Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

The Great Stud Finder Hunt

By Dennis D. McDonald


All I wanted was a cheapo stud finder, the old fashioned kind that contains a narrow cylindrical magnet, mounted on a central rotating axis, that wiggles in its mounting when it passes over a nail head buried below drywall in a wall stud. I figure they cost about $.50 cents to manufacture and probably retail these days for $3.50, including the irritating bubble pack that has to be sliced off with a utility knife.

I used to have one of these devices but it got loaned out many years ago. I think the borrower is dead now so I won't be getting it back.

I put it on my list for my weekly trip to Home Depot.

No dice. The cheapest device they had on sale is a $10.50 electronic stud finder that can be set to blink or buzz when it passes over a stud. OK, $10.50 is not going to break me, but I really prefer the cheaper and simpler device, for several reasons:

  • It's cheaper and simpler

  • The battery won't wear out while in storage (with my luck the battery is an obscure flat litium cell or a AAA that leaks when stored for years)

  • I only need one once every five years or so

  • Did I mention cheaper and simpler?

So I didn't get a stud finder. Instead, I rapped on the wall with my bear knuckles and listened.


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