Ghetto stud finder

So, first of all, all the “stud” jokes have already all been made. No need to repeat them in the comments or anything. Anyways, we have one of those stud finders that run on batteries (speficially the iSensor from Zircon)

With our recent spate of hanging things up and such, we needed to break out the ol’ stud finder. We bought this one quite a few years ago and I don’t know if it was just needing new batteries, but the thing was just plain screwy. The light would come on seemingly randomly. You’d think you found a stud, but then it wouldn’t light up in the same place vertically, or 16″ apart.

Short answer: it stank.

So after a quick google searching (i.e. Dan’s first law of the Internet), I came across this video which explains how to make your own stud finder.

Basically you take a magnet, and tie it to a piece of string or such (he used fish line, I used yarn, whatever). Then you just swing it back and forth at various places on the wall till it “hits”. I was fairly skeptical but I tried it out and it works! I’m sure this is how they must have done it in the old days.

Here’s a pic of me with my ghetto stud finder, getting ready to hang up our mirror in the upstairs bathroom


Well actually, that’s a picture of me staging for the camera what it looked like (if you look closely you can see that I’ve already drilled the holes)

A few words of caution: It should come as no surprise to many of you that there are other things behind your walls that might be made of metal that you might not want to drill into. Things like plumbing (bad) or electrical wires (worse). So once you get a hit, you should swing the magnet at the same place vertically to make sure you’re getting a hit all the way up the wall, as well as at regular intervals (usually every 16 or 24 inches) horizontally to make sure it’s a stud and not say, your sink supply line.

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Comments (5) left to “Ghetto stud finder”

  1. Harmony wrote:

    Why does a magnet work? Are your studs made of metal, not 2×4′s? We have a Zircon iSensor that stinks too.

  2. dan wrote:

    No – the studs are made of wood (2x4s) but the magnet finds the nails in the stud.

    So it doesn’t “hit” the entire way up the stud, but it hits often enough because of all the nails in the studs.

    At least that’s how I understand it…

  3. Harmony wrote:

    Okay, got it. Thanks. I’ll have to give it a try.

  4. Barch wrote:

    in regards to drilling into wires; up at the military base, it has been known for some unlucky and unwise mechanic to drill through a wire bundle in trying to make a basic repair. Not a good thing.

  5. jeff wrote:

    (in best monty python voice) of course, copper wires are not magnetic, so they shouldn’t attract the magnet, right?

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