Friday, April 16, 2010

Blogger Drive By I look at the new round of resin pendants I made using some rather unorthodox materials, one fact becomes painfully clear. I have no way to hang these babies. They don't have loops or holes.

I tried using a hole punch to punch holes and ruined 4 pendants in the process (in addition to hurting my arm).

Obviously, I must break down and buy a drill. I've tried to avoid this over the years because I'm sure the first thing I will manage to drill a hole in I am NOT the most graceful of crafters on a good day.

In lampworking class, I was the only one who managed to burn herself RIGHT AFTER the teacher explained how a piece of murrini can look like it's cooled off, but still be hot enough to burn you.

I spilled an entire cup of resin across my work surface yesterday.

I've resined my hair AND managed to drag my sleeve through some resin just this morning.

But, as one of my favorite characters from the Liaden Universe novels would say "necessity exists."

Therefore, I have a date with drilling destiny.

Also, I need some kind of vise-like thingamabob (technical term) for holding my pieces still while I drill them. This is in hopes of avoiding the aforementioned probably drilling of body parts.

Here are my requirements:

The drill needs to be small and lightweight and non-scary looking. It needs to have "jewelry-sized" drill bits (i.e. something small enough to drill a hole just big enough for a jump ring or piece of wire).

The vise can't be one of those things that clamps onto the edge of a work surface - because I don't have any edges like that to clamp it on to. It needs to be free-standing and it also needs to not mar the surface of whatever I'm working on.

Okay...any recommendations (please include links if it's an on-line item)? Local stores around here are Lowe's and Home Depot...


P.S. If you are the one whose recommendation works out for me - I'll send you one of my first drilled pendants. :-)



stregata said...

For a drill, I would suggest getting a Dremel; they have all sorts of drills and other neat things for grinding and polishing etc. It is small, fairly lightweight and therefore, not quite so scary. I have a different brand: Proxxon. Also has a wide variety of tools and parts. But I don't know if it is available where you are.

kelleysbeads said...

I'd go with a cordless Dewalt drill (Lowe's & HD should both have this) and it should come with drill bits. At least two of those will be small enough to use for drilling holes small enough for jump rings.

Since you probably won't like my recommendation of using your knees as a vice, I would ask the HD or Lowe's guys for a point-in-the-right-direction. You can always use washcloths between the vice surface and your pendants to help keep it from inflicting any unwanted marks while you drill.

You can do this. And in time, you will love your new drill. You may even want to name it Bessie. Or Rhonda. And you will run around with it while pulling the trigger, yelling "TOWANDA!" Oh yes. Yes, you will.

Leslie Gidden said...

A Dremil tool should work for you and for a vice you should also look into those spring type clamps to clamp your piece to the table.....wish I knew their name! Maybe someone can recall their technical name?? Good luck!!


TesoriTrovati said...

hmmmm.... I really want a Flex Shaft ever since I worked with one in the first metalsmithing class I took back in 2007. Then I saw that there is a Dremel with attachments for polishing, sanding, etc with a flex shaft included. That is the one I want. And it seemed reasonable. I am sure I saw it at Lowe's in a nice self contained kit. And then you need drill bits like these
Says that they fit a Dremel. Let me know how it goes!
I purposely bought some pendants without loops. I am hoping to solder them or use them with filigree wrap. That would be another option for you.
Enjoy the day!

lunedreams said...

i have a cordless drill too, from the hardware store. not sure the brand (it's at home and i'm at work). but if you close the collets completely (these are the things that hold the bit in place), check to see that they touch completely when closed--if so they should hold a tiny bit. I get my tiny drill bits at a hobby shop where they sell tools for miniatures work. i found the dremels a bit spendy just for drilling holes, but if you plan on ever polishing or grinding it might be worth it (the flex shaft piece is separate from the dremel though.)

Spirited Earth said...

i am so glad you brought up this topic..i've avoided but needed a jewelry sized drill..flex shaft are way expensive to just play around with...

Marie Cramp said...

When I drill holes in my wood pendants, I use my dremel tool. I have a fold out work bench that I use. I fold it open, I clap a 2X4 in between the expandable top pieces and tighten it so it won't move. I then use a regular clamp to hold my pendant on the 2X4 and proceed to sit in a chair and hold my dremel up and very carefully drill down through a pre-marked spot on my piece. If you need a picture of this set-up let me know and I will set it all up and get someone to take a picture of me drilling. {don't forget protective eyewear.


Katie said...

I WAS going to tell you about the really cool Fiskars drill (not the green one like you already have) that I got and use to drill holes in resin...

