Stewart-MacDonaldEverything for building and repairing stringed instruments!
Your order cart Your order | Account | Saved list
Sign in
Email
800-848-2273, 9AM-6PM EST, M-F
Home Free catalog Quick order International Customer service

Home : Trade Secrets Archive : Issue 60, Why Dan Erlewine is attracted to repair magnets
Trade Secrets NEWSLETTER
Email a friend









 Processing...







Dan Erlewine Why I'm attracted to repair magnets

I started using magnets for some unusual guitar repairs. Pretty soon they became everyday repair tools. This morning I noticed that they’re everywhere in my shop — I’m hooked!
Look at some of the problems they solve:


Dan Erlewine signature Dan Erlewine, May 1, 2008
Doing the impossible: SANDING



Stikit Gold Sandpaper
Stikit Gold 80-grit Sandpaper
Repair magnet for sanding

Sanding with a repair magnet
Sanding impossible spots
On this cutaway guitar, see how a 1" repair magnet on the outside controls a piece of sandpaper on the inside. The inside magnet is faced with 80-grit self-adhesive sandpaper, and it follows wherever you move the outer magnet. This setup powders away glue residue beside braces and anyplace you find it hard to reach with your hand. The outside magnet is padded with a scrap of smooth leather, so you can slide it back and forth while the inside magnet does the work.

Can you reach this far inside a guitar to spot-sand any other way?
Doing the impossible: CLEANUP
Repair magnet for glue cleanup
Cleaning impossible spots
Instead of sanding, bundle the inside magnet in damp cloth to clean up Titebond glue squeeze-out when you glue braces.

Guitar Repair Magnet
Guitar Repair Magnet
Doing the impossible: CLAMPING
Magnets as clamps

Adding extra magnet strength
Clamping impossible spots
Magnets embedded in wood or plastic cauls become clamps that pull together even though they’re not attached. Use an inside/outside pair to put the squeeze on a crack where no clamp could reach. Or as a third hand to hold a bridge caul in place while you set up your soundhole clamps.

Power tip: Two magnets stacked together increases their clamping strength a bunch, and stacking up three or four makes them even stronger. A chunk of steel or iron stuck to them (like the thread cutting die shown here) makes the stack even stronger. Try different combinations to see how much clamping pressure you need. The stack you see here packs a wallop — three magnets on one side, plus the steel die, and another magnet on the other side with a chunk of steel stuck on. That may be more magnetism than you want to tangle with!

Soundhole Clamps
Soundhole Clamps
Video link: Mini Cam Clamps
Video headline: Mini Cam Clamps

Check out this video on stewmac.com
Dan Erlewine demonstrates the Mini Cam Clamp — his lighter, skinnier version of the traditional cam clamp. See how less bulk means more clamps will fit in tight spots like this one.

Magnets around the shop:
Repair magnet holding nut files
My repair vise is the target for a lot of magnets. How about this: nut-slotting files right where I need them. I’m working on a Gretsch White Falcon, moving from one gauged file to the next without even turning away from the work.

Nut Slotting Files
Nut Slotting Files
Repair magnet holding screwdrivers
On the base of the vise, I have one magnet to hold the guitar tech screwdriver set with all its bits in one handy spot.
Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set
Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set
Repair magnet for stain mixing
For finish touchups with stains, magnets hold my “artist’s palette” (a plastic lid from the kitchen). I hold mixing cups of lacquer thinner by dropping a small magnet in them.
Repair magnet on a drill press
Q: Can you find the tools in these pictures?
A: Yes. It's always easy to find these tools. My drill chuck key never gets lost because I hang it on a magnet, and my hack saw has a magnet screwed to its handle. (Those holes in the magnets are handy.)
Repair magnet on a hack saw
Repair magnet remover
One last tip: You’ll like this when you try to pull these super-strong magnets apart. I made a wooden handle with a short brass peg in it. The brass won't stick to a magnet, but it will hook the magnet’s center hole allowing you to pull it sideways off its mate.
Pickup magnetizing rig
Wait! I’ve got one more!
I epoxied these two magnets to the jaws of a nut and saddle vise. This rig will charge the polepieces in a just-wound pickup — or change the pickup's polarity depending upon which way you run it between the magnets.
Nut and Saddle Vise
Nut and Saddle Vise

Dan Erlewine signature

Problem-solving products mentioned above:
Photo: Guitar Repair Vise Photo: Guitar Repair Magnets Photo: Stikit Gold Paper Self-adhesive Abrasives
Guitar Repair Vise
The luthier's favorite vise is even easier to use, thanks to custom modifications: bearing-smooth operation, fast crank handwheel, and urethane/hardwood swivel jaws.
Guitar Repair Magnets
These seriously strong magnets make inventive repair techniques possible.
Stikit Gold Paper Self-adhesive Abrasives
3M's superior abrasive papers are sized for our radius-sanding blocks and fret/fingerboard levelers.
Buy Now
Buy Now
Buy Now
Photo: Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set Photo: ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains Photo: Nut and Saddle Vise
Guitar Tech Screwdriver Set
Our versatile 19-in-1 set especially for fretted instrument hardware. A Stewart-MacDonald exclusive.
ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains
The simplest and most flexible of all of our staining products. They can be added to virtually anything.
Nut and Saddle Vise
A better way to hold nuts and saddles for easier, faster shaping
Buy Now
Buy Now
Buy Now

Toll-free order line:   800-848-2273   9am-6pm Eastern Time, M-F



Your order | Your account | Trade Secrets E-mail Newsletter
Home | Free catalog | Catalog Quick Order | International | Customer service
Our guarantee | Shipping | Security & Privacy | Contact us
Site map | About Us | Employment
© Copyright 2014 Stewart-MacDonald
Your shopping is secure with VeriSign! Trusted Commerce