i too have used hard drive magnets for years.
my work benches have several of the them epoxied to the upper portion of the work bench aproxamately every 4 feet or so.
we hang all the various tools from them.
this not only makes for easy access, it also keeps the tools magnetized as well.
i found it was easier to epoxy the magnets to the bench than it was to remove them from the metal backing.
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