Just Drill It – A Tutorial On Drilling Stone and Other Material.

Just Drill It – A Tutorial On Drilling Stone and Other Material.

 

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(This is the very first stone I drilled with my friend Jeff Plath)

I will never forget sitting at my jewelry desk and looking at the above pendant and saying to myself.  If ONLY it had a hole here and there I could do this and that!  I remember walking away from my desk and literally saying Hmmmph!

Boring Boring Boring. I am so limited by what everyone else puts out there.

IF ONLY I KNEW HOW TO DRILL STONE!

Mount Lapis Necklace - YaY Jewelry - Kristin Oppold

As jewelry design goes some of my biggest design successes have come out of this very frustration of not having the skill , equipment or material.  Problem solving has always been the chief motivator to moving my jewelry design ability into unique and innovative ways. My ability to drill stone did just that for me.

Here is some work by Staci Smith, gorgeous and unique as always where she drilled some fossils for her jewelry designs. What I love about drilling your own materials is that you can really come up with some very unique designs that can be very identifiable to you.  This is good branding for your line. You look at these rings and you know that they are Staci’s.

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You can put together a personal love of found treasures…..note all the little lovelies that Tracy Bell collected for this bracelet. She told me this bracelet had to have an animal, mineral and vegetable.  We will have to ask her what the vegetable is?

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Here is a lovely ring that Melissa Cable made.  It is made from beach glass, faux bone, sterling silver, gold foil and a tube set CZ. She made it for Eva Sherman‘s Organic Wire and Metal Jewelry: Stunning Pieces made with Sea Glass (in the gallery section of her book). She said the glass was from the neck of a bottle.  I bet now when you are walking the beach you will never look at that beach glass as trash but as treasure.

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I am not a pioneer but had great teacher named Jeff Plath.  He is a wonderful individual that wears many hats in the jewelry world in Minnesota.  He is a lamp worker, bead store owner, wholesaler and educator.  We got to talking about stone at one of his shows and I was talking about my frustration and he said to me.  Why don’t you come up and I will teach you how to drill stone.  My jaw just dropped at his generosity and the next time I was up at his shop he said, come on lets go over to my studio and I will teach you how to drill those stones you want. I am not an expert but know just enough to accomplish the task.  So this is what I learned and how I do it. I will also add a couple things I have learned on the way through practical experience. If you see these stars *** this is what I have learned along my drilling journey.

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(Here I am learning from Jeff Plath with a Flex Shaft Set Up…My First Drill!)

SO HOW DO YOU DO IT?  IT”S EASY!

Here is my set up.

Stone Drilling Set Up

1.  Dremel – You don’t have to have a Flex Shaft or Foredoom if you want to put it in a press like I have here.  I have a Dremel 4,000.  Seriously though any Dremel will get you started.  I bought my Dremel and Dremel Press at Home Depot. Here is a little Dremel Talk if you want to learn the terms and more about the Dremel.

2. Drill Press, Flex Shaft or a Foredom – You do not want to drill directly holding the Dremel you would have no control and it would be really hard on your wrist and hands. ***I use the drill press because I feel like I have more control and it is easier on my wrist and hands*** BUT *** It is easier to push hard when using a drill press and you will wear your bits out quicker….so just remember slow and steady***

3.  Water Resistant Base to fill with water and a Solid Surface for the drill bit to hit when it goes though.  I bought these plastic display bases from my friend Jeff Plath they are deep enough to hold the depth of water you need and I have a flat Agate slab at the bottom for the bit to hit when I make it through.  Agate has a good hard Mohs hardness for this. ***Some of these plastic bases have a small rise in the middle and you may need to sand them down for your stone to lay flat*** *** A rocking stone while drilling makes for a not so clean hole….darn I have done a ton like that***

4.  Drill Bits –  I think you will find many opinions out there on this one. I like the economy bits! There is a lot of blah blah blah out there.  You can all learn from trying with all those expensive bits if you like…..no thank you!  I buy the diamond cylinder economy packs at Rio Grande.  You buy the mm in diameter you want.  I have one expensive hollow core one…..that I haven’t used yet but I wanted to drill some larger holes and then you pay $$$$$. ***If you drill under water…..go slow and steady with the proper technique your bits will last plenty long*** ***If you are impatient and drill fast you will go through more bits*** ***The stone you drill makes a difference on your bit life to, Jasper is easy…Agate not so easy and LAVA Stone will kill your bits, I have to read about that one yet***  *** Its all in the MOHS hardness baby***  ***I started with the 1.5mm and the 2mm bits, this just depends on the work you want to do*** *** Don’t use these drill bits on metal or wood***

Drilling Base and Keyless Chuck

Note my drilling base setup & keyless chuck.

