Seashells.

Q: I am trying to find a tool that is best for drilling holes in seashells so they can be used in my jewelry. I am aware of the inherent dangers, so I need something that will work underwater. Any ideas?

A: I used a rechargeable 'Dremel' tool when I drilled some seashells. It was a little slow, but it did work (you don't want to put the tool all the way under the water, just the bit). Use the hardest bit you can find. I might also try my other 'Dremel', but only with the 'Flex-Shaft' attachment. I use the rechargeable to clean my beads. One of my kitties decided to help me one day, and knocked it out of my hands right into the water! I took it out and let it dry, and have had no problems with it (that particular cat is no longer allowed to be in the room with me, when I am cleaning beads!). Diamond drills in a 'Dremel' will do fine if you only need a few. You can also use steel tips, but you have to keep resharpening them. A word of caution from somebody who drills a LOT of shell: Drilling under water might not be enough protection, depending on the type of shell, and primarily, on your own sensitivity to the proteins contained in the shell. It is possible to develop an allergy to these, and you can get a reaction even when the drilling is done totally underwater. Once you develop a sensitivity, it seems it only takes a few molecules to get a reaction (if you can smell the shell, that's enough). I am guessing that you will only be drilling a few shells, so if you use a 'Dremel', your precautions should be more than adequate. From my experience, an ordinary respirator is not adequate. I will be happy to share the info I have on getting better (and expensive) protection - like what you would use for asbestos removal.