TOOLS Homemade Jig for Quick Sanding a Lentil Bead

Since the swirly lentil thing hit me very hard, I made hundreds of lentil beads. Eventually, the task to finish all those beads rears its ugly head.

Well, if I have hundreds, I'll set up my rock tumblers ;-) However, when I have just a few beads I discovered a quick and easy way to sand lentil-shaped beads.

I have one of those little suction cups, like the ones you can stick on windows or refrigerators to hand hand towels. The cup I'm talking about has a small stub and a wire hook worked into the stub. I remove the wire hook and clamp the stub into a regular electric

  • Adjust the prongs in the drill until they are wide enough to set the stub in of the suction cup in-between them.
  • Set the suction cup in and tighten the prongs until the suction cup is snugly held in but not too tight.

Set up your sanding station:

  • Fill up you sanding pan with water until its about 1/3 full.
  • Build a nice stack of small 4"x4" wet/dry sanding papers of the following grits; 300, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and set them in the water.
  • *Thwock* (technical term, mind you ;-) the lentil onto the suction cup. Make sure it's centered.
  • Rest the drill on the edge of the pan and angle it down so the end of the drill and the bead are as far into the pan without actually touching the water in the pan - drill on. Adjust the lentil's placement if it's off-center.
    • Spinning wet things can make a mess, so take precautions.
    • Obviously, since the drill is electric, be extremely careful to make sure the drill doesn't fall into the water. If it does, you should put the drill away and sand by hand!
  • With the other hand, pick up the lowest grit paper out of the water, hold it against the lentil bead for a few seconds, then set it aside, pick up the next highest grit level, set it aside and repeat until you have gone through all the sand paper grits.
  • Turn off the drill, unthwock the lentil, flip it and rethwock so the unsanded side is exposed and repeat the whole sanding process.

It may seem like a lot, but it takes only a minute or so to do all those grit levels and completely sand the entire bead. Once the sanded bead is clean and dry, rethwock the lentil bead and hold it against a soft cloth like flannel to buff the bead. A little more labor intensive than tumbling but the big advantage is you can thoroughly sand and buff a batch of about 30 lentil beads in an hour, instead of days of tumbling.

There's nothing better than having a great tool when you need it.


Last update to this page: 8 Apr 07. Send comments, questions or suggestions to Desiree McCrorey.