5. Universal Keyless Chuck –  What is a chuck?  It holds your bits and as you know they are all different sizes so when I started I had all these different sized chucks until BEAD AND BUTTON and Melissa Cable says “you know all you need is a universal keyless chuck” …. I’m Like WHAAAAAAAATTTT!!!!!!  How come I didn’t know that and why didn’t the Home Depot guy sell me that rather than all the different sized chucks.  ***With this you don’t EVER have to change out your chucks, just your bits *** (okay I best not make a crack here as I am trying to keep it rated G)

6.  Safety Goggles –  Protect your eyes!!!

7.  Paper Towels – Drilling can be a messy business, don’t wear your evening gown!

8. Items To Drill –  This is the fun part.  Don’t overlook your pendants that don’t work for you as a necklace.  They may make a great  bracelet. Add some holes at the bottom of a pendant to make a new more interesting pendant.  Drill sea glass, cabs, coral, pottery, shell, driftwood, fossil…….it is endless the list of materials that can make for fun designs. You can find free materials on your local beach.  Become a scavenger!!!!

afterlight

The below necklace was made by me but the stone was drilled by my friend Jeff Plath.  Basalt makes for some really great jewelry, a pick off the beaches of Lake Superior.  Your next interesting drilled jewelry might become a feature in a magazine, like this one did in my Designer Collection in Belle Armoire Jewelry Spring 2014 issue.

Belle Armoire Basalt Necklace

SO HOW MUCH IS ALL THIS GOING TO COST & WHERE TO BUY IT ALL

Your start up cost should be around $160.00  for all of the above using my set up. Some links are below for you to shop.  ***I did note that they sell the Dremel and the Flex Shaft  in sets on Amazon & they have a New Press Work Station that will fit a flex shaft*** My set up will get you started at minimal cost. Shop around for the best buy or support your favorite supplier.

Dremel 4,000: $77.51

Dremel  Rotary Tool Work Station:  $38.23

Drill Bits: $24.95

Universal Keyless Chuck:  $8.30

Water Resistant Tray:  $3.00 You might be able to find them on Amazon to.

Agate Slab:  $10.00 or less I found this link on Etsy but Amazon has them to …. guessing you could find many more but really you don’t need to pay a lot……buy the flattest and cheapest one you can find. ***Flat is important so buying in person maybe helpful if you can***

Safety Goggles / Glasses:  $5.50

SO NOW TO THE NITTY GRITTY.  WHAT DO YOU DO?

1. ALWAYS DRILL UNDER WATER!!!!  Why? For starters you don’t want to breath in that stone dust, glass and any other dust you bring up…not good for your health.  This keeps the dust in the water.  When your water gets muddy just change it out. Water lubricates your bits and stones.  This aids the speed of drilling and it keeps the temperature down.  All those RPM’s (revolutions per minute) make for a hot stone and a bit.    Drill stone, glass, pearl, pottery and  fossil under water. Have your stone at least a 1/4 inch under water.  ***I found it harder to drill with a flex shaft if you go in at an angle then your hole will be angled to***

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2. WEAR SOME EYE PROTECTION.  If you loose your grip on the stone or if it breaks it becomes a potential projectile.  I have had this happen and if you start to drill it will happen to you to.

3.  MARK YOUR HOLE PLACEMENT.  I use a sharpie.  You might have to remark your hole if doing more than one because sharpie can wash off as you are drilling. ***This part stinks and has ruined many of my drills but when your stone is under water there is a visual shift….so make sure to mark your hole!!!!!!!!***  ***Before you start to drill lower your drill bit on the spot and look at it from different angles while under water to make sure you are in the right spot*** Now you can drill.

