Kinetic wooden face utilizing magnetic suspension

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Project by Strombergm posted 11-25-2013 10:45 PM 5429 views 20 times favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This magnetically suspended wooden face is an original sculpture I finished in November 2013.. As with all of my sculptures, I utilize magnetic suspension to keep the pieces afloat.
Magnetic suspension of independent forms that together form an complete object, is a kinetic art technique that I developed myself. I am unaware of anyone ever doing it before me. If you are interested in this piece, you should check it out in action first. It is truly memorizing. the magnetic face is a concept I began working on in 2008. This is my most recent. It is also the largest one to date, and the first I have ever made using a bent walnut frame.

The pictures show the stages of bringing the facial parts together. Once they are together, they don’t come apart——ever—unless you pull them apart, and they will fall back to rest.

Here is a link : “!/photo.php?v=670687216285053&set=vb.348110485209396&type=2&theater”

This magnetic face is made with mahogany, walnut, paduk and maple. The eyes, nose and mouth have embedded magnets that cause the features to float suspended in air. No part of the magnets are visible so this piece truly gives the impression of heavy wooden objects floating in air. and unless you really study it, you wont see where the magnets have been inserted.. and, even if you so study it. you still might not be able to find the seams.

There is a 1.5” magnetic gap between the eyes, and a 1.65” magnetic gap between the nose and mouth.

This face is rarely still. It twists bobbles and turns, with the slightest provocation (wind, earthquakes, your breath you, and my favorite- a nudge..).

The frame is made from bent walnut and is 24” high by 16” wide.

The eyes are made of mahogany with inlaid maple and paduk, to represent the iris and pupil respectively.

-- Mike

27 comments so far

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1478 days

#1 posted 11-25-2013 11:04 PM

Neat! The piece makes me feel tense….

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View Rick's profile


8287 posts in 2640 days

#2 posted 11-25-2013 11:13 PM

Very Nice Work Indeed! Thanks For Sharing!


-- Hope Everyone Is Doing Well! .... Best Regards: Rick

View natenaaron's profile


418 posts in 1404 days

#3 posted 11-26-2013 12:05 AM

This is neat.

These are fun to do. I used to do similar stuff with my 5th graders. Never thought about them as being art, just a fun way to explore magnets. You must have some pretty strong magnets.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

23956 posts in 1945 days

#4 posted 11-26-2013 01:18 AM

Incredibly cool

Welcome to LJs

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

17970 posts in 2713 days

#5 posted 11-26-2013 01:58 AM

Outta sight. I love it. REAL creativity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for sharing!!!!..............cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View juststeveb's profile


34 posts in 1288 days

#6 posted 11-26-2013 02:17 AM

Not to sound like I’m 25 yrs younger than I am…but that is “tight” man!

-- we stand behind our work but never under it...(love seeing the look in customers eyes when they hear it)

View Philip's profile


1276 posts in 2146 days

#7 posted 11-26-2013 02:23 AM

Very original, welcome to LJ’s!

-- I never finish anyth

View waho6o9's profile


7640 posts in 2184 days

#8 posted 11-26-2013 02:37 AM

Outstanding work Mike and welcome to Lumber Jocks!

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 2044 days

#9 posted 11-26-2013 02:45 AM

That is so cool! What type of magnets are you using?

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View TheJesus's profile


6 posts in 1250 days

#10 posted 11-26-2013 05:33 AM

There aren’t very many original thinkers in this world. Very nice.

-- Jesus loves all people. He will save you if you ask. Too many wait until the last minute. Don't you...

View Reverse_Pivot's profile


48 posts in 1427 days

#11 posted 11-26-2013 07:30 AM

Holy %@^!!! That is incredible! Not only a skilled build, but original! I don’t remember seeing anything else like it! I am absolutely blown away! What kind of magnets are you using?
I actually thought you said “check it out in AUCTION” at first- tell me you are going to sell these! Work like this should be rewarded!

-- -Tim

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3847 posts in 1500 days

#12 posted 11-26-2013 07:32 AM

Wow, this is really cool. Great job. VERY creative. Welcome to LJ’s

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1431 days

#13 posted 11-26-2013 11:45 AM

very cool just like the other one…except this one make me chuckle a little…just found it amusing and very clever.
Nicely done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View shopdog's profile


577 posts in 3093 days

#14 posted 11-26-2013 12:50 PM

makes me want to play with magnets…and wood
thanks for posting, and look forward to seeing more
welcome to LJ

-- Steve--

View Strombergm's profile


10 posts in 1251 days

#15 posted 11-26-2013 01:08 PM

Hello everyone- I gotta say, I am blown away by the support and encouragement here…. I never would have thought there could be so many creative, talented and supportive people in one place….. Thank you Jim Arnold, for turning me on to LJ!

A couple people asked about what kind is magnets I use for these sculptures. I use large rare earth magnets. They are strong enough that they will crush your finger if your not careful. They are also extremely tricky to work with. As you all know, magnets are attracted to just about every tool we use in our craft. At some point in every project I do, a part will get ripped from my hand and sent flying across the room… I started working with smaller rare earth magnets when I began designing Kineti-Go Magnetic Shuffleboard. Once I had figured out how to embed and shape the small wooden magnetic pucks, I was able to fathom some of the bigger stuff I am working on now….

-- Mike

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