How to Remove Those Microwave Magnets

Hi All! 

Last time, we talked about the two extremely handy ceramic magnets in every microwave oven’s magnetron. This time I’d like to quickly run through the simple procedure for removing them. 

Mags are bolted to the wave guide with screws or bolts (usually 4). The one in the photo below is a little unusual, as it used 3 mounting bolts. Here’s the magnetron assembly pulled out of the old microwave oven, a Panasonic, I believe: 

(Click on a photo to see a bigger view)

A Magnetron assembly

The hardest part, getting it out of the oven, is done! Once you’re to this stage, put on a pair of work gloves and use wire cutters to pry the 4 retainers from the corners, then pull off the top plate: 

Taking a Magnetron Apart

Once all 4 tabs are bent back, the top plate will pull off. You may have to spread the sides a bit with two pairs of pliers to get it to clear. Don’t be shy, just yank on it; there’s nothing in the Mag that can hurt you – no radiation, no electrical charge, none of that. Just sharp edges of sheet metal to watch out for. 

With the top plate off, there’s often a big washer crimped on top of the upper magnet. Once that’s off, just grab the cooling fins and pull the mag “guts” out of the case, stretching the two wires right along out with it. Cut those off, and you’ll have the mag tube, magnets, and fins, in your hand. Here are the various pieces laid out: 

The Dissected Magnetron 

Pull each magnet out and scrap the rest. Be careful when the magnets get close together; they can pinch your fingers, and they break easily (the magnets, not the fingers!) 

That’s all there is to it! ‘Wish I could list all the things we use these magnets for around our place, but they have so many uses I wouldn’t know where to start. 

Just because it’s interesting, here’s what an actual Magnetron tube looks like without its cooling fins: 

A “Naked” Magnetron Tube

It’s simply a vacuum tube, like those used in old radios and TV’s, but in a thick metal case instead of a clear glass tube. If you hacksaw it open, you’ll find chambers inside, sized to produce waves of  around 2450 MHz (2.4GHz – the same as most WiFi, interestingly enough). 

PS – If you still have the microwave oven cabinet, ground it and it becomes a Faraday cage. Anything you put inside will be protected from EMP weapons and solar flares. I’ve had one for years, with a small shortwave radio, walkie-talkie, extra batteries, etc, inside. (One of my favorite sayings has become “hey, ya never know!”) 

Hope that’s helpful! 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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Before You Scrap a Microwave Oven… (Free Magnets!)

Hi Guys! Again I have to apologize for my long absence here! If this continues, I’ll have to change this blog’s name to something like “Things I learned LAST YEAR”, or something! (As Martin Luther used to say, “Busyness isn’t *of* the devil, it IS the devil”) 

I hope you’ll forgive me for taking so long between posts. ‘Need to do better at keeping up with this project. Someone told me once that “semi-retirement” would make life so relaxed and slower-paced. Um, uh-huh. 

Anyway, here’s another tip that came to mind recently, and even though it certainly isn’t new this week, it’s been a very handy one for us over the years. 

Every microwave oven’s magnetron – the copper vacuum tube that generates the actual microwaves that heat our food – has two big round ceramic magnets inside. They provide the magnetic field that rotates the waves, directing them in a set of tuned cavities, then out the tube’s antenna and down a wave guide and into the oven. That’s a simple country boy’s description of the process, anyway. 

I repaired a LOT of microwave ovens over the last 40 years or so, and whenever scrapping a magnetron, always saved its two magnets, and they are a super handy item to have around. 

A Few Microwave Magnetron Magnets

Around here we use them for all kinds of jobs, like quickly fastening tarps over machinery outside, hanging paperwork on steel bulletin boards and refrigerators, hanging up tools, magnetizing screwdrivers, and dozens more. 

So the next time you see a trashed microwave, or before you scrap one, open it up and grab the magnets from the mag.  I’ll talk more about specifically how to take them out in another post (and you’ll find YouTube videos, etc, on the subject) but they’re easy to remove, and the job is quick and safe to do. 

A couple things about handling them: although not as insanely powerful as neodymium magnets, they’re strong enough to painfully pinch a finger if you catch one between them. And because they’re ceramic, they’re very brittle, so dropping or hitting one with a hard object one will break or chip it. 

But I know you’ll find tons of uses for them just like we have, and you can’t beat the price of a pair of them! 

Hope that’s helpful! A very happy Mother’s Day to all you Moms! 

God bless you and yours, 
Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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What’s That Bump” in the Night? Just Your Toilet Paper Roll…

OK, so it’s probably just me, but I’m wondering if any of you are bugged by this:

The last few times we bought toilet tissue (the “squeezably soft” name brand stuff my Lovely prefers), I’ve noticed the cardboard cores inside each roll have become really, really thin. They arrive smashed, with many of them twisted and wrinkled beyond anything even close to “round”. While surely not the most pressing thing in modern life, this is one of those little irritations that just bugs a mechanical type like me.

