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 Bead Drilling: The Dimple

It is usually necessary to put a rough spot onto a bead before drilling it to give the drill bit a place to "bite." I call this the "dimple." It can be done with a large, single diamond drill, but pecking, chipping, grinding and sawing a short groove have also been used. Studying the dimple can yield information, not only on how the dimple itself was made but also the order in which drilling and boring were done. Along with an understanding of how the bead was polished, quite a bit of the beadmaking process can be discerned.

Both of these beads were polished by abrasion before being drilled. The left one was then chip dimpled and drilled (AcD) and the right one was drill dimpled and then drilled (AdD)

These two beads were tumbled before being drilled. The one on the right was chip dimpled (TcD) and the one on the left was drill dimpled (TdD).

The bead above was chip dimpled, drilled and then tumble polished (cDT)

The bead above was drill dimpled, drilled and polished by abrasion (dDA)

The bead above (the only modern one) was drill dimpled, drilled and then tumble polished (dDT).

The abbreviations used above are the ones I use when taking notes or using a small table. The dimpling is always abbreviated with lower case letters. They stand for chipping (c), drilling (d), grinding (g), pecking (p) and sawing (s). The upper case D is the step of drilling. A stands for polished by Abrasion and T for polished by Tumbling. The position of the letter indicates the order of the operation.


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