Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Came: Straighten vs stretch


In dealing with lead came there is often reference to “stretching the lead”.  This frequently leads to emphasis on making the lead came longer. However, this is a misinterpretation of the phrase.

The object in pulling on the lead is to straighten it.  No more effort needs to be put into the lead once it is straight.  In fact, further stretching can lead to weakness.

The upper strectched came has an orange peel texture and the lower straightened does not

You will see an “orange peel” texture on the surface of the came when it has been stretched beyond its tensile strength.  This indicates considerable weakness in the metal.


The upper piece illustrates the visual effect of over stretching leading to the weakening of the came

A test to show relative strengths in stretched and straightened came uses two short pieces of came from the original pair.





After three 90° bends from the straight to a right angle, the stretched came has begun to break.  The straightened came is deformed at the inside bend, but not broken. 

This test shows stretching the came to the extent that there is an "orange peel" appearance to the surface, dramatically weakens the lead came.  Only draw the lead came to make it straight, not to lengthen it.

When you are trying to get kinks and twists out, there is a point between straight and stretched where you begin to weaken the came instead of simply making it straight. There is a point in straightening linked or twisted lead that goes so far in trying to get it straight that the whole is weakened. When the orange peel appearance shows on the came, you have stretched to the weakening point. 

It is often better with kinked and twisted came to cut out the damaged portions and straighten the rest.