I ran out of 20 gauge wire making earwires for an order last week... when I went on line to order more $17 / oz US caused me to rethink my order....
Like most artists working with silver I have little bags and boxes of scrap all over the place.. at >$17 / oz now was the time to haul out the Christmas present I got last year (this only took 10 months to use remember the gin bottle that took 3 years to cut up and turn into beads?) So my ingot mold and my crucible got hauled into the bead studio ... I tried melting the silver with my Smith little torch... that took way too long! My minor was much more gratifying... soon I had a puddle of molten silver I carefully lined up on the ingot mold and got this lumpy bumpy mess... (some of it was even in the ingot mold!) Back into the crucible for the silver... after about 4 tries I got something that I deemed usable and actually fit into my Rolling Mill ...(Oh I forgot the 4 hours I spent changing the rollers on my easy change roller mill... before I even got started! There wasn't one part that wasn't taken off of that thing to change the rollers!)
Now to change the ingot into wire... 4 hours later I have a small coil of square wire... Out comes the draw plate... Got it down to 20 gauge but it's still somewhat square... then I coiled it cut it and soldered it back together... Pretty crappy job if I do say so myself but anytime I think I want to save some money by making my own wire... I will take out that chain and look at it!
However if I need some wire now and square wire will work.... I have the technology!