Daily Wire Tip March 20: Using a Reamer

By on March 20, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
March 20, 2010


Can I use a reamer to etch in a groove around a glass bead to wrap it?


Oh my goodness! That process would take more than a day and certainly use up a lot of diamond reamer bits, as well as your hand and arm! To be able to route a groove around a glass or stone cabochon or bead you will need to use a router with diamond bits. You could also try diamond bits in a Dremel; however this procedure can be dangerous, as it is difficult to hold the slippery bead or cab while keeping the router on a straight course going around the edges and maintaining a consistent depth. My advise would be to talk to a glass worker who may be willing to either teach you how to properly and safely proceed, or do it for you at a minimal fee.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  2. avatar

    Karen Pennachio

    March 20, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Anyone who does stained glass will have a glass grinder. These come with different diamond bit heads. If the person also does fused glass they probably have a head to grind a channel in a cabochon or glass bead. With this equipment the process would be safe and quick.

  3. avatar


    March 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    There are grinder bits specifically made for doing this.They are called jewelry grinder bits and will cut a channel in the glass. You may want to check with a stained glass store.

  4. avatar


    March 20, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I can tell you something I have done that may be a possible alternative to explore. I have used a lapidary trim saw to cut fenton glass as well as antique marbles (yep the kind kids play with) to make unique pieces to wrap. I use a small diameter abrasive diamond blade on a wet drip saw, these can be used at relatively low speeds and might be a bit safer and easier to control than a high speed router bit or dremel tool. While I go on to shape and polish pieces after I cut, you may not have to if you are only making a TINY grove for wire to lock into. This approach does require special equipment and knowledge to use, but if this is something you want to do a lot of, then you might want to look into it. Cutting and polishing glass can be extremely dangerous, so If do explore this alternative please be sure you get proper training to be able to use the equipment safely and effectively.

    If the groove technique you are seeking proves more trouble than its worth, consider using some type of cage setting in your design. Come back and ask Dale about settings that can capture round objects. She may already have something in a tutorial, book or dvd she can steer you to.

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  6. avatar


    March 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you all for your solutions to my question, and dale keep it twisted girl!

  7. avatar

    Val Bogdan

    March 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

    The jewelry bit is great! I use mine all the time because when I don’t wirewrap my dichroic fused cabs, then I grind a channel and use twisted square wire. The end result, if you use at least a 20 gauge wire, is almost like a scalloped bezel effect. If you’re going to twist wire you may think about getting the Automatic wire twister featured at the top of the page, has saved me hours of time and effort!