You could try filing a vertical 'slot' into both sides of an old fashioned woodern clothes peg
(the type you used to use to clip playing cards into the back wheel of your bike so it sounded like a motorbike when you pedal)
I saw the little kids in our village doing that on saturday as I sipped my hot chocolate in the bar, the cards on the wheel of the bike I mean, they were not filing them to place pearls in of course. It was a very pleasant reminder of days long past.
Believe it or not the are cut differently, mine are flat! Hard to see but hear is a pic from google;
Originally Posted by Dennis
Originally Posted by Kwant
So far I've preferred to sacrifice my fingers, as I felt the clamp could mark my nacre.
Originally Posted by caroleallen
Oh, I'm the resident pearl expert!!! Okay....advice coming up.
It is more fun to watch paint dry than it is to use any sort of reamer or dremel thing to enlarge the 0.7 drill hole in a pearl. We do it in one of two ways here. Most of the time we use a 1mm drill bit in an old ordinary household drill and hand hold the pearl. We tried Dremels and such like but they don't have the power and pearl clamps or holders are not much use at all. we use finger and thumb and have long since got the hang of it enough not to drill through thumbs. It takes seconds to drill each pearl for the start and finish of a necklace etc this way. (and a pearl clamp could easily scratch the pearl too)
The other way is to get a proper pearl drill and use that. Not a favourite for quick drill s because of the need to align the bit with the drill hole exactly..that takes longer with a pearl drill than 'feeling' it with finger and thumb.
The other important thing is to have sharp bits. They go blunt after about 10 drillings. We buy them by the thousand!
(drill bits available on the Pearlescence website)
It is a splendid thing having a pearl expert on call, but you have raised the question: What is an old ordinary household drill? Obviously it has to be used one handed, so is it a small power drill ?
Before I ever thought of jewellery, I used to clamp my Black and Decker upside down in a carpenter's vice to keep it steady for more accurate drilling of workpieces. Regards Dennis.
Last edited by Dennis; 30-05-2012 at 08:42 AM.
it is simply an old black and decker which I used (and still could use) to put up shelves and stuff like that..though I am casting covetous eyes over the new micro battery powered drills. very neat bit of kit.
You do need a steady-ish hand when enlarging the holes but since the tip of the drill is following an already existing drill hole the flexibility of finger and thumb makes following it easier that trying to line up a fixed bed pearl drill accurately.
I have just drilled my first pearl and following advice from others on here, used an ordinary 8mm drill and then a 1mm drill on a Foredom motor, I ran it fairly slowly and managed to do it without hurting either me or the pearl, success. I tried to drill a very small hole with the 0.8mm one in some 1.2mm silver and the drill broke, I suppose it got too hot, a question for future use, do I have to use burrlife ? or some sort of lubricant on small drill bits when drilling silver, I only drilled two pearls and one hole in the silver.
Originally Posted by pearlescence
Small drills break because the slight unwinding which occurs in use causes them to become work hardened and more brittle. The heat generated can also affect their temper with the same result.
All in all you can help prevent this by using the minimum pressure, lifting the drill once or twice to clear swarf and cool it and by lubricating with a little oil, candle wax, bees wax or some more expensive remedy.
I suspect the drills on the standard shank are more prone to breaking, and if they do, leaving the piece in pickle overnight is said to get rid of the offending fragment. Dennis.
drill bits will also break because they are so fine they bend. I was drilling some coin pearls yesterday with my proper pearl drill and could see the tip slide against the curved surface for a fraction of a mm before catching and penetrating the pearl. Keeping the bit very short in the chuck helps with that. It happens with harder pearls mostly.*
* which are the harder pearls? Ha..impossible to predict until you try to drill each one. I've had soft and very hard in the same batch before now, and then some rock like nuclei from some of the new bead-nucleated freshwater pearls - some of them blunted bits so quickly that I used two per pearl (bits cheap, pearls over $100 per pearl)