If anyone could PLEASE help me! (How to drill holes in shells)


Old 07-23-07, 11:38 AM
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Angry If anyone could PLEASE help me! (How to drill holes in shells)

i am attempting to make necklaces and braclets out of shells i have found along various beaches. however, i have to drill small holes in these shells in ab;e to do this. i have spent hours searching for supplies and answers and can find none! i need to know: what size drill and drill bit do i use? what kind of drill bit? and most importantly, where can i buy these items!?! u've been on almost every major tool company web site, and can find nothing! if someone could please answer some, any or all of these questions, or point me to someone who can, i would SOO GREATLY appreciate it!!!!!
Old 07-23-07, 11:48 AM
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freebird87, welcome to the DoItYourself.com forums

I've moved your thread here. I think this info will help you out. It will depend a lot on the type of shells you have.


I'm sure if you go to your local craft store such as Joanne's or Michaels (not sure what you have there), you'll find the right tool there. You can look under jewerly tools. I haven't personally seen what they have there for this but they do have kits for making jewerly.

I have also read that a Dremel works.
Old 07-23-07, 01:33 PM
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Try this place:

Scroll down to the Pinvise and Jeweler's Bits.

Also, if you find the shells breaking when you drill, put a piece of masking tape over the spot you want to drill. This protects it.
Old 07-25-07, 02:00 PM
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I use a small spiral drill for most shells. The size is not important. Use whatever size hole you want to make. I usually do about 1/16" or 3/32". The key with most shells is to use light pressure. You want the drill to wear or grind it's way through. If you push too hard the pressure alone will crack the shell or you get almost through the shell, the drill bit grabs and the shell cracks. Turning the drill faster seems to help and I put a few drops of water where I want to drill the hole to keep the drill bit cool.

Using a drill press works best, but I usually use a cordless drill. I fold up an old towel and set the shell on top. The several layers of towel gives the shell good support and helps cushion the it from vibration while drilling.
Old 08-29-07, 09:20 AM
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I've used a Dremel with a fine carbide burr (bit) a lot..never broke a shell doing it this way. Also used small diamond burrs. Both work great and are available through Micro Mark. www.micromark.com as far as a hole, I go just a little larger than the threading material. Nice thing with using burrs, enlarging the hole (if needed) is never a problem.
Old 03-03-08, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
...the drill bit grabs and the shell cracks.
A normal twist bit is designed to grab and pull material.
Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
You want the drill to wear or grind it's way through.
Almost anything not a twist bit will work on shells. Even a broken twist bit will work better. A small nail with straight clipped end (like a chisel) is close to ideal, because it doesn't clog with powder like diamond will.

To drive your bit, a dremel's perfect. Also mounted in a dowel that you spin by hand would be effective, if the bit's well centered.
Old 04-18-09, 06:38 AM
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Drillling a hole

I tried a number of methods and finally had sucess with a 'Dremel' type tool and ARTU Multi purpose drill bit.
I used low speed and went very slowly while supporting the shell on a kitchen towel.
There was a definite sound change as the drill began to break through and at that point I stopped drilling from that side and flipped the shell over.
Also used water to keep everything cool(er)
Patience is the word though.

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