But, that's nice for when you have a couple of pieces to work with...I also have a Dremel that I haven't broken out yet...Probably when I get home from my girl's weekend of playing with resin and clay and beads :o)

Marbella Jewelry Designs said...

would the glue on bails work? they come in different metal finishes.

Studio Sylvia said...

I have a Dremel, with a flexi-shaft and a small, lightweight, cordless Bosch GSR 10, 8V-LIQ drill, comes with two re-chargeable batteries. For drilling holes in metal, I prefer the Bosch as I find it more comfortable to hold and I am more confident using it. It also has a light to shine down on the drilling area. The Dremel has the high speed for drilling into glass and stone (submerge these objects in water first). Mine has a slide switch to regulate speed, but it is on the body of the Dremel, not on the flexishaft and I have to stop to alter speed. A flexi-drive motor with flexi-shaft has a foot pedal to regulate speed, which means that you don't have to stop what you are doing, to change the speed.
Hope this helps.

Studio Sylvia said...

Forgot to mention, Irwin Quick Grips come in small sizes. Can clamp pendant to a piece of wood. You then hold the wood rather than the pendant, while drilling.

Gardanne said...

Try and get a dremel that has variable speed not just high and low. You probably can't do this with bezels with resin in them, but when you are drilling metal make a little ding in the metal with a nail or metal punch where you want your hole. That way your drill will not skid across the metal. Don't apply a ton of pressure, let the drill do the work. Clamp a piece of wood to the table to drill on, so you don't drill through your table.
If you can handle a torch you can handle a drill.

Barbara Lewis said...

If you're only going to limit your use of a drill to drilling a few holes from time to time, get a dremel. It will be lighter weight than a standard drill and you'll have so much more control. You don't need a vise, all you need is a pair of pliers. I'm assuming your bezels have a space surrounding them into which you're drilling the hole. Just hold onto that space with the needle nose pliers. Good luck ... and your techniques sound a lot like mine!

Barbara Bechtel said...

I'm in with the dremel crowd or a brand of the like. There are many small affordable rotary tool models that will suit your purpose.

The many tiny bits and wheels as mentioned suit jewelry making well. All dremel bits are interchangeable with a flex shaft

Flex shafts are nice but are actually not as powerful as a dremel and are 2-3 times the cost of a high end dremel. In time you can also purchase a flex shaft attachement for your dremel as well.

I purchased mine at walmart. make sure you do buy one that has multiple speeds (more than 2) because...well you'll understand when you turn it on. and that might bode well for you if you're a krafty klutz. i (cross my fingers) have yet to hurt myself, oh, and make sure you wear eye protection. i'm not really miss safety but you can't replace those eyeballs....

as far as a clamp, you can find lots of small springy clamps in various sizes that will work or buy a small table top vase and glue the the jaws with small pieces of matboard or cardboard cut to fit.

The Joy of Nesting said...


Go with a Dremel Tool cuz there are sooooo many other things you can do with one. The flex shaft is probably a great idea for you since you don't have to manipulate the tool it hangs in one place and you use the flex shaft like a pen. You can also get plenty of big girl tool attachments for it also.

Two suggestions for vices. Harbor Freight has a table top vice (small) with a vacuum pad. It's what I use because I'm not sticking a clamp on my desk!!! The little vacuum holds fairly well, as long as the piece you want to hold isn't HEAVY. You can see it here:

The other really cool piece I have is a "third hand" or helping hand It is so cool. H.F. also has them this is the one I have:

This one makes soldering a dream cuz the clamps can hold the pieces exactly where you want them when you are soldering.

I do have a small question though. If you are drilling a hole through your resin piece you do lay the piece down on a piece of board or work surface to drill the hole through it?? YES??? So for that job you don't need the vice, I'm thinking anyway??

Have fun picking out your new tools. Just remember to never let the drill see the fear in your eyes. :) You must establish who is the alpha from the very start!! :)

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mx.

Cynthia said...

I agree - Dremel is the way to go, with a flexible shaft. It allows you to hold it like a pen. The other nice thing about the dremel is it has all kinds of other uses - polishing, texturing, cutting...(perhaps you could texture a surface to hide an air bubble??)
For a "vice" I would suggest a small clamp (usually in the woodworking section of Lowes or Home Depot). The clamps are intended for gluing furniture together, so they have spongey pads. You can clamp the pendant to a piece of 2x4 wood and drill through the pendant and into the 2x4 for a nice clean hole.
Good luck!