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Old 11-25-2009, 01:34 PM   #1
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


I have plaster and lathe throughout my house. The way I undstand stud finders is that they look for nails (magnetic) to determine where the studs are? Correct? If I have plaster and lathe would it give me a false reading because of all the nails in the lathe? What would be the best way to find the studs in a plaster wall? Is there another method or a different type of stud finder?

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Old 11-25-2009, 03:04 PM   #2
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


There are magnetic ones that find nails, that do work because the nails are only in the studs. The other type uses density to find studs, they also work. (and find pipes, re-bar, etc.)

I use my knuckle to find them. The sound changes.

Be safe, Gary

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Old 11-25-2009, 06:06 PM   #3
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


I have found that by looking for the nails in the baseboard is also a good indication of where the studs are located once you find them in baseboard then go straight up on the wall .
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I have plaster and lathe throughout my house. The way I undstand stud finders is that they look for nails (magnetic) to determine where the studs are? Correct? If I have plaster and lathe would it give me a false reading because of all the nails in the lathe? What would be the best way to find the studs in a plaster wall? Is there another method or a different type of stud finder?

Thank You
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Old 11-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #4
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


Here's another tried and proven (by me) method, I did get this from a book some time back. Sometimes-it is possible to find the studs in a plaster/lath wall by using an electric razor. Place the back of the razor against the wall while it is running, move the razor horizontally along the wall slowly and listen for the sound difference as the density of the wall changes. It does take practice. We used this method on a house my son had for a few years which was built in 1921. These plaster walls had the older metal mesh lath in some rooms, the wooden lath in some rooms. It worked for both applications. Thanks, David
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Old 11-26-2009, 12:16 PM   #5
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


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Originally Posted by Scotsman View Post
I have plaster and lathe throughout my house. The way I undstand stud finders is that they look for nails (magnetic) to determine where the studs are? Correct? If I have plaster and lathe would it give me a false reading because of all the nails in the lathe? What would be the best way to find the studs in a plaster wall? Is there another method or a different type of stud finder?

Thank You
The nails in the lath go into the studs so their abundance should help the search. You can also use the original outlet boxes as they're nailed to the stud. Then measure every 16" and you should find most of them.
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Old 11-26-2009, 07:11 PM   #6
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


I think we had some strange electricians around here. 50% of the old houses have outlet boxes nailed on top of the plaster ground, in the middle of the baseboard, between stud bays. A lot of the earlier houses had layout for the lath, 4', anything in the middle was fair game -- 20" + 28"; 14, 18, and 16, etc. with no rhyme or reason. I like the electric razor idea, but shouldn't that be under "trim" carpentry? I'm tired, what can I say....
Be safe, Gary
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Old 11-29-2009, 05:09 PM   #7
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


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Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
I think we had some strange electricians around here. 50% of the old houses have outlet boxes nailed on top of the plaster ground, in the middle of the baseboard, between stud bays. A lot of the earlier houses had layout for the lath, 4', anything in the middle was fair game -- 20" + 28"; 14, 18, and 16, etc. with no rhyme or reason. I like the electric razor idea, but shouldn't that be under "trim" carpentry? I'm tired, what can I say....
Be safe, Gary
I had this in an old house that I owned (built in 1911). The studs were perfectly verticle for the wall surface, skewed in the linear plane.
As the wooden lath strips were bridged from stud to stud, it didn't matter!
However when I had to install drywall sheets, it was a nasty problem!
I use my knuckles and rap the wall to locate the studs. I like the electric razor idea!
Hey! How about these new fangled sex toys!
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:01 AM   #8
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


Thank You for all the input!. I like the idea of the razor, but unfortunetly I go old school and use a disposable. LOL (story of my life) I did think about the lathe being nailing ito studs after I I posted the question. Nails in baseboards, don't think that will work MUST BE 10 coats of enamel on the baseboards, couldn't see ANY indications whatsoever. I do have (and MAY NOT wait) a Zircon I520 stud finder on my Christmas list. It has gotten many good reviews and actually looks EXACTLY what I am looking for. Does ANYBODY have any experience with this model or simular style scanners?

http://www.zircon.com/products/center_ms_i520.html
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:55 PM   #9
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


I just stumbled on this thread. I have also been searching for something that will work well on old plaster and lathe walls. After a little searching I came across this option below. I have not tried it yet but it seems reasonable.

http://www.amazon.com/CH-Hanson-0304...ref=pd_cp_hi_2

The other idea I read elsewhere is similar to this device as well. You could try buying some real powerful small magnets and attempt the same thing.
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Old 12-06-2009, 04:11 AM   #10
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Stud Finding on Plaster and Lathe?


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Originally Posted by J_Bird View Post
http://www.amazon.com/CH-Hanson-0304...ref=pd_cp_hi_2

The other idea I read elsewhere is similar to this device as well. You could try buying some real powerful small magnets and attempt the same thing. [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Bob/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image001.gif[/IMG]
J Bird, Welcome to the Forum and congratulations on your finding that Amazon Link. Very cool and also at a reasonable price.

Your small magnet suggestion is also used commercially in a new stud finder that uses a cow magnet suspended from a chain. Cow magnets have the magnetic strength concentrated around the center of the magnet rather than at the ends so that sharp metal fragments ingested into a cow's stomach will stick to the center section of the magnet rather than the ends where it might do further damage.

http://rowleyproducts.com/services

A cheaper alternative is to use a small rare earth magnet or an old magnet from a computer hard drive and super glue it to a string. The hanging method is great on plaster walls or even marble if the magnet is strong enough, however if the magnet is too strong you lose resolution.

Another drawback to any magnetic stud finder is that while it will find nails (& EMT, galvanized pipe, metal ducts, steel Studs, metal mesh lath, etc) it does not locate the
of the stud. In most cases It locates the nail but the nail but the nail may be way off the stud center line. For anything heavy it is better to find the edges of the stud by making a series of exploratory probes with an 8d finish nail (6d in drywall). The method I use I is that when I find one edge I make a small pencil mark on the wall then repeat for the other edge.
.
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Last edited by PaliBob; 12-06-2009 at 04:18 AM. Reason: sp
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