Friday, November 6, 2009

Duct Tape of the Magnet World





Rare earth magnet, is there no end to your usefulness?







This walnut mailbox with bloodwood flag has seen better days. But considering it's weathered the elements (though under a covered porch) for the last 9 years, it's not too shabby.

When I built it, I was going for a mission style—simple and sturdy—something nice to greet the mailman. And I came up with all kinds of elaborate ways to attach a flag that would tell him when we had outgoing mail.

Then it occurred to me that rare earth magnets might function as a pivoting mechanism. It worked, and still works perfectly. In fact it has just as strong a pull as ever.

The wooden flag cracked, the mailbox cracked. But the magnet is a real crackerjack.

11 comments:

Richard Magbanua said...

Great idea! I'm sure the mailman smiles when he see that nice mailbox.
I wonder, could I just forgo fancy joinery in exchange for rare earth magnets?
(to be honest, I chuckled at first and then went, "hmmm...")

Jeff Branch said...

Nice looking mailbox.

rgdaniel said...

Just once I'm going to come here and not say, or at least think, "cool"... not holding my breath though...

Cool!

Woodbloke said...

Hi Kari - rare earth magnets are something I'm going to invest in as well shortly...I've been meaning to get a few for a while now.

At least in this entry there's no pic of Daisy sitting inside the mailbox with postie's hat on...
...shouldn't have said that! - Rob

Chod said...

Years ago I used a 3/4" rare earth magnet in the top of a door jamb to hold the door (to a dining room) closed instead of the usual spring ball catch. Customer loved it because we painted over it and it was unseen. Magic!

Joe Cottonwood said...

I love the door idea.

The Village Carpenter said...

Richard, now there's a thought--a book called The Complete Book of Joinery With Rare Earth Magnets. ha ha!

Thanks, Jeff. It was a lot nicer looking before it got so grimy and sun bleached. And before a bunch of spiders....well....pooped on it.

Thanks, Bob. :o)

Rob, I also used them to close the doors on my tool cabinet. I put two little ones at the top and they work great. I laughed out loud at the visual of Daisy that you conjured. hee hee

Chod, that's interesting--I didn't know that you could paint over them and that they'd still work. Great idea!

Joe, I agree. And if anyone else would like to share their uses for them, feel free to chime in.

EMBO said...

I used ours to find the blade guard screw from the table saw that dropped down into 12 cubic feet of sawdust...talk about a needle in a haystack!

Mr Bill said...

I use REM for my Christmas ornaments. I turn finials for a sea urchin ornament make some interesting cuts and holes and insert a LED light in the bottom finial held in place with a magnet. It looks cool but is a lot of work and the batteries are a pain to change.
Bill

The Village Carpenter said...

Emily, thanks for the reminder to clean out my ts cabinet. The dust collection system on it is worthless!

Bill, I'd like to see a picture of that. Sounds really cool.

JERM said...

I recently made a folding chessboard and used REM's to hold it closed. I mortised them in and then placed an oversized contrasting wood plug over them and it works GREAT!!