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  1. #1

    Default How to remove the silk/nylon thread got stuck inside the pearl hole?

    My mom has a Tahitian strand that I bought from Pearl Paradise on 2010. Last week, I intended to cut it out to restring it. The worst part is that I did it carelessly and 06 (yes six) pearls are now with knots got stuck inside. One or two pearls are acceptable but with six pearls taken out, the strand will become too short. I contacted PP and was offer to send it back, they will help me with this but I do not live in the US, postage fee will be very high. They also advise me to heat up the needle and push it through the pearls. I tried but not sussceeded at all. The needle is too small, it was heat up to red and cool down quickly, moreover, it is easily "bent" after each heating.
    If you have any experience with this, please advise me. I do not have any tools in hand.

  2. #2
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Oh, that is frustrating! I have gotten knots stuck inside and have sometimes been able to get them out with e reamer, but not always. I plan to get a small hand drill with a small drill bit-- 0.7mm or 0.8mm-- to drill the holes out.

    Do you have a sewing needle that you can heat up and push through? Obviously you'd want to hold the needle with pliers to protect fingers.

  3. #3
    Professional Rethreader Senior Guide Member Bernadette's Avatar
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    I agree with Pearl Dreams on using a drill bit, however some skill/experience is needed in order to avoid making things worse.

    My suggestion is to use a drill two sizes smaller than the hole appears, and work from the opposite side from the blockage.

    Another option is using watchmakers “cutting” broaches - my personal favourite approach.

    I hope you get a satisfactory conclusion to this problem, let us know how you get on.

  4. #4
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert BWeaves's Avatar
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    I've never heard of watchmakers cutting broaches. What are they?

  5. #5
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    Interesting! I found this on cutting broaches:

    https://www.cousinsuk.com/category/broaches-cutting

    For the jeweller, silversmith, arts craft, contemporary jeweller, model maker, watch & clock repairer.

    Use broaches like a hand file to enlarge and align holes in brass, gold, silver & copper etc.
    Use cutting broaches after drilling to open up slightly the holes and smoothing broaches to create a burnished inside the hole finish.

    Ideal whether you’re a clock maker fitting bushes or jewellery making needing a tight fit for precious metal wires for beads, earrings, bracelets, bangles or decorative finishing.
    Last edited by Pearl Dreams; 06-03-2019 at 02:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    I have a slightly different approach. Please try these before attempting to bore out the hole by drilling. It may be possible that some glue from the knots have traveled into the drill holes, effectively cementing the thread to the inside of the pearl. Drilling a very solid lump of glue could possibly put too much tension on the inside of the pearl and cause it to crack. There is a tool that kind of works like a bead reamer, only it chews at the threads rather than enlarges the holes (it can do that too...just be careful how you use it). Basically it looks like a corkscrew, a very very fine and sharp corkscrew. It's really intended for working in wax, but I find it works beautifully at removing thread. If you gently twist it into the thread and gently pull it out, the thread should loosen. Here is a link to the product: https://www.stuller.com/products/21-...rce=SiteSearch

    If this method doesn't work, or you cannot find this tool where you are located, then try softening the thread in water. You can use a small paper clip or metal wire to push the thread out of the hole. Make sure the wire/paper clip or pin is a smaller diameter than the hole. If this doesn't work, try a few drops of acetone applied directly to the thread. It shouldn't damage the pearl, unless it's been dyed. This is really the last resort option before using a drill. The acetone should work to loosen and begin to dissolve the glue, if that's an issue. I actually just worked on a restring that had this very issue. Fortunately, the threads came out without having to use any acetone. I posted photos and a narrative on my Instagram feed. (see the link in my signature below)

    Good luck!

    ETA: you may also find an escapement file in a tapered round shape will work, but be careful not to go too far up the length of the file. Use a piece of masking tape to block the file from going in too deeply and enlarging the drill hole.
    Last edited by JerseyPearl; 06-03-2019 at 09:55 PM.
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  7. #7

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    Thanks for your recommendations. I live in Vietnam and am not familiar with beading tools. I also asked some local pearl jewellers/shops here but they refused to deal with items not sold by them (it's a practice here although I do not understand why). Wen on etsy also offered help me but sending them to China is expensive as sending to America.
    I tried soaking them in hot water 3 times but this does not help. I think it's not glue, just knots beacause the 2 pearls at ends do not have any glue. I used sewing needles heated up but not sucessful. I am thinking of using some pearl drills size 0.6-0.7mm but this requries pearl holing machine.

  8. #8
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    It might be worth spending a bit of money on tools, or on postage to ship the pearls to PP, if the alternative is to be unable to use the pearls....

  9. #9
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert JerseyPearl's Avatar
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    May I ask, is one of the pearls the third from the end of a strand? If so, I would suspect that glue has been used. If you have access to acetone, I would give it a try.
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  10. #10
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    One more thing to check out ~ Use pliers (I hope you have some) to bend a hook at the end of a straight pin. Keep soaking the pearls so the knots stay wet and you may be able to pick the fibers out a little at a time. Good luck! I've had success with the other techniques previously mentioned, too.
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  11. #11
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    I've always used a drill , which doesn't help you at all. But as JP mentioned, the acetone will help if it's glue and that's all that's keeping the knot stuck. As Pattye suggested picking at it with a fine needle where you have just barely bent the tip ( you obviously need to still be able to get the tip into the pearl) and just fraying it might work.

  12. #12
    Professional Rethreader Senior Guide Member Bernadette's Avatar
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    One last suggestion, and doesn’t need a pearl drill, just patience and time.

    Rather than pearl drills, get some twist drills of the size you mentioned (0.6 / 0.7) fit them in a pin vice (should be able to obtain at same place as sells the drill bits) and work from the opposite side to the blockage.

    It is more time consuming than drilling in the way we normally think of it, but will shift stuck knots, glue, years of crud, and other assorted blockage causes.

    Using the smaller drill bit size and hand work is not going to enlarge the hole - just use patience.

  13. #13

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    This has happened to me several times! I had to take them to a jeweler to drill. It wasn't that much money. Hopefully you can find someone who does jewelry repair that can help you.

  14. #14
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    When it has happened to me, I’ve used a pearl/bead reamer from the craft store. It has taken a lot of patience, twisting the reamer into the hole, gradually enlarging the hole until the tip of the reamer can reach the knot. The surface of the reamer is so rough that tiny bits of the knot stick to it, and I keep doing this until tiny bit by bit enough of the thread can be pulled out to dislodge the knot. Fortunately, I enjoy tedious tasks like that. The hole will be slightly enlarged but I use it as one of the pearls at the beginning or end where I need to go back through the pearl.

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