How to install magnets

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Words and photos: Raf Nathan

Whilst they may not always be the best choice, magnets in many cases can offer an elegant solution as a catch for a cabinet door or box lid. Small magnets can offer considerable holding power for their size, but they need to be neatly fitted.


1. Locate the desired position for your magnet on the cabinet or box base and tap in a small brad. I use brass brads as they are soft and comparatively easy to cut.


2. Snip off the head of the brad, leaving a couple of millimetres protruding. Close the door or box lid onto the brad head. Remove the brad and you will now have two indents that are perfectly lined up.


3. Drill the hole to accept the magnet with the correctly sized drill bit. It’s a good idea to do a few trial runs on scrap to establish the correct depth of the holes. A drill press is best to use if you have one.


4. A drop or two of superglue works well, or use any adhesive that bonds wood to metal.


5. Tap in the magnet setting it flush with the surface.

Be careful that the magnets are facing the correct way in relation to each other. If you get them the wrong way around the magnets will repel instead of attract.

Raf Nathan is a wood designer maker based in Queensland.

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