Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

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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