Drilling holes in sea shells

topic posted Thu, September 7, 2006 - 11:50 AM by  A
I bet this seems like a weird request, but I bet somebody here has done something like this before.

I’m trying to drill holes (about 3/8” dia.) in small bits of sea shells for a jewelry sort of thing.
The denser shells seem to just snap – a clean break. The layered ones (like a clam shell) tend to separate into their layers.

I’ve tried slow speeds and drilling while holding shell in water (my electric drill is double insulated).
3/8 masonry bit.
The shells (just pieces) are no more than about 3/16” thick.

posted by:
offline A
  • Re: Drilling holes in sea shells

    Thu, September 7, 2006 - 3:36 PM
    The mason bit is the issue. It is ment to break off small pieces rather than cut or shave like other drill bits. The Dremil is a no go for this, 3/8 " bit for a Dremil ? If it keeps chipping out even with a high speed bit, I'd under drill it at 5/16" and use a small round ( fine) file. The best for this app. would be a 5/32" chain saw file. you will probaly need to check in the chain saw section. BTW, Chain saw files are the best files you can get for the $.
    • Re: Drilling holes in sea shells

      Thu, September 7, 2006 - 9:11 PM
      Dremels do have those lovely conical bits that are wider at the base...I found my very helpful in drilling the aforementioned holes in seashells.

      The link to the crafty vixens tribe had some great lo-fi suggestions, too! I got some new ideas from that one!
  • A
    offline 0

    Re: Drilling holes in sea shells

    Thu, September 7, 2006 - 4:20 PM
    Wow, what a great response from all; quick and knowledgeable.
    It makes perfect sense, now that you’ve helped me see the err of my way – the masonry bit was a poor choice.

    I don’t have a Dremel, and strapped for cash these days – I’m not prepared to buy anything. But I’m sure I can come up with something in my primitive hobby shop that will do a much better job than the masonry bit.
    Thanks everyone for the excellent ideas.

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