man of wood

a good stud finder

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What is a good stud finder?  What makes a good stud finder?

I kind of hit and miss when I use one, and I would like to use one and have confidence.

 

 

Thanks

Thomas

 

 

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Stethoscope.  I won't say it's perfect, but it performs better than the various gizmos I've tried over the years.  

Place the bell side (rather than the diaphram side) against the wall and tap the wall lightly with your finger tip.  The sound goes from flat to sharp when you get to a stud.  When you find a stud move the stethoscope to a nearby location and fine tune.  

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I use two for different things.  I'll try to remember to look tomorrow to see what make, and models they are.   I have so many thousands of tools for different things, and I don't even try to remember all the details.

One only gets used for putting up crown molding.  It has a row of lights that show the exact location of the full width of a stud, and is about 5" long with a straight side, that makes it good for holding the crown molding up to a mark, making crown molding simply a two handed job with a nailgun in the other hand.

The other finds different things, deeper in walls, such as under thick, old plaster, and lath.

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When I used to do office building TI work we used steel studs for a stud finder I used a cow magnet ( I know it sounds crazy, a cow magnet is a cylindrical magnet that farmers make a cow swallow and stays in their first stomach and it attracts any bits of metal that a cow may ingest and stops it from going to another stomach and killing the cow) WMCW-100-250x250.jpg

you put an end to a large eye dropper rubber bulb end with a small hole in the end for a piece of string to go through you stretch the rubber eye dropper over the end of the cow magnet you dangle this set up along the wall it finds any metal behind drywall when it settles into the steel stud, or any piece of metal, drywall screw or, sheet rock nail when the magnet stops as it travels along the wall the center of the magnet is the center of whatever is behind the drywall. these can be bought at any farm supply store for a few bucks you can also get a large eye dropper there also now you just need some string these magnets are extremely strong magnets this set up is the best stud finder I've ever used.

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So you don't actually need a cow for this to work :P.  

With wooden stud wall I would think you'd have some false positives due to conduit?

How big is this magnet? 

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Rare Earth magnets are handy for finding all sorts of things.  I use little ball ones for finding threaded inserts behind copper flashing, so I can mark exactly where to punch a hole for the bronze machine screw.

CIMG1759.JPG

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The cow magnet is about 1/2" diam. about 3" long and, no cows are harmed in this method. Conduit would likely be center of stud and wouldn't be a particularly strong attraction if at all a strong attraction would be a screw head, a nail head, a steel stud, a nail plate so you would know a location of a plumbing pipe. I'm just telling you what we used for stud finder on commercial work I first saw this used by my foreman at the time he was an experienced ( old bastard like I am now) carpenter who freely shared his years of tricks and, short cuts when he pulled the cow magnet trick out and saw it in action all us guy bought a cow magnet set up, and I used this trick for some 30+ yrs. I still have one in a drawer in the shop I still use it from time to time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Four drywall magnet. Lath and plaster is a big tougher. I've never had luck with the electronic doodads.

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I got one from Lowe's, Sonin #50215. Four features- metal, moisture, stud, voltage. BTW, I would see carpenters tap the walls to find studs. I never could!:angry:

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My general purpose one is a Zircon model similar to this one.  I didn't see the model I use still listed on the Zircon site.   It has never let me down.  I've bought, and tossed multiple cheaper ones.

https://www.zircon.com/tools/multiscanner-i320-onestep/

Here's the one I use for installing crown molding.  I use it to put the molding in place, by holding it under, with one hand, and the other hand is holding the nailgun.     https://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Sensors-FS710PROProSensor-Professional-Finder/dp/B0195K8OT4/ref=asc_df_B0195K8OT4/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309760780746&hvpos=1o5&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7383924538952835970&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009793&hvtargid=pla-421592047370&psc=1

I found the exact general purpose one that I use on the same Amazon page:   https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J39MJEI/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01J39MJEI&pd_rd_w=sqA3n&pf_rd_p=8a8f3917-7900-4ce8-ad90-adf0d53c0985&pd_rd_wg=RKmI4&pf_rd_r=KEQ5YB9BV672GJ6TCGHS&pd_rd_r=03f5aa3d-82e2-4255-9bd1-4a9dcc9d2b61

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I use the Franklin Prosensor 710+, which is a bar-type stud finder about 12" long, with a series of LED's that show the position of the stud as you slide it across the wall.  It can show double studs and blocking as well.  I've had really good luck with it on many projects.

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41 minutes ago, DerekMPBS said:

I use the Franklin Prosensor 710+

That's the same one as @Tom King & I referred to above. I should have added that it's the best electronic stud finder that I've ever used, and I've tried many over the decades.

The Walabot is a fairly new type of sensor that interests me. It gets lots of good reviews on Amazon, but I'm leery of those, especially with a product that is so new.

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That was the best one I've used, until I needed a better one.  It doesn't do good through old plaster, and wooden lath.  I had a theory about an opening in a wall that is not visible now.  I thought it had been plastered over.  In other words, two rooms made out of one with a large opening in the middle of partial walls dividing that room, and both completely replastered, and retrimmed.  The Franklin wouldn't find the studs, so I ordered that Zircon.

That Zircon showed not only all the studs, but that there were large timbers on both sides of my theorized large opening.  The studs filling the opening were not as wide as any of the other studs in that house.

That Zircon has never failed me since then.  It shows the center of a stud too.

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1 hour ago, drzaius said:

That's the same one as @Tom King & I referred to above. I should have added that it's the best electronic stud finder that I've ever used, and I've tried many over the decades.

The Walabot is a fairly new type of sensor that interests me. It gets lots of good reviews on Amazon, but I'm leery of those, especially with a product that is so new.

Franklin is what I have and it has not let me down. now menards has 1 for $35 

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2 hours ago, Tom King said:

That was the best one I've used, until I needed a better one.  It doesn't do good through old plaster, and wooden lath.  I had a theory about an opening in a wall that is not visible now.  I thought it had been plastered over.  In other words, two rooms made out of one with a large opening in the middle of partial walls dividing that room, and both completely replastered, and retrimmed.  The Franklin wouldn't find the studs, so I ordered that Zircon.

That Zircon showed not only all the studs, but that there were large timbers on both sides of my theorized large opening.  The studs filling the opening were not as wide as any of the other studs in that house.

That Zircon has never failed me since then.  It shows the center of a stud too.

The Franklin is very good with drywall, but as Tom said, not so good with plaster. I did have a Zircon that would calibrate itself to the particular wall, whether plaster or drywall (1 or 2 layers) and was good at detecting the studs. But it was a pain to use. If you happen to let go of the power button while using it, calibration was lost. Even letting it lift off the wall surface screwed up the calibration. Eventually I tossed it because it was too frustrating to use. Around these part there are very few houses with lath & plaster so I don't have much need for that functionality.

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