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rare earth magnets as cabinet door catch

actuary's picture

Does anyone have a rule of thumb on what size rare earth magnet to use in relation to the size of a cabinet door so the door stays shut but doesn't require effort to open it? Assume the magnet will be in a steel cup holder to maximize its holding power.

RalphBarker's picture

rare earth magnets (post #169426, reply #1 of 7)

I've only used small ones for cabinet latches. Even the small ones have significant holding power. If you need to reduce the "hold", try deepening the recess a hair.

actuary's picture

rare earth magnets (post #169426, reply #2 of 7)

Does small mean 1/2" or 3/8" or 1/4"? What's the appoximate size of the cabinet door?

RalphBarker's picture

"small" defined (post #169426, reply #7 of 7)

I've mostly used 1/4" ones for this, but large, heavy doors might require something larger.

bones's picture

use two up and down (post #169426, reply #3 of 7)

small is fine.  They have great holding power.  Do a mock up and test.  I use two.  One in the bottom or top of the door depending on application with a second in the oposing face.  Use a fortsnerbit to recess and I cover with a plug and they are not visible.  ONE WARNING:  use a sharpie pen to park the pos/neg sides so when you put them in you don't wind up with a ++/-- situation and the door won't close (don't ask how i know).  They work great and they are invisible.  I hate the metal plate ones I just think they look tacky.   Small ones are fine remember you just want the door to stay closed and not need a pry bar to open it.  

...For that old machine lovers:

Quickstep's picture

Good tip on marking the (post #169426, reply #5 of 7)

Good tip on marking the poles. Question -- Do they have to be perfectly aligned to grab?

wdwerker's picture

magnets (post #169426, reply #4 of 7)

K&J magnetics has  pull force calcuated for all the differnt magnets and how they are used.

I have applied thin veneer to cover the magnet and steel washer leaving no visible catch.  Get a 3/8 inch ball magnet and use it to find the nails in drywall as a stud finder, leaves no marks and doesn't need batteries.

Steve Duncan (cabinetmaker)

actuary's picture

rare earth magnets solution (post #169426, reply #6 of 7)

Thanks for all your comments. I used a single 1/2" magnet in a 5/8" steel cup going against a thin steel plate to close a cabinet door that's 21"x30" made out of fiberboard. The hold is just slightly more than I would have liked (although it's ok) so I may put a piece of double sided tape on the plate to reduce the hold strength.

Wouldn't it be useful for FWW to generate a little table showing magnet size, door size and type of wood (i.e., indicating its weight)? It would take away a lot of guesswork.