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  1. #1
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    Default Enlarging drill holes

    hiya - can someone steer me towards the thread about how to enlarge drill holes? i know i saw it before but now i can't find it! thanks!

    -jodie-
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  2. #2
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    I don't know where the exact threads are, but enlarging is pretty easy. The bits usually come in 1/10th mm sizes, so you can just leave the pearl in the vise and change the bits. I usually go up .2 to .3 at a time because the bit is barely shaving the hole at 1/10th. If I am drilling something rare, like a giant Tahitian or Sea of Cortez pearl, then I go 1/10th at a time.

    As long as you do it slow, enlarging is relatively easy. Starting the hole is the difficult part.

  3. #3
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    Drilling pearls is straightforward until it goes wrong. As jeremey says, starting the drill hole is one of the tricky parts - I had some particularly hard tahitians (some pearls do seem much harder than others) and when I looked closely the drill bit was actually flexing slightly as it made contact with the surface - danger of awry hole or broken bit)
    other risks - drill bits go blunt within seconds. Only last for two or three pearls at the best of times. Then there is no drilling, just friction and an overheated and cracked pearl.
    For enlarging a drill hole on the first and last three of an already drilled strand we use a 1mm drill bit in an ordinary drill. We find it is easier to line up the new drilling with the 0.7mm already drilled hole by hand. Putting an already drilled pearl back into the pearl drill brings all sorts of problems with alignment and it takes far longer. It is only okay though once you have done a few and got your hand 'in'
    Most important advice? never try to economise on drill bits.

  4. #4
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    You can get some small hand and/or electric reamers at the local beadstore or online somewhere. The hand reamers are cheap, but wear out very quickly, maybe on one pearl. so buy a half dozen- probably for less than $20.

    I never need to drill out the end pearls anymore-the 20lb Powerpro fits through most of my pearls from 3 mm-12mm doubled, Bigger, I use 30lb. For really tiny holes as in natural pearls, I use the 8 or 10 lb. It compresses, unlike silk.

  5. #5
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    thanks guys for all your advice! still kinda nervous but i'll give it a try (when my arm's working better of course).......

    - j-
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  6. #6
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    Doesn't it take about 2 1/2 hours to ream one pearl...zzzzzzzzzzzzz?

  7. #7
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    LOL Wendy! I use a twist bit in a drill also and it works great.

  8. #8
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    lol - oh boy, don't tell me i'm going to sending my pearls out to be 're-reamed' too! i already decided i don't have the patience to string and knot myself!

    -j-
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

  9. #9
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    I'm glad you asked this question Mausketeer as I've got a few that I'd like to redrill....that said...I dont have a drill. Any suggestions .. I think I saw something about Dremel drills but it didnt surface in my search. Can anyone suggest a small drill and the sizes of the drill bits that would be best. Thanks mucho

  10. #10
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    Katbran
    just use a normal house putting up the shelves drill if you are re-drilling and enlarging the hole. sneak up on the final size in increments. you will need a steady hand as the bits are very thin and break if you breathe on them at the wrong angle.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for that Wendy

  12. #12
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    Lot depends on much larger you want to make the hole. I use a tapered reemer found at some jewelry sites or catalogues. Care should be used to use water and not too high a speed so the drill doesnt burn orburn the pearl. You can drill a tenth or two tenths of mm at a time to enlarge the hole but you should use chisel pointed drills run at a slower speed than full speed. Practice on junk. Id you use high peed twist drills they tend to burn up from too fast of speed. Water helps and it can be held to the hole with a fine art brush, (2mm) there are diamond tapered burrs but their efficiency tends to make the driller use them too fast so they may burn. I don't like them but i have used them. Drilling a larger hole destroys the value of a pearl completely. I was instructed to drill 4 - 15mm to 1.8mm to accommodate a mystery clasp. Value of the pearl, in my estimation the pearl went from 1k to near zero if sold by itself.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearl-man View Post
    Lot depends on much larger you want to make the hole. I use a tapered reemer found at some jewelry sites or catalogues. Care should be used to use water and not too high a speed so the drill doesnt burn orburn the pearl. You can drill a tenth or two tenths of mm at a time to enlarge the hole but you should use chisel pointed drills run at a slower speed than full speed. Practice on junk. Id you use high peed twist drills they tend to burn up from too fast of speed. Water helps and it can be held to the hole with a fine art brush, (2mm) there are diamond tapered burrs but their efficiency tends to make the driller use them too fast so they may burn. I don't like them but i have used them. Drilling a larger hole destroys the value of a pearl completely. I was instructed to drill 4 - 15mm to 1.8mm to accommodate a mystery clasp. Value of the pearl, in my estimation the pearl went from 1k to near zero if sold by itself.
    thanks pearl man....... interesting that water is used as a lubricant and not oil? i would think mineral oil would be used. oh, i guess it might stain the pearl, duh...... yeah, all my pearls are like, under $50 each so far so - no biggie (and i'd practice on some super cheapies i have first anyways........)

    - j -
    "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
    - Lucy Maude Montgomery -

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