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April: Drilling Glass
Keeping Things Wet
When Drilling glass it is important always to keep the drill bit and glass wet, otherwise the glass gets too hot and will break. There are a variety of things you can do to achieve this.

Drill under water in a container

Drill in a ring of clay, plasticine, etc., holding water. To do this, you need to make a ring about 50 mm in diameter and press it around the drill site. Fill the ring with water and a little diamond coolant. This will cool the drill site and glass. Diamond coolant is not necessary, but extends the life of the bits.

Use a re-circulating water pump such as those made for indoor water features. Direct the small flow of water to the drilling site and catch the water in the bucket in which the pump is submerged.

Use a glass drill with hollow core bits and an internal water feed. This is the most expensive but it is the best equipment with which to drill large holes.... Read More Drilling Glass
March: Cleaning your beads
Using a mandrel, smaller than the one you made your beads on, take a pair of pliers with a cutting edge and chomp up and down the mandrel so that the end effect feels like a file. It takes a little bit of effort but in the long run it is well worth it. Make sure that you serrate the whole length of the mandrel. This way you will be able to put the bead on and using a rocking motion slide the bead up and down the mandrel. You only need to clean from one side as the rocking will cover all the inside of the bead.
One word of warning, If you don't have dimples on your beads, cleaning them this way will cause small chips to come of the bead hole. After a few hundred beads you will need to re do the mandrel so that it stays nice and rough.

Another method is to tightly twist a doubled over length of wire so that it resembles the old style pipe cleaners (smoking pipe cleaner) and place the beads on it as above. Be careful with the wire that you use because if its steel it can stain the inside a dark grey. If you are only cleaning round beads with this method you can put 10-12 beads at a time on each cleaner put them in a vibrating gem tumbler covered with water with a table spoon of vinegar (the vinegar is slightly acidic and helps eat away the bead release) and run for a couple of hours.

After using either of the methods above, rinse well in clean water.
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