Magic Stud Finder

  • 01 of 02

    Face It, Electronic Stud Finders are Not that Great

    Magic Stud Finder Magnets
    Magic Stud Finder Magnets. Magic Stud Finder

    There must be some name for it. But I call it Unfounded Faith in Phantom Technology (UFPT). It's the unbridled faith we have in any little electronic box that has beeps and buttons and blinking lights. Consequences of UFPT can be dire. UFPT causes drivers to happily follow their GPS units turn by turn straight into sewage ponds - and these people will still forcefully claim that they are parked right in front of the Bank of America.

    This faith in technology also causes homeowners to blindly...MORE trust electronic stud finders. One memorable time, I must have put 20 holes in a wall due to my faith in these untrustworthy little units. And don't even talk to me about those $.99 magnetic stud finders...essentially a good idea, but with too-weak magnets and funky pointers that sometimes move too much, sometimes not enough.

    In reality, stud-finding is detective work. You pound, you listen, you feel, you measure, and somehow between all these methods, you find a stud. Maybe.

    The Magic Stud Finder is almost like the perfect compromise between the two. Load up two super-sticky target magnet disks into the holder; sweep the holder across the wall in familiar fashion; and wait until one of the target magnets smacks tight against a drywall screw or nail (or metal stud) embedded in the drywall.

    But can the proverbial 4 year-old use a Magic Stud Finder? Luckily, I had not just a proverbial 4 year-old--but a flesh and blood one--right on hand.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Testing Out the Magic Stud Finder

    So, the 4 year-old tried it out, and it worked. He had trouble remembering that, once the target magnet stuck, he needed to pull the holder straight outward. Any variation of this might upset the magnet. I had trouble remembering not to let the second magnet in the holder get close to the first magnet. But we quickly figured out the routine, and soon we were finding studs left and right.

    Another neat trick is to locate two vertically neighboring drywall screws, affixing two magnets in those...MORE spots. Then take the included 6-inch metal ruler and stick it on top of the magnets. You can then lightly scribe pencil marks on either side of the ruler, giving you a nice target zone to make your holes, screw your screws, or whatever you're trying to do.

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    Nice touch: the holder has a light pull that keeps the magnets in place.

    Before putting the Magic Stud Finder to use, I literally lay awake in bed one night, wondering why the two magnets were exactly 2 inches apart in the holder. What was the significance? Were the magnets expected to simultaneously clamp onto two different drywall screws? Not only that, but you will never find drywall screws two inches apart. Then, I tried out the Magic Stud Finder and realized there was no significance. The magnets were simply far enough apart not to interfere with each other.

    So, why stop at two target magnets? I dreamed of a matrix of 9 magnets, which would increase the chances of finding that elusive "match." Or heck, why not sixteen magnets? Oh well, maybe we'll see that in Magic Stud Finder version 3.0.