Hand Drill




About: I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stories and poetry for the love of writing. I started writing poetry in high school over thirty years ago where I ...

Through the years I have made quite a few pieces of jewelry; I started making pendants and earrings over 40 years ago carving seashells on a small table at fairs and other public places. Passersby would see what I was doing and buy the jewelry I was making.

The tools I used were a file a 1/16th drill bit and a piece of 1000 grit sandpaper. I did the drilling by holding the bit in my fingers and turning the bit between my fingers to cut a hole in the shell for the ring. Power tools were not the best for drilling into seashells, the moment the tiny bit caught the shell it would break and turning the bit between my fingers was hard on my hands.

I wanted to make a pair of earrings that doubled as fishing lures for the jewelry contest, (OK my redneck side showing.), but first I had to make a Hand Drill. This Instructable is on making a simple Hand Drill.

Step 1: Parts

0 to ¼ inch Drill Chuck

Chuck Key


I have Supreme 0 to ¼ inch chucks and vintage Jacobs 0 to ¼ inch chucks with male and female mount ⅜ 24 threaded mounts.

For a handle I wanted a nob with a ⅜ 24 thread or threaded shaft, I found both in my wife’s jar of nobs.

I’m not sure if the nobs came from a folding lawn moor handle or an office chair but I liked the nob that fit the vintage Jacobs chuck, it fit without cutting the threaded shaft or adding a spacer.

If you do not have a spare drill chuck, you can buy one or take one off a drill like in this Instructable.


Step 2: Start Drilling Seashells

Put the nob on the chuck.

Tighten a 1/16th drill bit in the chuck.

Select a shell to make your pendent and start drilling seashells.



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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I have a pile of shells collected over the years of oceanside vacations. I wanted to turn some of them into jewelry but had no idea of how to drill holes in them. Thanks

    5 replies
    Josehf Murchisonmrsmerwin

    Reply 2 years ago

    You are welcome.

    A little advice, don't rush cutting the shells, they are very brittle and chip easy.

    Also work them outside, they smell like burnt bone when you carve them by hand, even worse if you shape them with a dremel.


    2 years ago

    wow, this explains a lot what happens if you try to drill them.. thanks

    1 reply
    Josehf Murchisoncelalboz

    Reply 2 years ago


    It is easy to forget sea shell is exoskeleton not bone even if it smells like bone when it gets hot.

    As long as you take your time you can make beautiful things with it.

    They also make very effective tools and weapons.