Pearl drilling

Dear Brian: I, too, have one of those “cheaper” pearl drilling devices
with the two flat discs with holes. Even cranking the pressure down
really hard, the pearl still spun in the holder. I stuck a wad of
masking tape over the bottom hole, sticky side to the pearl; that
helped a little. I thought of getting some thin soft rubber sheeting
to make a sort of gripping cushion in the disc hole, but haven’t
done that yet. …or perhaps a set of small rubber “o” rings.

I use a lot of “half-drilled” pearls, but find the holes very
inconsistent in depth, sometimes barely a divot of a mm or less,
hardly adequate for a peg. I bought the pearl holder to enlarge and
deepen the holes when they are too shallow (which seems to be about
2/3 of the time).

Do pearls need a lubricant when drilling? I have avoided using
bur-life or anything waxy, as I want to glue them to a peg. I used a
drop of water; don’t know if that really helps or not.

Let us know if you find something!
Sincerely, Lin

Dear Lin, We manufacture a tool called “Centerline Pearl Driller” that
securely holds any drillable bead between two Delrin pressure pads.
One of the pads has a conical depression to center the bead and a
hardened steel guide to center the drill. Using a #60 drill
(1.00mm/.040"), the pearl can be drilled or reamed full or 1/2 on dead
center without spinning. The use of a sharp drill and frequent
lubrication with water is advised. Centerline Pearl Driller is
available from Indian Jewelers Supply, Gallup NM, 800-545-6540. If you
don’t already have their catalogs, I suggest you request them when
you call.

Ray Grossman
Ray Grossman Inc.
Manufacturers of Jump Ringer