Electric Bead Reamers - what's your experience?

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Sherri S. wrote
on Nov 29, 2009 1:05 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm going to ask my husband for an electric bead reamer for Christmas.  I found one at a bead show last September but I had already blown my wad for the day and couldn't justify buying it.  The guy gave me his website - the company is Ameritool, but the reamer kit isn't listed there.  I really liked the set-up.  It came with a stand, a drill, drill bits, bowl for water, and a wooden gizmo to hold the bead you are drilling.  I now wish I had bought the kit, and it was only $68.  *groan!*  I can't find anything like it anywhere

So I'm back to square one.  I'm now shopping for an electric bead reamer.  Can anyone recommend a particular brand or type?  My budget is $150 at the max, but hopefully less.  It needs to come with something to hold the bead, so that I don't drill into my hand.  My main reason for getting one is to enlarge holes in pearls, but will probably also use it for many of the beads I buy from India, which have the smallest holes ever and you can't put those beads on headpins because of it.

Any ideas or suggestions you can share would be greatly appreciated!

 

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

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LitaC2 wrote
on Nov 29, 2009 5:46 PM

Sherri -

Don't waste your money.  Unless that electric reamer is powered by a 1/16th hp motor (a Foredom or flexshaft), it's not going to do diddlysquat on anything but pearls, and for those, it's overpowered.  I've tried setups with Dremels and that's next to useless on anything but wood or plastic, and I've ruined pearls because the Dremel runs too fast to control.

The best thing I've found for dealing with small hole pearls, and cleaning out some of the Indian glass and some stone beads are watchmakers' broaches - they similar to a reamer, but are made from high quality German steel, with five sharp sides, and come in a graduated set of five.  You can also get a wooden bead holder so you don't ream out your hands.

From the Metalliferous catelog:

 

Lita

Please see my projects at Stoneheart Beads

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Kokopelli wrote
on Dec 1, 2009 2:08 AM

 I can't recommend a certain brand, but I ream my beads and pearls with my Dremel and a diamond coated drill bit. I never had any breakage or damage on the beads and pearls. I drill them wet (of course) and my Dremel tool can be controlled by a wheel (runs from very slow to very fast). For a holder I use a wooden........how do you call these things, you hang up laundry to dry? I think the dictionary in my head is not available today! Confused

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Billy Z wrote
on Dec 1, 2009 4:15 AM

Kokopelli Design:

 For a holder I use a wooden........how do you call these things, you hang up laundry to dry?

 

 Ummmm, clothespins?

 Billy ;o)

 

 I yam wut I yam and dats all wut I yam. ~Popeye~

Dragonfly Jewelry Designs - ArtFire Artisan Studio

 

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Sherri S. wrote
on Dec 1, 2009 8:15 PM

Thank you Lita and Dagi. 

Not sure what I'll do.  Even if I get a reamer that will successfully drill pearls only, I need to get SOMETHING.  Rio has a handheld one for about $40.  I suppose I could get that one and use a clothes pin (thanks Dagi!) to hold the bead.  But will it drill straight?  I've got to try something because the manual reamer that they sell for about $20 with the diamond-dust-coated bits has been completely useless.

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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spa27 wrote
on Jun 23, 2010 1:09 PM

Hi there!

I too am suffering the torments of the damned reaming pearls by hand -- big blisters.  Did you ever decide which reamer to get?  If so, do you like it and have you been successful with it?  Also, everyone talks about Dremels.  Do you have any idea which is the correct Demel to purchase?  Thanks!

Sarah (a new member)

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JanineB@7 wrote
on Jun 23, 2010 2:31 PM

In all honesty, I have had poor luck, with the exception of, dealing with Pearls.

I have a Dremel, a Hand Held Reamer and have a small Table Top Drill Press. I like the Drill Press, as it is stationary and allows you to use both of your hands.

I think for the most part, it is personal prefference. I have broken many stones trying to ream them out and if I have to put aside a few pieces when making a necklace or whatever, that is what I usually do.

The Diamond drill bits are not very expensive, although I have found that they do not last.

If anyone does know of a sure fired way of reaming it would be real nice to know.

Sorry that I could not be of help to you,

Janine

 

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spa27 wrote
on Nov 2, 2011 1:38 PM

I just saw your listing and am very interested in an electric bead reamer as well.  What did you eventually get and are you happy with it?  Thanks!

Sarah

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Mrhudson wrote
on Dec 20, 2012 7:28 AM

I have owned a rechargable bead reamer years ago and when it worked it was great.

But then again when it didn't it was a piece of CR_P

Now I use a variable speed Dremel when I can, but it is not battery operated so I don't use it when I need to have my Bead (Gem) in water..

For that I use a Flex Shaft

You can buy a nice one for not that much and it will be around for your use for many years

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shanks wrote
on Dec 23, 2012 10:42 AM

I found that using a power screwdriver with an adapter "Chuck" attachment works very well. It turns much slower than you can get the Dremel to go. My screwdriver  cost $19.95 and the Chuck was another $7.95.  

High RPM is not the way to go.

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Posts 262
on Dec 27, 2012 1:29 AM

Hi Sherri, you can consult some online beads and jewelry suppliers, they would offer the tools in most cases. Mountains is a native online shop from which I bought my beads and you can contact to ask if they have the one you need, they are truly reliable. :)

By the way,  wish you a happy and safe Christmas! :)

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Sherri S. wrote
on Jan 4, 2013 9:12 PM

Wow, I can't believe people are replying to this message 3+ years after I initially posted it!

My husband did buy me a Dremel tool that Christmas in 2009, what a mistake that was.  I should have taken Lita's advice.  I gave it back to him to use in the garage. 

That following summer, I went to a bead show and found a bead reamer drill at a booth I think called Ameri-Tool.  He had it on sale for $63 and the guy demonstrated how it worked.  It was exactly what I was looking for, but I had already blown my wad and couldn't afford to get it, so I passed on it.  Big mistake!  He hasn't had it since then.

This past summer, I approached the same guy at the same booth and asked him if he still had that reamer drill.  He didn't, but he had an alternative.  I paid a little over $20 for it but haven't tried it yet.  It is called "Peticure Elite", which is used for giving manicures to pets (yes, you read that right!).  I bought a set of diamond drill bits from him that fit it.  It will be interesting to see how it works.  And it is safe even if you touch the rotating bit to your hand (kind of like how drills that cut off plaster casts won't cut your skin).  I haven't tried it yet but it was worth a try for the $20 or so that I paid for it.

 Sherri S.

Check out my Etsy Store......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6321824

Check out my Etsy Beads Store.......

http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7141344

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