Finding a stud in plaster lath

I'm setting up a wall mounted bar counter top and want to find some studs under the plaster lath to sink the brackets in.
I have a Stanley IntelliSensor Plus with 3 different depth settings. All of which are ambiguous. I can't tell anything by knocking on the wall.
Is there a trick here? Would the "magnetic" kind work better?
Instead of sinking into a stud what kind of anchor would work well. I remember seeing a lot of kinds at the Borg. I'm thinking some kind of Molly...
Jeff
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What kind of "brackets" are we talking about?
For a counter, I'd certainly prefer to mount my "bracket" into a stud.
Option 1:
Are there any receptcles currently installed along this wall?
If so, remove the cover plate and see how the box is mounted. If it's attached to side of a stud, note it's location and measure from there, using 16" or 24" OC, based on what you think you have.
If it's not attached to a stud, perhaps you can take the box out and measure inside the wall in either direction to find the stud.
Option 2:
- Remove the trim along the floor.* - Measure from a corner approximately 16" (or 24", if that's the OC spacing you think you have) - Find the distance above the floor where you're pretty sure you are above the sill plate but below the top of the trim. - Drill** within that space around that 16"/24" OC distance. - When you hit a stud, use a level to make a mark at counter height - Reinstall the trim to hide the holes.
* If this counter is going to hide the wall behind it, you could use this "poke and hope" method along the line where the counter meets the wall instead of removing the trim.
** Instead of a drill, you could use a long deck or drywall screw. It'll spin if you hit open space behind the plaster and catch if you hit a stud.
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On 10/22/2010 11:29 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Now, that's a plan. Thanks.
You can forget regular 16" spacing in a '29 house though. The last time I tried that I had a long line of test holes!
The counter is 18" deep. I'm thinking a 1 x 2 strip to hang the back edge and some "props" cut out of 2 x 4 angling from the wall to the counter at a 45 or so. There would be some vertical shear with that depending on the angle.
The counter substrate is 3/4" cabinet plywood. Wonder if that should be doubled up? Granite tile on backer board is the surface.
Jeff

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wrote:

Sometimes on an old house that's the only way to find the studs where there's no box attached. My house was built in '59 and the 16" centers don't apply as you get close to a corner, and nothing but the drill applies on the outside walls, which are furred. Well, maybe 8' or 4', but I can't find the drywall joints anyway.
Since you've covering a strip with counter and don't have to patch the holes there, you're ahead of the game. I just covered a bunch of drill holes with crown molding. Even when a stud finder finds the stud I drill to verify. When I hit it, I always drill one (lucky) or two more holes to make sure I'm not on the stud edge.
Use a pinch of masking tape to mark the stud center when you find it if you don't want to mar the paint. First time I drilled for studs I used a 1/8" bit to keep the holes small. Went to using a 1/4" bit because it's much easier to feel the stud and see the turnings. No harder to patch or cover 1/4" holes than 1/8" holes.
--Vic
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(-: Been there, done that. It's like roulette and the 0 and 00 equal hitting an electrical wire or a water pipe. Bang, you lose.
Steve B. (I think) had a good idea. Drill one hole and then insert a wire to try to feel for the stud on either side of the hole (assuming you didn't hit a hole in one). My Zircon works pretty well if I make multiple passes at different heights and make pencil ticks for each hit. Eventually, a pattern forms and a majority of the tick marks will line up. Can't trust it for a single read, though.
What I hate the most is hitting the very freaking edge of a stud so that the screw breaks out through the side when you tighten it. That's why I still drill at least two holes on either side of where I think the final hole should be.
-- Bobby G.
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Before I went with an electronic finder I used to use a pencil like magnetic device. Worked but this was not plaster with much metal about. In a way it was like dowsing ;)).
Bill
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On 10/22/2010 1:13 PM, Bill who putters wrote:

Hi Bill,
I'll bet!
How's the garden? Mine is mostly done, but my gardening neighbor has a tomato factory going. His compost pile is generating second generation cukes and tomatoes. Melons were a bust all around. Peppers OK.
I'll catch you back over in rec.gardens when I get my kitchen back. Can't garden *and* fix a house too! At least, I can't!
Jeff

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wrote:

I really like that. Now I'm going to put one of those hard drive magnets on a string and give it a try. Bet it works better than the 2 stud finders I have, Those magnet are sure strong.
--Vic
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On Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:48:46 -0500, Vic Smith

About $20.00:
"The Magic Stud Finder " video.
http://www.magicstudfinder.com/index.html
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Hang on - I think I channeling Billy Mays.
But wait....there's more!
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On Fri, 22 Oct 2010 11:23:44 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

<grin> I have ten dead hard drives that I need to harvest the magnetsfrom. Thinking I can make one of these gadgets with a small block of wood and use the rare earth magnets from the drives.
The OP has plaster walls, so not sure it would work on plaster?
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I have several circular magnets from old microwave ovens. You don'tr want to get your fingers between the magnets and any iron surface or your fingers will get crushed. Haven't tried them for finding studs, my electronic one works fine for 3/8" plaster over 1/2" sheetrock.
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Thanks. That looks good. If the magnet on a string doesn't work well enough I'll kick in 20. I've got 3 or 4 HD magnets around here so I'll try that first.
--Vic
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On 10/22/2010 1:06 PM, Oren wrote:

Cute gal, she will have no problem finding a stud. 8-)
TDD
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wrote:

A drill and bit is easier than a screwdriver in plaster.
Well, there is another "sure way". Draw a horizontal line at the approximate desired height. Use a roto zip or router -- plunge it in and cut the plaster out along the line. Wide enough and the OP can see the studs. Not a clean method, but it will expose the studs. Easy enough to patch and cover with his ledger support board.
I've used a similar method (chalk line /diamond blade -- 4" angle grinder to cut stucco) to hang a ledger board for the patio roof.
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On 10/22/2010 9:19 AM, Jeff Thies wrote:

--
Steve Barker
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