When one of these rolls is installed in our library’s dispenser and you pull on the paper’s end, instead of spooling off smoothly like it’s supposed to, that crushed core makes it thump, jump, and bang all over the place. 

After putting up with it for a month or two, thinking maybe we just got one bad batch of this stuff, I’ve noticed that nearly every roll we buy has this problem (the rolls  aren’t as wide as they used to be, either, but that’s another subject). 

One of the offenders, with the fix beside it

Anyway, as with most of life’s little glitches, the fix is simple. Cut a 4″ piece of standard 1-1/2″ plastic sink tailpiece and insert it into the roll’s core. Quiets things right down and everyone sleeps better. 

(Just remember to save and re-use the plastic tube when changing the roll) 

Hope that’s helpful to the one other person on the planet that it bothers. 😉 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

John 14:6 KJV



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It’s Been a While!

Hi guys, 

I apologize – it’s been a LONG time since I posted anything here. We lost our yellow lab Gracie, my ever-present “sidekick” and 2nd love of my life, back in late March 2016, and it just took all the wind out of my sails for a while. 

We finally got another puppy back in October, nearly 6 months old already. She’s becoming a fine dog, but I’m only now coming back up to speed with things around here. 

RIP Gracie 10/10/07 – 3/28/16
(She packed a lot of love into that little dash!) 

Thanks for your patience. Talk to you again soon! Happy Valentine’s Day! 

God bless you and yours,  

Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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Rainwater Getting Inside Your Car? Have a Sunroof?

Here’s one I recently learned in the “school of hard knocks”: car sunroofs have rain gutters and downspouts! 

I’d never thought about how a sunroof handles rain until our older Toyota Camry suddenly started getting a wet spot on the driver’s side floor whenever it rained hard. We couldn’t figure out where the water was coming from until a local mechanic clued us in on the fact that sunroofs don’t have water-tight seals around them. 

Rainwater is allowed to just run in around its edges, gets collected by a trough system, then drains down through a small tube (“downspout”) and onto the ground under the car. 

Like a frost-free refrigerator’s drain, this system is driven by gravity, and just like in a refrigerator, it takes very little “gunk” to clog it up. In our Toyota, the small plastic tube exits the sunroof area from its left front corner and is routed down through the roof pillar and the body just ahead of the driver’s door. 

In our case, a bit of hot water and compressed air cleared out the the drain tube clog and solved the issue. 

You’ll want to look for that if you ever have water leaking into your sunroof-equipped car and can’t find the source. Live and learn! 

God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln


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Tired of Gas Can Spouts Designed by Bureaucrats Yet?

What have we allowed bureaucrats to do to our gas cans?! Don’t know if you’ve bought a new can lately, but if you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Evidently someone completely out of touch with the way things work out here in the real world felt a need to push some feel-good legislation on a slow day, so he or she decided gasoline and diesel fuel cans poured way too easily and had to be “modified”. Seems like the results are always the same when the government starts meddling with things (they cost more and no longer work). 

These new abominations take all day to trickle anything out of them, and half of what does trickle out gets spilled down your pant leg. (If I knew who thought up this obscenely dumb idea, I’d mail them a box full of these useless pieces of wasted tax dollars.) 

The worthless, spring-loaded design that comes with your new can will look something like this:


After fabricating my own nozzles, usually from copper tubing, I’m thrilled to report that I’ve finally found a solution to the problem, and the gasoline, premix, and diesel cans around our place actually *pour* now.

The fix is called the “Easy Pour” spout kit, and comes with an actual *vent*, a nice flex-spout, adapters to fit the two most common sizes of cans in use, and a couple other useful accessories. Here’s the one gallon can that the above worthless contraption rode home on, but that now actually pours: 



To install the vent, just drill a 1/2″ hole in the top of your can and snap it into the hole. Screw the new spout on, and that’s it; your can will work again. 

I’m really happy to have found this useful kit, and try to keep a couple of spares on hand here.  I’ve told lots of folks about them, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy to learn about them, too. 

They’re inexpensive and available on Ebay and Amazon (although who knows for how long! I’m stocking up!). This link will take you directly to the Ebay search results for them:
(I’ve shortened the LONG Ebay URL to make it easier to handle) 

Happy pouring, and God bless you and Yours,

Dave Harnish

John 14:6 KJV


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Make Your Own Notepads For Nearly $0!

Hi all, 

Here’s one I’ve been using for a few years now, but I’m only getting around to telling you about it now (hate to recommend anything I haven’t thoroughly tested 😉 ). 

We use a lot of note pads around here, both in the house and the shop/office (what ever happened to that “paperless office” we were all promised back when PC’s showed up?) and used to buy them, throwing away heaps of scrap paper at the same time. In one of those “duh!” moments, it finally dawned on me that all that “still blank on one side” paper should be put to use. 

Over the years I’ve cut full 8-1/2 x 11 sheets into quarters and stapled, clamped, and tried to glue them together into some sort of usable notepads. None of those worked out very well, but I eventually stumbled onto an inexpensive white goo called “padding compound” – and have never looked back! 

