Scavenger Hunt: Magnets and More

by Ben N on December 4, 2012


Yesterday, I had a chance to run some errands, including picking up some components for my fiberglass over foam tonneau cover. The first stop was swinging over to visit Tom, to get some hard-drive magnets. I stopped by the computer recyclery and got a fist-full of the finger pinchers. Thankfully, most of them were still in pairs, magnetically sticking towards each other. It’s the “open-faced” ones you really have to watch out for. They present a SIGNIFICANT amount of finger-pinching power.

After that, I headed to a boat supply store. My Dad had a bit of left-over fiberglass and resin from when he was working on his cedar-strip canoe, that he donated to my project. It was still in the bag from the store, which had the name and address on the side, so I thought I would check it out. Boy, what fun it was to visit the boat store! This was a DIY’ers dream. The whole place was dedicated to boat parts and repairs, NOT sales. It had aisles and aisles of EVERYTHING, including fiberglass and resin to 4/0 battery power cables! I looked through their selection of fiberglass, and ended up buying a discounted roll of 6″ wide extra-thick fiberglass chopped mat.

Next was a visit to Centaur Forge. I had heard of the place and had wanted to visit. They are a supplier to smiths and farriers (horse-shoers). Inside were plenty of hammers and tongs, anvils, books, forges, and more. Wyle E.Coyote would love this place. The folks there were super-nice and helpful. I purchased a 50# bag of coal (much cheaper to buy in person WITHOUT paying for shipping!) and a pair of tongs. I already have several ¬†hammers that should be fine for starter blacksmithing, and I’m working on lining up loans of a forge and anvil.


I also swung by the big-box home improvement store to get some fancy glue. They also had a 5″ random orbital sander on sale for $14. It has a built-in dust port, which I can rig up to my shop-vac. Using that with the sandpaper with the holes in it, I should be able to do some decent sanding while controlling that awful white poly foam dust!

Once home, I started disassembling the magnets. You’d think it would be easy with a small pry-bar, but all of mine are magnetic! I ended up using my plastic bicycle “tire-irons” to pry the magnets apart.

After than I traced a magnet on a hunk of test foam, and routed out the shape with my Dremel Trio router. I put a dab of Gorilla Glue in there, and popped the magnet in place. After curing, I fiberglassed over it. Once that’s all dried, I should have a test piece of foam that will just stick right to my truck.

I can’t wait to see the looks from people when I driving around with a big hunk of foam sitting on my room at highway speeds, that just looks like it’s only set there!

Once my test proves to me that the magnetic system will work fine for holding the foam down (and not just rip out of the foam, either) I’ll be able to route out the underside of the foam and embed the eight magnets (two for each of the four sides) and start having a functional cover.

I’m planning on taking it over to my parents house to use the heated workspace there for the actual fiberglassing, but needed someway to get the cover there in the first place! Once the magnets are in, I can slap it on my truck and drive over there!



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