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How to drill amber?


#1

Long time lurker here and so grateful for everyone’s generous
sharing. I don’t do lapidary but I have a piece of amber about 1/4
inch thick into which I would like to drill 2 holes, about 3/8 inch
diameter. Can I do this with a Foredom and if so, what kind and size
of drills should I use and are there health safety issues I should
know about? I read in the archives that there is a danger of getting
the amber hot, also it might break.

Beverly in Pasadena


#2
       Long time lurker here and so grateful for everyone's
generous sharing. I don't do lapidary but I have a piece of amber
about 1/4 inch thick into which I would like to drill 2 holes,
about 3/8 inch diameter. Can I do this with a Foredom and if so,
what kind and size of drills should I use and are there health
safety issues I should know about? I read in the archives that
there is a danger of getting the amber hot, also it might break.
>Beverly in Pasadena 

Beverly, I have worked with amber in the past and find it to be a
great gem to wor k with. I feel that the most important thing to
remember is to work slow because amber is so brittle and will crack
very easily. A foredom will work great for drilling but be sure to
drill under water and drill very slowly so you do not overheat the
amber, if your bit melts the amber and gets stuck you will have a
hard time separating them withou t damaging the amber. I have also
have found that the wood bits with the extra cutting teeth on the end
work very well and you will need to drill very straight, no side
motion as this may cause the side of the drill to catch in the amber
and crack it. Be sure to leave plenty of space from the edge of the
amber to the edge of hole you drill. It is easy to crack out the
side of your amber if the drill catches. I would suggest you
practice on some old hard plastic before you drill yo ur amber. It
will give you a great idea of how the amber will drill. I just love
the smell when working with amber but I always have a high qu ality
and well fitting dust mast on. I read a few years ago ,I do not
remember what book, that amber is like any other resin when worked.
It can cause problems with your lungs if you get enough exposure to
the dust. I feel working one piece is not going to do anything. well
that is my two cents, I hope your project works well.

Honorably, Gerald A. Livings