Nanomaterials find increasing application in communications, renewable energies, electronics and sensing. Because of its unsurpassed speed and highly tuneable interaction with matter, using light to guide the self-assembly of nanomaterials can open up novel technological frontiers. However, large-scale light-induced assembly remains challenging. Here we demonstrate an efficient route to nano-assembly through plasmon-induced laser threading of gold nanoparticle strings, producing conducting threads 12±2nm wide. This precision is achieved because the nanoparticles are first chemically assembled into chains with rigidly controlled separations of 0.9nm primed for re-sculpting. Laser-induced threading occurs on a large scale in water, tracked via a new optical resonance in the near-infrared corresponding to a hybrid chain/rod-like charge transfer plasmon. The nano-thread width depends on the chain mode resonances, the nanoparticle size, the chain length and the peak laser power, enabling nanometre-scale tuning of the optical and conducting properties of such nanomaterials.