Magnetizing a screwdriver

I wanted to magnify my screwdriver so it would hold on to a small screw, but for the life of me, after rubbing the tip in every conceivable direction on the circular magnet I was using it wouldn’t take. The magnet is new to me, I’ve never tried using it for this purpose, but is about the diameter of a 50 cent piece, but thicker, with a hole in the center and fairly powerful. More powerful than other magnetics I’ve used for this purpose. But no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to take. The tip of the screwdriver never became magnified enough to hold the screw. I’ve been able to do this before without much problem, with weaker magnets, so I found the whole experience very frustrating.

What’s going on? Something about the magnet? Something about the screwdriver? Is there a systematic way to determine which direction you should rub the tip of the screwdriver on the magnet? Maybe I was magnetizing it, then erasing it by not knowing which direction to go. That’s the only thing I can think of.

Any ideas?

What was the screw made of? Would the magnet hold the screw?

Yes, the magnet would hold the screw ok. But that’s good question , a good example of lateral thinking. In this case though I don’t think the screw was the problem. I think it was my incompetence somehow, but just trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Does the magnet attract the screwdriver?

Pull the screwdriver shaft through the hole in the magnet.

I’ve always used those donut-shaped magnets from microwaves. Not high-tech at all, but pretty strong for an old-school magnet.

I slide the magnet along the shaft of the screwdriver…the actual motion much like sharpening a knife. I’ve never had an issue.

Perhaps the alloy of steel in that particular screwdriver resists easy magnetization? Try using a different screwdriver and see if it works any better.

My guess is that you have a screwdriver made of an alloy that won’t magnetize strongly.

Sometimes I want just the opposite and find a magnetized screwdriver a nuisance. In that case, put the screwdriver tip in the loop of a soldering gun tip. Turn the soldering gun on and slowly pull the screwdriver out while the gun is on. The alternating magnetic field generated by the ac current going through that loop will erase any residual magnetism.

I wanted to magnify my screwdriver…

Well then fer chrissakes getchurself the right tool! You need a magnifying glass, not a magnet!

The tip of the screwdriver never became magnified enough to hold the screw.

It don’t work thattaway George! Magnetize–magnify–figger out whatchur after!

I’ve been able to do this before without much problem

Yeah but I doubt it!
Sorry, couldn’t resist. Carry on.

I was gonna let that go…

Auto-owner, we consider this a family friendly forum and try to be cordial and use words that we’d use with out daughters. Please, if you’re going to hang out here, respect that. We all misuse words on occasion. I’ll bet even you do.

I was going to let it slide too, but the bottom of my screen lit up with an ad for LIGHTED MAGNIFIERS in huge blue print. It says they can beat any price. I didn’t click on it for fear I’d soon be seeing ads for all kinds of visual aids.

Its late, I knew something was wrong but just couldn’t put my finger on it. I don’t have a clue but I have taped one of those cow magnets on the screwdriver before and that seems to work. A cow magnet is about a three inch long cylindrical magnet that they feed to cows to collect metal that may get into their stomachs. I bought a couple to wrap on my fuel line to improve mileage-didn’t work but they are the best magnets I’ve ever seen. I keep one in my tool box all the time. Ya get them at the farm store.

The other thing I use is just that clay type putty used for sealing holes in the siding for air conditioning lines etc. Put a glob on the screw and driver. Just used some tonight. It comes right off again.

I magnetize my screwdrivers permanently by wrapping 16 gauge wire completely around the shaft of the screwdriver. Then…touch the ends briefly to a DC power source (usually a 12vdc car battery) or riding mower battery. The screwdriver will then become magnetized. I’ve used this technique for over 40 years with great result. I always have the batteries removed from the vehicles before doing this. The key is just to tap “briefly” to prevent damaging the battery.

What’s wrong with using the word "magnify " to mean make magnetic.
It’s a George Carlin ( ism). Perfectly acceptable in our “Cartalk” way of speaking.

spelling and sentence structure are not indicative of a poster s intelligence anyway. I have a close tie too a dyslexic person, and he is brilliant. he may not enjoy reading great literature, but is way above me in other areas.

I m pretty sure if he had grown up reading Chinese symbols and right to left, even bottom to top, he would have excelled in that type of writing

It really ought to called “gaussing” since the coils that de-magnetize the shadow mask of a color TV CRT when you turn the TV on are called “de-gaussing coils”.

My dad taught me 50 years ago to magnetize a screwdriver the way @missileman explained. Just get about 8 or ten wraps around the shank.

I also keep an old candle for dribbling a little wax on a screw or nut to hold them to the tool. Works pretty good. Drip a drop of wax on the screw head then warm the screwdriver blade a little and hold them together for a couple of seconds.


I have found popping a rare earth magnet on the screwdriver works great, they are small, convenient and strong. about as big as a giant asparin. NEODYMIUM MAGNETIC DISCS 5-LB

I’m with dag on this one.
I might even use the word myself should the opportunity present itself. As far as I can tell, it complies with all the rules of English I ‘member learnin’.

I prefer the first one