My new piece of furniture has lost its magnetic personality.
November 15, 2009 6:15 PM   Subscribe

The magnetic closure on my new piece of furniture does not work properly. It is a simple problem, but I can't figure out a solution. Please help me fix it!

I just got a great deal on a piece of scratch & dent furniture, with a broken door closure. The door is held closed by a pair of magnets on each end. The magnets are embedded into the wood, and are supposed to be flush with the surface like the head of a screw. Unfortunately, the magnets in this case are recessed into the surface, so they do not make contact when the door is closed. They are held in with glue. This is not one of those spring-loaded catches common on glass-doored entertainment centers.

My initial thought was to get the magnets out , fill in some sort of epoxy behind them to make them flush again, and then glue them back in. However, I can't figure out how to get these things out without carving around them, thereby causing a ton of damage to the surrounding wood.

How can I fix this? Best answers will cause as little damage to the furniture as possible.
posted by AtomicBee to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
can you glue other like-size magnets on top of the recessed ones?
posted by bunny hugger at 6:17 PM on November 15, 2009

Response by poster: Wouldn't any additional magnets have to be the exact same size as the empty space?
posted by AtomicBee at 6:55 PM on November 15, 2009

bunny hugger's right, but don't even bother with additional magnets, add small metal plates on top of the magnets that will still to the existing magnets (and will thus attract the door closure).
posted by suedehead at 7:00 PM on November 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Go to a hobby shop and find the small sets of weights they use for the Boy Scouts' Pinewood Derby. Also, get some decent epoxy. I expect you'll find something that's nearly the same size as your magnets. See to it that they're magnet friendly. Add weights.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:03 PM on November 15, 2009

When I was doing a little craft project that involved obtaining some small circular magnets, I got some good stuff from K&J Magnetics.

Maybe they have something in a size that would be suitable for your purposes (a la bunny hugger's idea)?
posted by HopperFan at 7:10 PM on November 15, 2009

Maybe you could find a couple of small washers that will fit into the hole and conduct the magnetic charge. Find the right thickness and and glue them over the existing magnets.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:17 PM on November 15, 2009

Or else,...

Drill them out. Magnets are pretty soft and you could just drill a hole through the center the size of a screw (the minus the threads). Twist in the screw in and use a claw hammer on the head of the screw to yank the magnet out (use a piece of scrap to avoid denting your furniture with the claw hammer).
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:23 PM on November 15, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, you don't need to add magnets, just metal. Specifically, iron or steel, because that will be attracted to the magnet, and will in turn attract the door. Maybe visit a hardware store and buy a few steel flat washers of the right diameter, and glue them in.

Don't bother with any other kind of metal — aluminum, brass, copper, zinc, lead, tungsten — as that will be the same as what you have now, with air filling the gap.
posted by exphysicist345 at 8:26 PM on November 15, 2009

Response by poster: Alright, I'm going to the hardware store tomorrow. Do they even make iron or steel washers? I would assume everything would be aluminum or zinc.
posted by AtomicBee at 8:50 PM on November 15, 2009

Yes. Steel washers are common. Aluminum are not. The only one I've ever seen is the crush washer that goes on the oil drain bolt on my motorcycle.
posted by mollymayhem at 9:32 PM on November 15, 2009

What about gluing a small bit of steel wool or small flat steel buttons.
posted by Taurid at 10:11 PM on November 15, 2009

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