4.  START OUT SLOW.  Like making a divot in metal for the drill bit to grab onto you need to create a divot in the stone or glass so the bit can find a home or sweet spot. Once in than go slow and steady.  You will know you are drilling when you see a dust slurry in the water, at least with stone.  You will need to raise the drill bit up now and again…..why? so water can circulate down into the hole (if you look it is a little tornado going in the hole) ….it cleans the hole of the debris you are drilling and will help you to drill faster.  You need this to keep things lubricated.   ***Going up and down can change your hole size if you are not holding your stone steady***  How many RPM’s …. You dial the amount of RPM’s you want on your Dremel.  I am usually at 10-15 RPM’s (10,000 – 15,000 yes that is fast ) .  Some may do it slower to start but this works for me.  I mostly start at 10 and move up.  Slower speed drilling will save your drill bits but in some stones you need the RPM’s to get through (Agate).  ***The stone you are drilling makes a difference,  very slow for less stable stone like Turquoise and less pressure…Turquoise breaks very easily if not stabilized or of poor quality*** ***MOHS hardness Matters*** ***If drilling fragile stone I would start with less than 10 RPM’s***

5.  PRESSURE RELEASE. You made it through!  You will hear a pop or feel the pressure release on the flex shaft or drill press bar.

SIDE NOTES

***I have found that I can drill nearly everything in the same technique as drilling stone, of course minus wood and metal***

***Don’t throw your mistakes away …….sit on them a bit…you never know what you might think up.  The photo below was the result of a happy accident.  It was a drill gone bad that turned into a new idea***

Drill gone bad

***Be logical and research the material you are drilling… is it fragile, this all makes a difference in how you drill***

***Develop a pattern as you drill a mental checklist as you go so you have success every time.  Impatience will give you some failures…..possibly some happy accidents. If you are drilling an expensive stone you really want that mental checklist***

***Experiment with found objects or some castoffs.  They might turn into your next favorite piece***

***Above all have fun and be daring, try anything that pops in your mind.  It might be your biggest design success***

***You can use your Dremel to ream out your flatter beads for a larger hole.  Especially for leather and other cording.  I typically use my Euro Tool Electric Bead Reamer for that.  It is easy to hold smaller and rounded stones as you ream, you will have more control. If you buy one get these bits here, they are the only bits I have used and they are inexpensive***

***Don’t RPM your fingers, it really hurts***

***I keep all my old bits, thats a secret for now***

Here my “Happy Accident” turned out pretty nice.  I hope in your drilling journey when you have your first “Happy Accident”  it will be a big success.

Ocean Jasper Statement Necklace

Remember in order to learn you must first begin!

Have Fun!

Kristin Oppold

How To Create Beading Patterns – 4 Great Options

How To Create Beading Patterns – 4 Great Options

 

In my growing love for beadweaving with all kinds of beads, I found a few great articles to help you create your own.  Being of the creative mind, I automatically try to create my own patterns…this gets me into trouble every time.  I have so much to learn and  my work needs some fine tuning, but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to share my ideas.  So while I practice,  you guys should learn how to make patterns so I can learn more technique…haha!  Well actually, I’ll be trying this out too.  Have fun and would love to hear your ideas and steps to create patterns.  Please share!

 

Create Beading Patterns with Inkscape (free software)

by 3D Beading
This is a step by step tutorial for using a few features in Inkscape, a free software for vector design.   It’s well written and easy to follow and gives very good results.

Stitchboard Free Pattern Wizard

by Stitchboard
Stitchboard.com is a community and offers a pattern wizard to upload a photography or scan of an image and then turn it into a variety of patterns either for beading or other needlework crafts such as cross stitch, embroidery, knitting, and crochet.

The software on the web site guides you through the process and gives you choices such as the type of stitch you want (brick, peyote, square stitch, right angle weave, loom,
and herringbone) and the type of beads you plan to use (Delicas or oval seed beads). Once you plug everything in and upload your image, you can preview it and make any changes you want. Then you can download it as a PDF or .gif. This is a free service, and you can learn more about it the Sitchboard.com Pattern Wizard site.  You are definitely limited to a perfectly even design but offers a great way to bring in your personal images etc.

