INNOVATION AGAIN – BUILDING A BETTER MAGNET BOARD

The idea I hinted at yesterday has to do with magnetic boards. It’s not
something I can make at home, but it’s a set of improvements I’d like
to see made.
To recap, the standard issue magnetic board is very useful and very inexpensive, but it has some shortcomings.


Boughten

Scavenged

LoRan
appears to be the leading (possibly only) seller of magnetic boards.
LoRan appears to have been bought by or is marketing through the Dritz
line of sewing and crafting notions. LoRan boards come in several
configurations. Some have easel backs, so they stand up on their own.
Some of the easel backed ones have small pencil-holding ledges along
their bottom edge. Sizes appear to be 6"x10", 8"x10", and 12"x18".
There are also supplemental accessories including separately packaged
easel stands, plain gray metal/plastic magnet bars, magnetic bars with
rulers printed on them, see-through magnifying magnet bars, and special
packaged bundles of the base model boards plus accessories. There are
also "after market" vendors that sell other types of place-marking
magnets/magnifiers for use with magnetic boards.

My problem with the LoRan line are:

1.
That it does a lousy job of protecting the charts while the work is in
progress. I didn’t realize exactly how lousy a job until I began using
my improvised solution. The largest LoRan size is bigger than I need
for 99.9% of my knitting charts. But the two smaller sizes are smaller
than standard US 8×11" paper (or the standard Euro A4 size of
210x297cm, for that matter). Charts put on the boards get bashed up –
even if both the board and the page are slipped into a page protector.
This damage is especially bad if the board/chart combo is stuffed into
knitting bags in between working sessions. My el cheapo scavenged
cookie pan’s raised rim did an excellent job of keeping my project
together and unrumpled, and keeping the magnets in place in between
uses.

2. The boards are flimsy and prone to bending and denting.
Once they are no longer flat magnets have a more difficult time
sticking. Again, my cookie sheet was thicker and (for non-cooking
purposes at least) resisted warping and denting better than the
commercial product.

3.
The magnets are wimpy, and can’t grab
through more than a page or two, or are easily displaced in between
working sessions. This one is a balancing act. There are incredibly
strong magnets out there, but they would be difficult to move while
working. Finding just the right amount of stick to stay put when needed
and still be easy to move when necessary is difficult. Even more so
when you remember that for most low adherence magnets, the magnetism
slowly dissipates over time. What worked last year might be less useful
this year. My cut up promotional fridge magnets did a fine job
through up to two sheets of paper, but I like to keep all the pages of
a pattern together when I’m working. I’d want something a bit
stronger, perhaps something that could stick through a plastic
protective cover, plus three sheets of paper, but not necessarily
something thicker. The thicker the
magnet, the more difficult it is to read Think thick rulers vs. thin
rulers. Thick rulers are visually offset from what they are
measuring, making taking accurate measurements more difficult.

What I want is something like this:

Wouldn’t it be nifty if
that transparent magnet-through plastic cover was a full-sheet magnifier page?

Now, how much more would I pay for something like this above and beyond
the flimsy market standard? Not sure. If the least expensive packaging of the LoRan 8×10
sells for about $5.00 US (more or less), I’d pay around $15
for something this elaborate, provided the quality of the piece was
commensurate with the price.

Remember – if you see this product for sale out there, you saw the idea here first. [grin]

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