Sunday, November 27, 2016

How to Make a Magnet Separator

Magnets are fun to play with and they can be very useful in the workshop. 
Whether it be for woodworking or hobbies there is a near-endless use for them.     
Do you use magnets for your projects? Do you use them for your tools?

In the past I have used  magnets for many tools, jigs and other projects, they are a simple way to assist in basing objects to metal surfaces.  Some of the projects  I have made are the magic knife holder and vacuum hose holder . I will be making more projects with magnets so this will be a good time to make this jig.            

Handling Magnets

Here is an example of some of my magnets that are stuck together. They can be taken apart in groups but individually it is more difficult. 

Special care must be taken when handling magnets. The force exerted by rare earth magnets are strong and can be hazardous. When two magnets unite with great impact they can chip or break. And, they are strong enough to pinch your fingers. 

Sometimes I have magnets flying around my workbench, this may be fun to watch but when it is time to separate them the only way is to slide them apart. 

The Separator

This jig very basic and simple to make, also it can be made with minimal woodworking tools and  skills.

You could get by with a handsaw and a drill, but since I have the tools I will use them. 

The body 7 1/4"x 3 1/2"  is marked on a piece of 3/4" Baltic Birch but any plywood will work. I used my homemade marking tools and came up with this design. You can do the same with just a pencil and ruler. 

I will use my tablesaw sled to cut the feet. The sled cuts the pieces straight and the exact length. Walnut is used, this will make a nice contrast with the Birch and make the jig unique. 

The walnut feet are; 3 1/2"x 1/2" x1 1/2"

The notches are cut for the feet and the walnut piece is tested for fit. After I am happy with the fit I can cut the V and the angle at the end. 

The two feet are glued in and I used my  new vise to clamp the pieces together and set it aside.

The handle 
For the handle I will be using walnut as well. I have a bunch of hardwood flooring planks and find these very useful for my builds.

The handle will be tapered and I wanted a very straight cut, this helps thing look nicer. 

Pro Tip: Instead of pulling out my taper jig or rigging up something fancy  I used a screw and put it in one side of the board. When you have the right angle you can fine adjust the screw to however you like. This worked out nice. 

Some people said this seemed dangerous but I don't seem why? If it seems to dangerous to you please don't do it.

I used a compass and marked the corners then  took it over to my new belt sander and sanded them round.

A centre hole is drilled in the handle for a bolt. A drill press works best for this since it makes a perfect straight hole.


Measure and mark similar to the photo where you want to position the handle and clamp together. I tried a few different positions in the area and they all worked out.  Now the handle can be used as a guide and the hole can be drilled through the body.


The handle is attached using a lock nut and bolt. The lock nut or elastic stop nut is a nut that resists loosening under torque, it will provide a firm action for the lever. It is easy enough to adjust anytime to whatever tension you like. 

Ready To Use
Place the magnets in the V and lower the handle and slide off one of the magnets. Always hold the magnets firm or they will jump back. The feet will be helpful when the magnet falls. 


This tool sure makes life easy when working with strong magnets. I have always fiddled around trying to separate them. Not anymore.

Magnets can be used for jigs, tools, tools and many other applications. The price of magnets are steadily declining and are more available. This will inspire new uses and innovations.  Now you can have more magnets in your shop and this magnet separator can help you.  

How do you separate your magnets? What have you made with magnets? 

See Also:

   Marble spring gun              Magic knife holder          Spline jig  


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Wooden Machine Vise

How to make a wooden vise? Clamps and vises are great for any shop and if you can make your own that is even better. Having many tools in your shop is a good thing. You never know when you need that extra vise and you can work on more than one project at a time.

I will show you how to make this wooden vise, actually it looks and works like a machine vise so I will call it a wooden machine vise.  

There is no shortage of different types of vises or how to make them online. I made this wooden vise   and it has over 900,000 views. I get many comments from people who say they want to build it.

This vise was one of the first ones that I made and I still use it regularly. It works great for clamping and gluing larger pieces.



To start with I will be using a piece of engineered flooring, it is multi cross layered plywood and 1/8" oak layer on top. This piece is cut 7 1/2" x 6"  and will make a solid base for the vise.