 

Beaders Canvas:  $40 

Beader’s Canvas is a drawing software and using it you can also modify pictures. The canvas is the area in the center of the screen where you create patterns. Patterns can be created from a picture or by drawing. You can work on up to three patterns at once on the canvas. 

Create an original image by using the Draw cursor tool to color beads (graph cell) in the same way you would use graph paper.

Quick to install and easy to use. Includes informative HELP information and email address for support, should you need it.

Beadtool 4

Beadtool 4 : Beading Software For Everyone

For the Hobbyist Beader

Even if you’ve never used beading software before, you’ll have no problem unleashing your creativity with BeadTool. Everything you need to design beautiful bead patterns is presented in an intuitive user interface. If you ever get stuck there are instructional videos to walk you through various tasks.

For the Professional Designer

So you’ve spent your fair share on expensive beading software that just isn’t cutting it any more. You’ll find this application a treat to work with. If you sell your patterns, BeadTool 4 gives you more freedom to design your prints and PDFs as you want your customers to see them.

 

 

Double Wire Wrap Tutorial

Double Wire Wrap Tutorial

 

This is a quick demonstration on how to do a double wire wrap. I used a large stone (African Opal) and 22 gauge wire so hopefully the steps are easy to see.

Step 1: Thread the wire through the top drill hole and leave an equal amount of wire on either side – about an inch to an inch & a half. Pinch the wire together at the top of the stone to create a little triangle with the wire, and so that it lays flat along the top of the stone.

Step 2: To create the loop, wrap both wires side-by-side around the round-nose pliers. I like to hold the pliers flat so I can make sure I make the loop tightly across the top, and so I can ensure the wires are side-by-side (not doubled up on each other).

Step 3: I use my flat pliers to pull the wire around and create the wrap. Start with one of the wires so that they are opposite each other. This will help to ensure you’re alternating the wrap evenly. Watch the wire wrap to make sure that they wrap tightly.

Step 4: Pull the opposite wire around and tuck it right up next to the other. Ensure the wire is side-by-side on the wrap so you create a flat, even wrap vs. clumping on top of one another. Again watching to make sure that it stacks right beneath the other wire and creates a smooth wrap. Continue this process for 3-4 more times (to the desired size and shape you want with your wrap). I usually use a second pair of flat nose pliers at this point. One pair to hold the loop steady (bent nose pliers will leave room to wrap without letting go), and a second for pulling the wire around. Some people actually just hold the stone as they wrap. Either is fine as long as you work tightly with the wire for an even wrap.

Note: Some people prefer to continue wrapping all the way down the stone to cover up the threading, so if that is the case then add a little extra length to the wire back in step 2. I will show a few examples at the end of various wrapping styles.

Step 5: Once you’ve finished wrapping, again keep the wires opposite each other and cut the ends. This way you can tuck each end up against the bottom of the wrap for a more level base.

Step 6: Tuck the last of the wire up to the base of the wrap and smooth/ adjust the wire for any places where it might look a little out of line.

Below I’ve included a few examples of various wraps using the same stone, but for different projects. The earrings (upper right) use the same wrapping technique shown in this tutorial. The wrap comes just down to the top of the stone.

Note the second pair of earrings (lower right) wrap down over the top of the stone and pull the wire back up across the wrap itself. This is a popular finish to a wrap. All you do is pull it up over the wrap and then just pull the wire around the first wire in the top of the wrap. Some people also like to create a little swirl and leave it at the bottom of the wrap. Get creative and try different styles.

The necklace is a wrap that covers the top of the stone, and pulls the wire up through another bead finishing yet a second wrap and loop to hang from the necklace. Once you’ve got the basics to wrapping you can try it so many different ways to create your own style.

You can find me on my Antiquity Traveler sites: my shop on Etsy, my blog, my Pinterest boards, my twitter feed, my Facebook page, my Polyvore sets or my flickr photostream. or leave me a message on my AW page

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