Introduction: Locating Rare Earth Magnets

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Rare Earth magnets are often used in furniture building as a way to keep a drawer, door, or lid closed. The Instructable that follows will show 3 different methods for locating these magnets in your project.

Step 1: Tools and Materials


  • Drill with Forstner bit of appropriate size
  • Dowel Center Finders (Optional)
  • Needle Nose Pliers (Optional)
  • Square (Optional)
  • Small drill bit (Optional)


Step 2: First Method - Combination Square

Probably the most common way to locate the holes for Rare Earth magnets is to set up a combination square and locate center on each surface. Where this is certainly an accurate way, there are some faster and actually more accurate ways to do the job.

Step 3: Second Method - Dowel Center Finders

The second method starts with using an appropriate sized forstner bit for the magnet and drilling the first hole. The only requirements for this hole is that it only goes as deep as your magnet is thick and it's located approximately where you want it.

From there, simply insert the Dowel Center into the hole and close the mating surface. This will leave a small indentation in the mating surface showing you exactly where to drill the hole for the corresponding magnet.

Step 4: Third Method - Small Nail

Just as in the last step, this step starts with the appropriate sized hole with a forester bit. From there, using a small drill bit, deepen the center point hole just slightly with a small drill bit. The size of the bit should be determined by the size of the nail you wish to use. Be sure to not drill all the way through your piece.

Cut the nail off to make slightly longer than the depth of the magnet hole. Using small pliers, insert the nail in the hole you just drilled and press against the mating surface to locate for the next magnet location.

Step 5: A Word About Magnets and Installing Them

Rare Earth magnets come in many different sizes. The size of the magnet you choose for your project will determine the size of the forstner bit that you'll use.

It's important to ensure that when you epoxy the magnets into their locations that you get the right side facing out. Failure to pay attention to this step would cause your mating magnets to repel each other rather than attract.

I accomplish this step by leaving two magnets stuck together and then roughing up the opposite surfaces with sandpaper. This not only gives a better surface to adhere to the magnet but, also identifies the surface that goes down in the hole.

I use epoxy to install magnets mainly because it does a good job of bonding metal to wood. The down side to using epoxy is the extended cure time needed.

Step 6: Closing

There's no fancy pictures or words to close this Instructable. My only hope is that this helps others when doing this process.

Thanks for watching!

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