Not sure where I bought the small bottle of it I have – either Ebay or Amazon, I’d guess – but I’ve been using the same 2 oz bottle of it for at least 3 years now. The stuff seems to last forever.

Here are the search results for it (with the LONG links shortened): 

-on Ebay:

-and Amazon:

Anyway, I love this white-glue-like stuff, and I’ll bet you will, too. Just cut your scrap paper into quarters with your paper cutter and clamp a stack together. I use a pair of wood furring strips held together in shop vise or with a pair of C-clamps, but any way you can find to clamp a stack 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick with the sheets aligned on one end, will do. 

Clamp together with the aligned edge held horizontally, then use a cotton  swab to dab the compound onto the clamped edge. Wait 30 minutes or so, and apply a second coat. I normally just leave a pair of pads in the vise or clamps overnight. 

Once the compound has dried – and it dries pretty fast – you end up with a 4-1/4″ by 5-1/2″ notepad with sheets that tear off like those sold in stores. 

Wish I could remember who clued me in on this stuff. Sure is nice to have a use for all the paper that would otherwise get scrapped, and it saves money, too. 

Hope that little tip’s helpful. 

God bless you and yours, 

Dave Harnish

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln


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The Trouble With Galvanized Water Pipe

Welcome! I’m finally back among the living again, those rumors of my death having been greatly exaggerated. 😉 

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the problem we recently had with the hot water just trickling into our clothes washer. The cold flow was fine, which is just the opposite of what you normally see with washer fill issues, so it got my attention.

Taking a look at the washer water supply lines, the only part of the cobbled-together hot line that wasn’t either copper or PVC was a single ancient galvanized 1/2″ pipe coupler, so I started there.

Turns out, that was the place to start. The hole in the center of the coupler was rusted nearly closed, with only about 1/8 inch left to pass hot water!

We’ve lived in this old farmhouse for nearly 40 years, and that fitting was in place for at least that long, so it does take a while for one to rust closed. Thought I’d give you a “heads-up” on the possibility, though, just in case you run into something similar. It’s just another one of those things that make you say “hmmm”. 

Hope that’s helpful.

God bless you and yours,
Dave Harnish

John 14:6

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A Quick Sheetrock Finishing Tip

Wish I’d thought of this one years ago! 

We have a crew of pros hanging some new sheetrock here at the old farm house, and something one of the guys did the other day caused me to have an “AHA” moment (along with a “duh – why have I never thought of that?”) 

I’ve always struggled with taping and spackling those doggoned corners, even with a good corner trowel, but this simple trick makes it much easier. Just tape the horizontal “crown” corners where the walls meet the ceiling, and let them dry overnight. THEN come back and tape the vertical corners the next day, and the job will be way easier, with a lot less fuss and wasted time.

Live and learn… 

God bless you, 
Dave Harnish
Acts 4:12


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LED Ring Lights – Cheap, Excellent Lighting for a Mill or Drill Press

I recently discovered automotive 12 volt DC LED ring lights, and not only are they really inexpensive, they solve the lighting issues these old eyes were having when using one of the milling machines or the drill press.

He may not have been the first to come up with this, but I first saw these lights used on ChrisB257’s YouTube channel, so a big thanks goes out to him for sharing the idea.

About $12 bought 4 of them on Ebay, shipped from China in about 10 days, and they do a great job when mounted to a machine’s  spindle. I attached the first one to the Grizzly G0759 (G0704) mill temporarily with 4 neodymium magnets to test it. Wow! Definitely worth adding to the other machines, too, although I’ll stick them on with double-sided 3M foam tape to make sure they don’t slide around.


An old cell phone style power “brick” currently supplies 12 volts to this 80mm OD ring of 24 LEDS, through a small rocker switch mounted to the side of the mill’s control box. With lighting coming from all around the spindle there are very few shadows, and I couldn’t be happier with this setup.


Turns out, the 80 mm size fits perfectly on my old Sears drill press spindle, too. Will be ordering smaller ones to fit the tiny Derbyshire mill. They make these rings in quite a few different diameters.

As an aside, to run multiple sets of these in your shop, just scrounge an old PC power supply and run lamp cord or speaker wire from it to each machine. That’s what I  was planning to do before I found this 12V power brick in my bin-full of them (“Yes dear, I save those, because they really come in handy”). The LED’s don’t draw much current and the little brick would probably run all 3 of them, but there’s so much wattage available using the PC supply, you don’t have to worry about that. And I have a feeling these handy little lights will be “multiplying” around the shop, anyway.

It’s actually pretty easy to “load” a PC supply to switch it on. I use an old GE #53 incandescent bulb to load this one and it works great. To learn how to re-purpose a PC supply, just search for articles on the subject; you’ll find lots of them. Here’s one that was useful (although it was way more complex than I needed):

Hope that’s helpful.

God bless you and yours,

Dave Harnish

No Jesus, No Peace.
Know Jesus, Know Peace.

John 3:3

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