BP hammer... but litz wire goes down to 0.03mm, and I have no idea how to get there with "normal" tools and materials.

Reminder: This is for the process for making the drawplate, not the process of drawing the wire.

If anyone has a pointer to a process description, I'd be grateful. If anyone wants to make a Youtube video showing how to do it, I'd be thrilled.

Thank you kindly,

-Jeff Evarts

P.S. There's some evidence (if you're generous) that gemstones may have been used as drawplates, but the question "how did they make a fine, smooth conical hole in a hard material" remains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This actually does go in the tools and toolmaking section and I'll put it there, but as far as I'm aware early wire was not drawn.  It was hammered and rolled.  The earliest evidence of a drawplate I know of is ca. 1000 AD.  I am quite willing to be proven wrong, of course!  And I can't answer the question of really fine holes even in those.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The draw plates I know of from Scandinavia are:

A couple from the Mastermyr chest

One from the Bygland smiths grave

One from Sigtuna in Sweden.

Unfortunately I don't have dates for the last two.

This link discuss Roman wire making by rolling and drawing. https://www.topoi.org/project/d-5-5-1/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alan, Dan, and Jeppe,

Thanks for the replies! I'm not so concerned about when the drawplate arrived compared to how it was first made (well).

Consider the following challenge: You're given a few kilos of wrought iron, a forge, anvil, hammers and tongs, and 100g (3 t oz) of silver (or if you're rich, gold) and asked to produce the thinnest 10 meter long round wire you can. What would you do?

Jeppe: That link took me to an abstract, not the project. Is there another link?

-Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff Is this a rhetorical question , an intellectual challenge or is this something you are needing? Have you experimented with this technique or at least hypothesized ? What have you done up to now?.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've  drawn platinum wire through a jewler's drawplate rig, but that just consisted of hammering a point onto thick wire, then feeding it through a pre-existing drawplate, repeat ad tiny-um. It already had a very nice graduated steel drawplate, and I was wondering how the first ones got made.

I am (as of now) completely unable to make any of these things, so I'm not speaking from a position of any knowledge whatsoever. I'm just wondering what steps would be involved in creating significant lengths of metallic (conductive) wire in the preindustrial era. I guess that counts as an intellectual challenge.

-Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leaving history out of it, a preindustrial way to get a tiny conical polished hole would be with a bow drill using a pointy bit of bone or thorn charged with an abrasive slurry. It would require several changes of the tip, of course.  

Don't discount rolling, though.  Pure silver and pure gold are very soft, and thus easy to roll between two polished iron plates to produce very fine wire.  To this day gold leaf is made without using a rolling mill simply by pounding little nuggets flat between two pieces of leather.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff,  I assume the smith you are imagining has a good set of heat treating skills. Some things come to mind if i had to try something like that,

1) the hole can be drilled into a plate the shape of a dome..if that dome is flattened but forced to keep the original radius the hole would become 1/4 the original size ( and be conical)...that flat dome could again be domed to a smaller radius and the hole would get smaller again when flattened a second time.

2) the hole does not have to be drilled it can be a groove or cut at the edge of a metal piece, once formed the cut can be partially or completely closed by forging or adding a "cap" to the hole in the edge, and so on .

The idea of a draw plate as we have gotten to know them may be an obstacle in solving your problem...good luck in playing with your ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jan wrote

Quote

1) the hole can be drilled into a plate the shape of a dome..if that dome is flattened but forced to keep the original radius the hole would become 1/4 the original size (and be conical)...that flat dome could again be domed to a smaller radius and the hole would get smaller again when flattened a second time.

Smithcraft ftw! I hoped there might be  a "technique" solution to this  sort of problem. Maybe I should have titled my post "Missing skill" :) Certainly appropos for me.

Quote

The idea of a draw plate as we have gotten to know them may be an obstacle in solving your problem...good luck in playing with your ideas.

Excellent point! Thank you kindly, Jan!

-Jeff Evarts

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

just a thought - both gold and silver are so soft that you don't need an iron draw plate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

good point copper and about 25% tin makes a pretty hard alloy

.

Edited by Jan Ysselstein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18-11-2017 at 8:26 PM, Alan Longmire said:

Leaving history out of it, a preindustrial way to get a tiny conical polished hole would be with a bow drill using a pointy bit of bone or thorn charged with an abrasive slurry. It would require several changes of the tip, of course.  

Don't discount rolling, though.  Pure silver and pure gold are very soft, and thus easy to roll between two polished iron plates to produce very fine wire.  To this day gold leaf is made without using a rolling mill simply by pounding little nuggets flat between two pieces of leather.

Another way is hammering a pin through. Take a hardened steel pin that tapers very slighly, and hammer it through the metal, annealing the piece when it starts to workharden. Once you get close to the other side and the metal starts to bulge, grind away the bump as you go. You can create different size holes with the same pin, by hammering it through at varying depths.

P.s. the Mastermyr draw plates don't look like draw plates to me. Most of the holes are blind holes, which makes no sense for a draw plate. See: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/4d/b5/a8/4db5a88da64af10a20c0359e85914703.jpg and https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3b/d3/5f/3bd35f4e95681b8a3141bf67a32d8b4c.jpg

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Jeroen Zuiderwijk said:

P.s. the Mastermyr draw plates don't look like draw plates to me. Most of the holes are blind holes, which makes no sense for a draw plate.

It could be a tool used for more then one thing?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...