Core-drill sampling with the Sherline milling machine… and how not to lose things

Tony Sigel

Abstract

Core samples are often needed for the analysis of ceramics, glazed and unglazed, high fired and low. Sampling of any kind is both unpleasant and challenging. To extract a sample containing a full stratigraphy can be difficult, and often the fracturing off of material adjacent to a chip or other damage with tools is difficult to control. The author has had success using diamond coated core drills in a milling machine at slow speeds and describes the machine and its setup, explaining the techniques, fixtures and special tools used. The importance of practice on non-art objects cannot be overstated. The pros and cons of destructive sampling and the prerequisites to be met before taking such an irreversible step are discussed.