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Anyone know how to drill holes in small stones?

For use as beads.

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jeasterl6 years ago
first it depends on the type of stone soft stones like Soapstone and pumice can be drilled with regular bits take it slow and clear the dust often don't use your best most expensive bits carbide masonry bits hold up better if you can find one in the right size
hard stone like granite or volcanic glass i would use a diamond bit keeping it cool with some water
to drill deep holes in hard stone (an inch or more) make a little dam around the location for the hole with clay fill the 'lake' with an abrasive like valve lapping compound (silicon carbide) and use a steel or brass rod in a drill press go slow and keep the well filled with water and compound
slowly ; )
It totally depends on the type of stone you're using. I've got some really soft stones near my house that are mostly talc and could be worked into a shape with a fingernail or a toothpick, and not far are some really hard stones that are notorious for destroying the diamond-tipped tools of prospectors and oil crews. I used a lot of soapstone for a while. Decent soapstone can be cut and carved with common woodworking tools. Low-grade soapstone can have thick veins of harder material in it, which can quickly ruin a blade or bit, so beware.
Quartz and related minerals are both very common and very hard, so a glassy-looking stone might not be a good choice. Try scratch testing them for hardness before drilling.
Wrap the stone in cloth or other protective material. Put the stone in a vise. Get a Dremel with a small drill bit, diamond tipped if possible. Use a rather low speed, I set mine to about 4 or 5. Periodically pour cold water on the stone and bit to cool it down. It ends up taking longer using a lower setting, but it doesn't heat up as fast so you'll save bits. Depending on the type of drill bit you use, you probably wouldn't want to use it on anything else afterwards.