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Topics: Drilling Shell and Glass

Q.
I need to drill quahog shell and sea glass. Can you tell me how it's done?
- Michele
A.
Use a small rotary tool with diamond-coated steel burrs to drill holes into shell or sea glass. The key is to keep the material to be drilled (not the drill!) under water. This will keep the piece from shattering from the excessive heat produced by the drill.

First, put on your safety glasses. Hold the piece of shell or glass with cupped-tip tweezers or bonding clip. Submerge the clamped bead in a shallow pan of water that has a scrap piece of wood at the bottom (included so you don't drill the pan).

Use the rotary tool to very carefully drill a hole in the material. Warning: This technique is pretty tricky, so do it at your own risk. Please work slowly and carefully.

Materials

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