Saturday, April 01, 2017

Cleaning Beads

The only thing I hate more than pulling beads is cleaning them. There are so many frustrations. The unreasonable difficulty in finding a straight sided bit for one thing - reaming out a straight-sided hole with a tapered bit is an exercise in frustration. And stabbing yourself with that point, amiright?

Anyway - this is my most recent set up to attempt to ease this chore.

 It starts with our old friend, the portable vise. Sure - a regular vise would work too - but lots of us have to make do with using the kitchen and not a dedicated space.

 I'm clamping the foredom flexshaft into the vise. This saves my having to hold it steady. I used to hold this in my right hand, but realized that meant I was doing the manipulation of the bead in my left - which is less controlled than my right (me being right-handed.)

Putting it on an angle uses gravity to pull the water and debris down and away (I tried it level - keeping it wet wasn't an issue, but it did take longer to clean a bead, due to it not flushing itself.)

The tip of the bit sits in water - for lubrication. The bits don't last worth a damn if you don't keep them wet.

 I had a battery-powered, pistol grip dremel, which I loved. Actually - I've had 3 of them. The most recent one had the bit fuse/rust in place, and there was no getting it out without destroying the dremel.

The best thing about the dremel - two things - one, you can set the speed with a dial, and two - the battery only lasted about an hour, so that you didn't attempt to clean more than an hour's worth of beads at a time.

After the third one died, it occurred to me that I might as well use the perfectly good foredom that I've had for years.

I bought the foredom with the foot pedal control - because that's what we all do, right? And if you are sitting, fine, but when you are standing, the effort of standing on the foot pedal with enough control to not have the bit running so fast it scares the snot out of you, means a balancing act that leaves you tired and aching.

So I put a clamp on the foot pedal - yes - I can buy a controller with a dial - but I have a clamp, thank you - and that solves that.

The sink has a water hose, but it won't stay on by itself, so a wrap of nice thick rubber bands solved that.

And there we have it. It was over two hours to clean these - closer to three I think. In the ball park of 500 beads or so.

If you are not a beadmaker - this is one of those frustrating and unglamorous chores that goes into making those exquisite little gems. Appreciate it. Appreciate the hell out of it.

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