Magnets in the woodworking shop have become commonplace for me and it probably all started when I purchased my first pair of magswitches. I remember it vividly. It was at a wood show many years ago and they were brand new on the market at the time. The vendor was showing them off and how they worked, but most people had little interest as they saw little or no real use for them.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/kzMbqO9OYB4
When I first looked at magswitches at the show, I was intrigued ... but gave them a pass. By the end of the day, I had in my mind 2 or 3 great ways of using them and I knew there would be more ... so back I went and purchased them ...
Magswitches, for those not familiar with them, are a series of different sized magnets that are activated (switched on and off) by turning a dial or lever on the side to the top of each magnet. When the magnet is turned on, it is actually lowered inside the magswitch housing, to a point where it engages with a steel deck or top that it is sitting on. This "locking" is what holds the magnet firmly in place.
Many of the magswitches are designed to be used with 3/4" material, like plywood, so that all you have to do is drill a hole in 3/4" plywood that is suitable for the magswitch to drop into, and how you have a bast to work from in making your jig or accessory. See best practices for drilling later on in this article.
Here is the list of Magswitch Jigs and Accessories I have made ...
Thin Strip Ripping Jig
This jig is designed to cut thin strips on the table saw
Drill Press Adjustable Table / Fence
This fence works well for drilling into end grain wood without having the drill bit "wander", note" bit must be sharp, or use a brad point bit
Drill Press Adjustable Vertical Drilling Fence
Easily my most used jig, all sorts of drilling on the drill press, and with the low fence it prevents the wood from spinning as the drill bit enters the wood. Note clamping for metals or very large holes is still recommended.
Bandsaw Pivoting Fence
This fence is great for those times when you need to rip some wood and your bandsaw blade is not in the best shape and it is not tracking true. Bandsaw blade "drift" is common and is caused by a bandsaw blade that is dull or damaged on one or both edges of the blade, causing it to cut at an angle. Chainsaw not sharpened properly will do the same thing, "drift" as they cut through the log.
Pattern or "L" Fence for Table saw
This jig is designed to cut wood using the alternate fence on the jig. By elevating the jig deck above the table saw blade and setting the height to cover cut the wood and not the fence, using another piece of wood on top of what you want to cut will allow you to cut wood, straight, but at any angle, you want to depend on how you align your bottom piece to be cut. Perfect for pattern cutting or trimming live edge off of boards.
Rolling Wheel Featherboard
Made from old In-Line wheels, works the same way as any other featherboard
Bench Plane Straight Edge Jig
For square off edge grain on the wood, works amazingly well
Not all jigs that can be made from wood are ideas, and the best example of that is featherboards. The problem with featherboards is that they are enormously tedious to make and they need to be made precisely from straight-grained wood, cut at an angle so that they will flex without breaking, and that the fins are exactly the correct thickness so that they have a bit of flex. Most of us will have a look long and hard for the perfect piece of wood, first of all, then cut it precisely.
The best featherboards are made from plastic. They flex the right amount, the fins don't break unless you really force them and they are easy to set up and always work.
The Magswitch versions, both horizontal and vertical are an ideal pair for most shops. They are both fully adjustable and easy to use on most saws.
Cutting Holes for Magswitch 95 and Magswitch 150
Drill bits are sometimes sold along with Magswitch products. In some cases, they include a hole size that captures the entire barrel of the magswitch in one hole, but in many cases a full hole and another partial hole beside works best for securing the magswith in place without making it easy to put in and take out, so that switching jig functions is quick and easy.
For Magswitch 95, use a 1" Fostner bit then off-set the second hole by slightly more than 1/4"+ (5/16 should work)
For Magswitch 150, use a 1-3/8" Fostner bit then off-set the second hole by slightly more than 3/8"+ (7/16 should work)
Reducing Slippage on Magswitch 95 and 150
If you are finding some slippage for your application, you can increase the friction of the magswitch by installing a tiny bit of any-slip material to the bottom for the magnet. Place the material in the center ring only. The best material I have found is this rug tape by Nance. It measures about 1/32 thick so it has little or no effect on the "lifting effect" of the magnet. This material is easily cut with scissors. You can purchase it at many better quality carpet stores.
See video for details, on how much more holding power using this anti-skid material is.
As mentioned in the video, I also have an affiliation arrangement with Magtools US (similar to the Amazon and T-Shirts affiliations)
To get your 10% discount you MUST use the code COLIN_KNECHT
The Click here for the Magtool Website
** Note: If you are shopping from outside the USA, please check out the "Shipping FAQ"
Click here to go Direct to the (this is the one Colin often recommends) Magswitch 150
Click here to go Direct to the Magswitch 95
Click here to go Direct to the Universal Horizontal Featherboard
Click here to go Direct to the Magswitch Vertical Featherboard
"Thank you in advance for your support for those who do make a purchase ... Colin"
Copyright Colin Knecht