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Drilling cowrie shells


#1

I am trying to drill larger holes in cowrie shells for macrame
necklaces and bracelettes I am making. I am using a dremel tool
with some sort of bur. It keeps falling out of the universal chuck
I am using and the shell gets hot when I hold it still to drill.
Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Nicolette the Novice from New Yawk


#2

Yuki, First I would recommend you loose the Dremel and get a good
flex shaft. That way the motor will be isolated from your work…both
dust and water.

Second, get a good diamond burr the size and shape you want. It
will work more easily on the shell with less vibration.

Third, use a liberal amount of water whilst drilling. If you can,
actually immerse the shell in water (hence the need for a flex shaft
so the water won’t get into the motor). Water will keep the drill
and shell cool, keep the drill hole clean and perhaps most
importantly, keep the dust out of your tender lungs!

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


#3
I am trying to drill larger holes in cowrie shells for macrame
necklaces and bracelettes I am making.  I am using a dremel tool
with some sort of bur.  It keeps falling out of the universal chuck
I am using and the shell gets hot when I hold it still to drill.

nicolette, DREMELs have collet chucks, if it is one, so get the
collet that fits your bur snugly, probably 1/8th in.(.125), or
3/32"(.093), but better to get a carbide bur, and use a drop or 2 of
water on the shell. Better yet though look into buying a flex shaft
from foredom or the ottoflex(frei & borel, karen from metalworks
gave it a great rep). And make sure that you get the solid state
footpedal(hi end one, it makes all the difference). I see these
machines, used, off this site for 1/2 price all the time if money
is a concern. dp


#4

Nicolette,

Be very carefull drilling cowrie shells, wear a mask – their dust
is very toxic. You do not want to inhale it.

The only suggestion I have is to use water while you drill. This
will cut down on dust, keep things a little cooler as well as help
you drill your hole. Wear leather gardening gloves or use a scrap
piece of leather to hold the shell so you don’t burn your skin. Also,
use a very small drill bit – made for dremmel tools instead of a
burr. You’ll get better results. I’m not sure why your burr is
falling out of your dremmel. Probably you need a different collett
(the little metal piece that tightens and loosens when you tighten
down the chuck – i’m pretty sure that’s called a collett)

Good luck!
Jocelyn Broyles
Designer
jb@jocelynbroyles.com
tel. 011.506.842.2107
fax. 011.506.653.0074
www.jocelynbroyles.com