Homemade Magneto Cover

Homemade cover protects electrics from the elements


Karl Schwab's homemade magneto cover.

Photo by Karl Schwab

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As antique engine enthusiasts and collectors, we have come to realize the magnetos on our engines are precious and critical to the operation of our engines. We therefore have good reason to protect them from any rain by putting a plastic shopping bag over them. But will this bag stay on in windy conditions or while being transported on an open trailer? Probably not.

After I purchased my first hit-n-miss engine, a 1927 Economy 1-3/4 HP Model S, I found that the Wico EK magneto was bad and I had to replace it. Then I had a bright, shinning magneto that made for an easy starting and great-running engine. And because of the cost, I was determined to keep it that way. I decided I would make a cover for it out of wood.

Using cardboard from a cereal box for templates, I came up with a design that would fit the magneto on this engine like a glove. I then transferred my templates to 3/4-inch thick pine I had on hand. Using some small nails to hold it together, I made necessary adjustments for a perfect fit. Because of the small clearance between the magneto and the engine, I had to reduce the thickness of the back of the cover to 1/2-inch. When I was satisfied with the fit, I reassembled the cover using the same small nails and waterproof glue (Titebond III). I then applied a clear, waterproof penetrating finish (Penofin) and added a handle on top for convenience.

As a good added bonus, when the handle on the cart is being used to move the engine around, the brass magneto cover is protected from being scratched or dented.

When I am running my engine at a show, I remove the cover ­- until it rains of course. At all other times, like here at my home, I just leave the magneto cover on all the time, as it has no effect on the engine's operation or performance.

Contact Karl Schwab at: 30752 Ridgefield Ave., Warren, MI 48088-3174; kschwab@att.net