Magnetic Moments


Magnetic Mitten & Knife Rack

Magnetic knife racks are great. Much cleaner than the drop in racks and they are less likely to nick or dull a knife. The one we’ve used for 20 years down in the old farm house and for a decade in our previous house was screwed to the wall. Unfortunately there is no good spot to screw it on the wall in our tiny cottage‘s equally tiny kitchen. I finally decided the side of our free refrigerator was a good spot but I didn’t want to screw into the refrigerator panel.

Solution: Super Magnets to the rescue! I love magnets. Lots of fun to play with. Super magnets are even better. For part of our homeschooling I had bought some a few years ago from Force Field Magnets. We’ve had all sorts of fun with them. We’ve also pulled a few out of old computer hard drives – man-o, man-o are those things strong!


Super Magnet Holes

To install the super magnets in the back of the knife rack I drilled holls of the right size in the wood. I placed the magnets in the holes and flipped the bar over onto wax paper on the top of the fridge. This placed the magnets in the right pattern and spacing on a smooth level surface so they would all glue at the same height. I then put a dollop of silicon adhesive in each hole, placed the bar back down on the magnets and left it for a day to cure. By getting all the magnets in the same plane they give the greatest amount of holding power. Magnets with holes in the middle are ideal as they get adhesive in the hole making the hold better but even the plain disk magnets worked fine.

Something that I realized later is it would have been better to have put the magnets at the top of the beam of wood instead of in the center. This would have made them act as a lever creating more friction on the refrigerator wall.

In addition to the magnets in the knife rack we also put magnets in our oven mitts. Holly sewed one into either side of the cuffs so that one can toss the oven mitt from across the house and it neatly hangs up on the fridge. Cool or what!?!

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Another magnetic trick is I sewed small super magnets into the hem of our curtains. Now when we want the curtains up and out of the way we simply fold the bottom corner up to the side to allow or block as much light as we want. I had originally set it up with a string pull but that wore in time. The magnetic hem is a much better solution and one that even a small child* can easily operate.

Gradually we’re making progress on finishing off the interior of our tiny cottage. Little details that make home that much nicer.

Outdoors: 29°F/8°F Sunny, 1″ Snow in the morning
Farm House: 31°F/30°F
Tiny Cottage: 71°F/52°F First fire in 11 days

*Speaking of small children, don’t eat magnets. They can pinch off parts of the intestine causing necrosis and other nasty things. Remember: Properly used, everything is dangerous.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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10 Responses to Magnetic Moments

  1. Pablo says:

    So, real image of the outdoors through that window by the fridge, or doctored in?

  2. Thanks for helpful tip…but wouldn’t the magnet only be a problem if you swallow more than one? :) One could be helpful- avoids hardware disease (and you just never know what WAS in that casserole).

  3. Oh, Pablo, it’s real, it’s what I see looking out my window. But, yes, I photoshopped it in because the camera just doesn’t seem to be able to see what I see. Interestingly, if I remove the glass from the window then I can photograph the view more easily, although the contrast levels are still a bit extreme.

  4. Sarah,

    I’ve read that they give a magnets to cows to avoid hardware disease and wondered how that avoids the problem small children have had. If it is attracting the ferrous metal then it would have the same effect as two magnets, I would think.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

  5. Zambini says:

    Wonderful idea! I love using my refrigerator for organization. We never lose the kitchen timer when on the fridge.

    But, I’d never thought of knives or mitts. I’ve been wondering what I will make for gifts for Christmas this year, and you’ve given me the perfect idea. This year will be kitchen mitts which can store on the fridge!!

    So glad you happened upon my blog, so I could happen upon yours. You are full of ideas and insight. THANKS for sharing.

  6. BFW says:

    If only our larger kitchen had a convenient place for a magnetized knife holder…

    Some unsolicited ideas for future writing b/c I’m curious.

    1) the aforementioned parging of styrofoam to make it chicken proof
    2) how you train your dogs (we just got a dog, so this is now of interest)
    3) how you plan your herd size (limited by demand? manpower? acreage? food supply?)
    4) washing/drying clothes (you seem to optimize the rest of the cottage – how do these fit in?)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Neat Walter. I like all these little things you come up with for your tiny house. Some of them I can adapt to our much larger home. I envy you the low maintenance. No reroofng no painting no flooding basement. You have really thought things out

  8. I use premade magnetic tool holders in the shop. Great for screwdrivers and other sundry. I also keep a super magnet in my pocket – now all my change is magnetic. Easier than my previous plastic change holder. Have you ever thought of ducting the back end at the compressor to the outside of the house – to take advantage of the winter cold?

  9. About ducting the fridge compressor out the back of the house. Thing is I would lose the heat it is giving off. Right now I have that heat blowing into a cool corner of the house which helps provide circulation of air and our house gains about 3째F from the fridge during the winter.

    We do have an incoming air duct that does a great job of chilling things.

    In the long run I plan to build a spring box and use the water flow to cool peltier devices to plunge the freezer down. The warmed water will then go either to the water heater or excess out to the livestock. A project for another year.

  10. BFW, here are some short answers. I’ll add these to my list of post ideas for longer answers in the future:

    1) the aforementioned parging of styrofoam to make it chicken proof

    Basically rough the foam up (chickens may have already helped…), let it sit in the sun for a week, paint with neat cement, parge with a concrete plaster mix (sand, cement, water, fiber, no rubble), texture it.

    2) how you train your dogs (we just got a dog, so this is now of interest)

    In a nut shell, get their attention, do basic obedience training, establish communications, have them do chores with you, work with them every day, gradually add to their responsibilities. It’s a process and takes time. Use positive reinforcement a lot. Negative a little. Be the leader, the alpha. They want a dependable job they can do yet is still challenging. Just like any other worker. Some can achieve more than others.

    3) how you plan your herd size (limited by demand? manpower? acreage? food supply?)

    Multiple factors, some of which you mentioned.

    Acreage is not an issue as we have a fair bit of land, enough to do more pigs than we would ever want.

    Food supply is not an issue as we have lots of pasture and whey which makes up about 97% of what our pigs eat.

    Manpower and hours in a day is a limiting factor – we have other things we want to do and the chores time of maintenance can only occupy a certain percentage of the day or we start losing ground. One must always have time for research, invention and construction to continually improve things. That in turn makes the maintenance easier. There are also other things to do in a day besides play with the pigs.

    Comfort level is an issue – when we started we weren’t sure if we would feel comfortable with the big 800 lb and larger animals – we are now even with some who are almost twice that size. We weren’t sure how we would feel about being in among a herd of a lot of them. Breaking the total into multiple herds helps there. About 25 to 50 pigs is a manageable group, fewer as they get larger, more as they are smaller.

    Regulations is big issue for us. We simply do not want to grow too large. After you get to a certain size there are a lot more governmental regulations, paperwork and such. We don’t need to get that big to make enough money to be comfortable. We plan to always be a small family farm. We like it that way.

    4) washing/drying clothes (you seem to optimize the rest of the cottage – how do these fit in?)

    Currently we go to the laundry-mat to wash our cloths. We have a Thor cloths washer down in the old barn but can’t use it in the winter. It also has issues I need to repair. The electrical contacts in the timer mechanism have worn out and I need to take it apart and fix that. I replaced the pump a few years ago. There is a spot in the cottage for a washer if I decide to move it up here. You would be amazed at how much you can shoe-horn into a 2,457 cubic-ft space ship, er, I mean a 252 sq-ft cottage. :) Our drier is a very large and old one powered by solar and string called a cloths line… :)

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