Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to Drill Sea Glass

Sea Glass
Part 2 of 3
I'm easy to buy for. Instead of jewelry, my family now gives me books or tools. A couple of recent gifts were a dremel drill and a drill press. I also got some diamond tipped drill bits from eBay because I want to be able to drill glass, particularly sea glass.

I've also been researching in preparation for the task. One thing I discovered is the drill press is optional as many sea glass artisans don't use one - flex shafts are often used instead. The latter takes some practice and especially to avoid the bit skipping at the start. The drill press, on the other hand, does help by keeping the bit perpendicular. This site has some excellent how-tos, a drill speed chart for the different materials you are drilling and tips.

It's important to be safe so I will always wear my glasses whilst drilling. If you have 20/20 vision, then safety glasses for you!  Drilling with the bit underwater is firstly to lubricate and cool the process but the second reason is to contain the dust which should not breathed in.

I was also intrigued by the different materials used to support the glass whilst drilling. As the drilling takes place unterwater, the most popular materials are sponges,foam (like florist foam) and thin pieces of wood. Some people use a multi-folded piece of cloth but being Canadian, my favorite suggestion is the hockey puck!

I have learned diamond bits don't last forever.The lifespan will depend on many factors including what you are drilling. I'm also prepared for breakage so I shall be practicing on regular glass first. Onwards to the tutorials...

Tutorials
1.  Janetarfin has a how to drill sea glass and beach pebbles tutorial with pictures (the one above is the first one)! She uses a flex shaft. Many glass artisans like to first mark the front and back of the hole location before drilling. They drill on the front  partway and then flip over to complete the drilling from behind. This prevents chipping.

2. Charles Peden of By the Bay Treasures has two great videos to watch. He uses a drill press.

Video 1



Video 2



The next step,find some sea glass. This is going to be the hard part!

For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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12 comments :

Azure Islands Designs said...

I would like to try this someday...but then there are many things I would like to try!

I acutally have a bag of soap stone that I would like to work with, make pendants etc., not sure when I will get around to it, but it is there when I'm ready!!! :0)

Cheers

Crystal Allure Beaded Jewelry said...

Ohh what fun -tools and beads for gifts! Wanna share that with my family? Seems they missed the fact that I LOVE jewelry! :-)

Hope to see some of your own sea glass designs Pearl!
Stephanie

The Beading Gem said...

Yeah. So would I, Stephanie. Getting the darn things is the hard part. You'd think living in a province surrounded by the ocean would be easy but apparently there are only select beaches where one can find sea glass.

George said...

Collected tons of this stuff in my youth on the beaches of Rhode Island. Filled up wine jugs and made lamps out of them. Also used it in mosaics and did some stained glass windows (small ones) out of larger pieces. Still have quite a bit of it around...is there a market for this?

The Beading Gem said...

Judging from the enthusiasm of the people going to the Sea Glass festival, I would say yes. Surf around and check it out.

OdysseySeaGlass said...

Sea glass is sure popular these days! If you or anyone has a project, photos, or how-to about sea glass, submit it to Sea Glass Crafts and get a free link to your favorite site. Join the 500 viewers a day visiting these 250 pages on sea glass!

bbp said...

I love sea glass but do not have access to any other than to purchase it. I was buying wine on Friday and noticed a white wine in a gorgeous blue bottle, and the label said Sea Glass Wines.
I plan to get it and break the bottle and put it
through the tumbler to make my own. I was
wondering if I'd have to wire wrap it, and now I'm
so excited by these videos and looking forward to
drilling. Thanks for the tutorials.

The Beading Gem said...

Yes, you can certainly tumble glass pieces. It won't really be sea glass but you'll have plenty of supply unlike sea glass. Be sure to check the internet for tips on how to tumble glass pieces.

Mixed Kreations said...

The only time I tried drilling glass was on a bead one time. I wanted the hole larger. All I accomplished was busting the bead. This will help, and I can even try to drill some rocks. I didn't know to start hole then flip to prevent chipping. Thanks

The Beading Gem said...

Also check the post about drilling natural stones - there are some good tips to follow.

Unknown said...

No sound

Pearl Blay said...

There is sound. Please turn on the volume on your computer. ;-)

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