More Uses for Magnets in Woodturning
by Phil Colson
Last month's tip about magnet brought several emails I want to share with you. I'll get back to Al Stirt's sanding technique next month.
Paul told me how he uses rare earth magnets on his hollowing tools to mark the depth he wishes to cut. He says that the magnets are strong enough to hold and he doesn't have to continually measure to make sure he doesn't go to deep.
Cliff uses a magnet the proper size in the flute of his bowl gouge to keep hot shavings from hitting and bouncing off his hands when returning or turning dry wood.
Ray uses a magnet bar for tools, rare earth magnets for keeping allen wrenches on his scroll saw and bandsaw and his wife keeps that special one around his neck when she needs to locate him.
John says he uses quite a few magnets around the shop. His shop is in the basement of his home and he shares the space with a water heater and furnace. He uses magnets to hold drawings and sketches on the front of the furnace, so they are close at hand but out of the way. John also embeds three 1/2" rare earth magnets in his lathe bench. One holds the 3/4" wrench he uses to secure the tail stock and banjo. The second magnet holds the chuck key. He uses the third magnet to hold a 3/8" steel ball bearing that he uses with some of his Morse taper tools that do not have a self-ejecting feature. He puts the ball bearing into the Morse taper on his tail stock before he inserts the tool. When he retracts the quill the tool ejects nicely. He uses another magnet to retrieve the ball from the tail stock.
John also imbeds two more 1/2" rare earth magnets in the handle of his dust brush. This allows him to stick the brush to whatever machine he happens to be using. He imbeds magnets on his push stick and hangs it on his saw.
Thanks to Paul, Cliff, Ray and John for sharing the way you use magnets. If you have tips or ideas you would like to share, please email me at
Phil can be reached directly via email at
The Highland Woodturner