Magnet gate closure?

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Forum topic by AKAndrew posted 05-10-2011 12:14 AM 6411 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 3662 days

05-10-2011 12:14 AM

Topic tags/keywords: fence post latch magnet question cedar

I am building a cedar fence. I’ve looked at many, many gate latches and they all seem cheap and ugly. So, what do you guys think about using a magnet. Hollow out the gate and post, stick in a 150Lb? pull magnet and cover it with a thin slice of cedar. I know what you thinking- the gate would have to be pretty close to the post, but I think a strong magnet could make up for distance. What do you think?

4 replies so far

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

419 posts in 3969 days

#1 posted 05-10-2011 01:45 AM

You could try it, but I suspect that any magnet strong enough to overcome the wind or a dog jumping into the gate will also require you to body slam into it when you want to open it.

A typical gate latch uses gravity or a spring to create a positive stop. In the closed position, it may be able to withstand 1000 pounds of force. Apply a few ounces of presure to release the latch and the gate swings freely.

One magnetic option that might be possible is a magswitch to hold the gate closed when you want it closed and will allow the gate to open with minimal force when desired. I think it would require metal to metal contact to be strong enough.

-- Steve

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 4412 days

#2 posted 05-11-2011 10:55 PM

How do you open the gate that is held closed by a powerful magnet?

They make these for interior things
Do they make an outside version? and how would you keep the wrong magnet from opening the lock?

View MrWoodworker's profile


65 posts in 3482 days

#3 posted 05-13-2011 05:42 PM

Unless you use an electromagnetic setup (switchable on and off) I don’t think it will be satisfactory. Let’s say you do find the right combination of holding power and open-ability, what happens to the equation when the post shift a bit and the magnets don’t line up right or they are suddenly trying to hold more weight than originally planned and the gate flops open constantly?

I think you’re asking for a pain in the neck. Gate latches aren’t ALL ugly are they? Seems like you could device a hidden latch of some sort.


View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3580 days

#4 posted 05-13-2011 05:52 PM

An extremely talented LJ just employed a magnetic latch in a hidden door. I’m lousy with the search feature but i’m sure someone can find it for you. His looked robust. I bought a simple gate closure device from Lowe’s to close my main cattlegate. It was $300 or so but you’ll need a welder. It works fine and doesn’t budge.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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