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Publish365 035: Bead Drilling for Fun

I had an idea for something I wanted to make but there was a problem. The idea involved leather cordage and my collection of round gemstone beads. The problem is that those round beads have a super tiny hole in the middle, since they're designed to be threaded on thin wire and stretch cord. I looked around the internet trying to find out the best way to drill them out and make the hole bigger, but no one really wanted to do it, so I worked out how to do it after compiling information from a bunch of sources.

First you have to get something called a bead vise (or pearl vise). The purpose is to keep the bead clamped while you drill it. Clamp the bead into the smallest size you can.

Then after dropping water on the bead, using a Dremel with a diamond burr bit that just fits inside the hole, drill out the existing hole. Continue progressively enlarging the hole with larger bits until you have the size you need.

As long as you keep the bit wet and don't allow it to smoke, this should be relatively quick. All three steps (with bit changes) took less than one minute per bead. The result?

Exactly what I wanted.

I hope this little explanation helped. If you're interested in the bits I used and don't already have a set of your own, by all means let me know and I'll share them with you. They're super low-budget so I don't know how long they'll last but they seem to work fine for now!


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