Magnetized bench tools

I too have trouble with magnetized bench tools that pick up filings
or pieces of steel wool. I don’t know how they became magnetized
since I don’t remember putting them in contact with magnets.

What is a simple way to demagnetize them? I have tried the cheapie
demagnetizer from Harbor Freight but I can’t get it to work. Perhaps
I am using it improperly. Any suggestions?



I too have trouble with magnetized bench tools that pick up filings
or pieces of steel wool. I don't know how they became magnetized
since I don't remember putting them in contact with magnets. 

You tools are being magnetized by static charges from many things on
your bench. Things like bench light transformer, flex shaft tool,
radio if it’s close, ultrasonic if close, basically anything moving
or electric.

Demagnetizing tools usually work well but have to be used according
to instructions. I use a simple one from OSH that is two special
shaped magnets that charge a tool if rubbed one way and discharged
if placed in the center.

Good luck,


As I recall, the application of heat to a magnet will destroy the
magnetic property. Ergo, one should not solder magnetic clasps using
a torch. Another method is to deliberately stroke a magnet opposite
to the direction of polarity on the magnitized item.

I haven’t tried it, but perhaps a gentle heating of the metal pliers
might demagnitize them. It’s probably a trial and error thing. Do
remove any plastic grips first, though!

Judy in Kansas

Hi everyone ! In my day job I work for an engine reconditioning firm.
We often magnetise steel and iron parts to cracktest them, they are
magnetised with an electical charge through a coil of wire, then
demagnetised by passing through the same coil. I suggest you go to an
engineering shop doing that - Im sure they will do this for you when
they do the next job.

Philip Wells in New Zealand

I have been working on making some chasing tools, and one of my files
is apparently magnetized. The steel filings gather on the file, and
the tools (the magnetism is transferring slightly from the repeated
directional rubbing). Does anyone know a way to demagnetize the file
without rendering it useless?

Bryan Park

You can try giving it a sharp rap along the long axis of the tool,
if a needle file strike the end of the “handle” (the round bare metal
bit) a smart rap with a chasing hammer, don’t worry too much if the
file gets away from you.

The idea is to “upset” the orderly arrangement that results in
magnetism. One or two taps should do it.

The other option is to buy a “degaussing” tool, not too sure where
to go to get one though…

Cheers, Thomas Janstrom.
Little Gems.

Magnetized needle holders and forceps used to drive me nuts in
surgery. Yes, the stronger and hardenable stainless steels have
enough iron in them to be magnetic. I bought a very simple little
"demagnetizer" in an electronics shop for just a few dollars. It’s
nothing but an open core coil supplied with alternating current
(household electricity).

The trick is to turn on the demagnetizer and insert the instrument
into the hollow coil, holding it there for several seconds. Then
very slowly withdraw the instrument until it is a full arms length
away from the coil–then turn off (or unplug) the demagnetizer. If
the power to the coil is shut off while the instrument or tool is
inside, it will be more magnetized than before you started!

You may have to do this occasionally to some of your tools but this
sort of aggravating magnetism is very easy to control.

Dr. Mac

What you need is a degaussing coil, a TV repairman might be a good
try if you know one. They are often use to remove problems on old TV
screens (not LCD’s). if the shadow mask which is just behind the
screen front gets magnetized, the color around that point changes as
the electrons are deflected to the wrong place.

So all color TV’s have a degaussing coil built around the screen, to
remove unwanted magnetic fields picked up by the screen. They only
function when you turn the TV on, can erase the magnetic strips on
old credit cards. So you could leave the tools on the top of the TV
near the front and after a few turns on they might start to lose
their magnetism.

You need to get an alternating magnetic field, so that the field
keeps reversing direction. Place the tool next to the coil then
slowly move away from it so that the field that the tool see’s gets
weaker and weaker, this will leave the iron in tool with random
magnetic orientation. So it will be in effect non magnetic. Your
tools can be made magnetic just by knocking them which can cause the
little magnetic fields to slowly line up with each other.

The other option is to buy a "degaussing" tool, not too sure where
to go to get one though..... ' 

You can get a demagnetizer thru most watch material supply houses,
like Casker, in Cinncy, OH. I have been told it could also be used to
demagnetize the metal strip in US currency too- for whatever use that
might be.