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Thread: Drilling pearls

  1. #16
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Hummm, guess I better get out that dremel I bought a couple of years ago and never used---could be a real asset!
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  2. #17
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    I just looked at the Foredom, and I see they have a drill press thing you can add - do you use that, or how do you hold the pearls in place. What size bits. I am such a total novice at this.
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  3. #18
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Never mind! I just priced it all together and the YDK seems like a better deal. Mikeyy posted the sites to order one from China. Has anyone done that?
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  4. #19
    First-graft Pearl
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    A dremel or a foredom with a variable speed foot pedal is suitable to half drill pearls and high speed twist drills will work great for drilling pearls. This has been discussed on another thread somewhere. Drilling pearls while holding them in your fingers is not that big a deal. I mean there aren't any holes in my fingers currently and I have forgotten if I ever drilled my fingers in the past, but I've had lots of practise at this. You need to start the hole at a slower speed to get a depression started and then back off a bit as you drill to allow the pearl dust to come out so the drill bit doesn't clog. Free hand drilling has its draw backs when you don't get the hole perpendicular to the surface of the pearl so it is at an angle. A pearl drill which holds the pearl means it is much easier to get a straight hole which is @90degrees to the surface of the pearl. I use my chinese pearl drill when it is absolutely essential that the hole is at 90 degrees and to drill through pearls otherwise its freehand drilling at the bench.

    DFrey

  5. #20
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Can you give me a name or brand of a high speed twist drill? I can always ask my husband to do the hand-held drilling. Also what bit types do you use. I'm sorry to be so ignorant. I did look through the threads, but I didn't get the info I needed.
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  6. #21
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Pearly Shell's Avatar
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    I hold the pearl with my fingers against a bench pin attached to my work surface. I start with a really small round burr, .4 mm to make a small divit where I want to drill. The divit gives the drill bit a place to start and keep if from sliding off the pearl. After I've made the divit, I use a .4mm stainless steel drill bit and drill the pearl where I made the divit. You have to drill slowly so you don't crack the nacre.

    I don't have the drill press and I do it all by eye, but I try to keep the drill as perpendicular as possible to the pearl. After drilling a bit, I will rotate the pearl in my fingers and drill again. This helps to keep the hole as perpendicular as possible.

    But like Dfrey mentioned, I only use this method to half drill.
    Donna
    Graduate Gemologist & Pearl Devotee

  7. #22
    First-graft Pearl
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    I don't have a brand for the drill bits, sorry. Not sure what you mean by "bit types". The small round bur as a starter is a great idea to prevent the drill bit from skating over the pearl surface. I am using .7mm and 1mm drill bits because that's the diameter of the wire I usually use for pegs.
    DFrey

  8. #23
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    No, I meant a drill brand name or suggestion for a high speed twist drill.

    Don't give up on me, I can learn!
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  9. #24
    Pearl Diver Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Mikeyy's Avatar
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    You can use mine for free next time your on the mainland. Dremels would be a bit scary for me. One bad move and you have mabes
    Last edited by Mikeyy; 12-08-2008 at 09:00 PM.

  10. #25
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeyy View Post
    You can use mine for free next time your on the mainland. Dremels would be a bit scary for me. One bad move and you have mabes
    Let's see.... air fare to the mainland or buy a drill which would be cheaper? You could come to Hawaii and bring the drill! And you and my husband could sit on the deck, drill pearls, drink beer (root or malted) and compare beards!
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  11. #26
    Pearl Diver Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Mikeyy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waimeamomi View Post
    Let's see.... air fare to the mainland or buy a drill which would be cheaper? You could come to Hawaii and bring the drill! And you and my husband could sit on the deck, drill pearls, drink beer (root or malted) and compare beards!
    Hmm, Decisions decisions.(pulling my beard)

  12. #27
    Third-graft Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert barbie biggs's Avatar
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    No, I meant a drill brand name or suggestion for a high speed twist drill.

    Don't give up on me, I can learn!
    __________________
    Sheryl

    Dear Sheryl:
    May I ask why you think you need a high speed twist drill (bit)? I use basic titanium drill bits in a size .32mm and I anchor the pearl in a padded hand clamp. The dremel works great. As long as you check your position (pearl) before starting you should be able to flip the clamp. I am planning to build a jig that holds the dremel steady and allows the pearl clamp to move to and from the bit. Like in the pics but made of wood with steel guides.
    I've been looking for a jig pattern. There doesn't seem to be one on the market but I will persevere.

    BTW, the dremel tool guide says NEVER drill with your bare fingers. It's dangerous. Keep in mind that that little itty bitty bit is going around several hundred times a minute. It can make a real mess out of your fingers. Use a clamp.

    Keep safe.
    barbie

  13. #28
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert waimeamomi's Avatar
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    Thanks, Barbie. I don't know what kind of drill I need, that's the problem!! I just know I need to drill Tahitians, some round some large, some keishis. I am really thinking about trying the Dremel. Your info really helps because I need to be talking to someone who actually does this. I'll look around for a jig as well or jig pattern, and maybe between the two of us...
    Thanks!
    Sheryl

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/mkmPearls
    https://www.facebook.com/MaunaKeaMoonlight

    ?All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography? Frederico Fellini
    Momi means pearl in Hawaiian!

  14. #29
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Pearly Shell's Avatar
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    Hey Sheryl,

    I would recommend you use a flexible shaft drill or a drill with a foot pedal to control the speed of that drill. The brand of drill I use is "Foredom". I really like it. I think the Dremel will work, but I don't like the lack of speed control with the Dremel.

    The bits I use with my Foredom drill are stainless steel round burrs and twist drill bits. I like the Grobet burrs and drill bits but they can be kind of pricey. Rio Grande burrs and drill bits work well too,

    I'm not that scared about holding the pearls with my fingers because I'm drilling at a low speed, but what jeweler doesn't have a myriad of injuries to their fingers. *hah*
    Donna
    Graduate Gemologist & Pearl Devotee

  15. #30
    Pearlista Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pearly Shell View Post
    I'm not that scared about holding the pearls with my fingers because I'm drilling at a low speed, but what jeweler doesn't have a myriad of injuries to their fingers. *hah*
    Oooh girlfriend, you are one tough jeweler!

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