where to get a drywall 'nail locator'?

Page 1 of 3  
All I need is a simple nail finder/locator for finding the nails in the drywall. I KNOW where the studs are, but need to find screws/nails behind the taping plaster.
I remember years ago using a magnet mounted in a 'gimbal' structure that pointed to a nail. Unsuccessfully tried to make one. the one I made keeps missing the fasteners! If it 'sees' one, it is there, but even though I know there should be a nail somewhere within inches, can't find it. Usually misses screws, finds nails.
Closest walkin so far has been Home Depot Zircon whizbang for $49. TOO MUCH!! I don't want to find studs, just the nails
Next best has been Harbor Freight, Cen-Tec unit 5 in 1 for $8.99 Sounds great, I once ordered a Cen-Tech Sound Level Meter $14.99 before from them, very satisfied customer, replaced our $100+ unit. But this latest requirement just rankles me to pay 8.99 +6.99 shipping total of 15.98 for a simple little widget.
You guys ALWAYS know where to get stuff at great prices. Any help?
Anybody got one to send me, or provide a URL to get something?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Macy wrote:

The Harbor Freight 92375 is a good one.
When I had the floor insulated, the contractor kept poking himself on the nails sticking thru the floor. He solved the problem by pounding a bunch of them back up. I used the HF unit to find the nails thru the carpet and bang them back down before they tore thru the rug.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the positive feedback on that unit. It is by Cen-Tech
My previous experience with Harbor Freight was a Cen-Tech Sound Level Meter which was great experience. No hesitation to go back to HF, except...the unit is $8.99 and shipping is $6.99. Just hate to pay for the unit twice.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Buy a stack of fifty or so super magnets. The best thing going for locating drywall nails or screws, and will give you a superior image of the studs location. (Use one at a time, not the whole stack, Elmo.) Even those that are doubled, or in positions that you would not expect them to be in. Cheap, easy, and they work very well.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The key so far has been 'super' magnets. Seems reasonable.
I have a magnet from an eddy current breaking system that is so strong that if you hold your hand out palm side up holding a Canadian dime with the magnet under the back of your hand (out of sight) the magnet is strong enough to pop the Canadian dime up onto its edge in the palm of your hand. Very spooky to do this, just seems weird the field being that strong. Even waving non-magnetic material by the magnet, like 1/4 inch slab of aluminum generates sufficiently stron eddy current fields that the AL block is 'attracted' to the magnet! Go slow, nothing. Go fast and it rips the block out of your hand.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 8 Dec 2011 16:06:21 -0800 (PST), Robert Macy

I've have a couple electronic stud finders. Not sure how they work, except they don't much work at all. Think I read here about using "super magnets" like what's found in hard drives, when I was putting up new trim. So I told my son to get a magnet from an old hard drive I had laying around. Best thing I ever used for finding studs. It'll stick on the wall right over the nail. I put a piece a masking tape on it to keep it from falling out of my fingers. Just move it lightly on the wall in moving circles and it'll stick when it goes over a nail. Couldn't be easier. Somebody posted a store-bought nail finder using these types of magnets, but I don't have the link. I'd buy one of those if I didn't have hard drive magnets handy.
--Vic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 08 Dec 2011 18:23:13 -0600, Vic Smith

Think this is what somebody posted about before. http://tinyurl.com/6re6clq
But if you have an old hard drive to get a magnet from, save your money. When the magnet sticks just mark it or put a small piece of tape there.
--Vic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I happen to have two old hard-drive magnets handy, so I just tried this.
And IT ACTUALLY WORKS! Provided I use the half of the magnet assembly which is flat, the magnet does indeed stick to the wall right over the screw.
(The other half of the magnet assembly has a few tangs rising up from the backing plate, creating an air space between wall and magnet which greatly reduces the attraction of the magnet to the screw.)
However, it is a bit time-consuming finding studs this way, since with the magnet you're locating a point (the screw), whereas with a proper stud- finder you're looking for a line (the wood).
--
Tegger

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Again, I can SEE the studs, just can't find the nails/screws buried beneath tape/plaster jobs. Yesterday, I KNEW there were two each somewhere within one inch diameter and COULD NOT FIND THEM!!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's the point of the neodymium magnet. It will find those nails/screws even under the tape and mud! Read my entire reply, not just the last sentence.
If you know where the stud is, just put the neodymium magnet on the wall in that location and slide it gently up or down. The magnet is so powerful that when it gets close to a screw, it will suddenly stop on top of it, and usually sticks in that spot. If you have two screws within an inch of each other, you should be able to locate them easily using the neodymium magnet.
--
Tegger

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

So, I'm doing a GOOD idea carried out BADLY. Just need a strong magnet, not the 'toy' I've been using. I just thought the rod magnet in a security door latch which has to keep a relay closed, would be strong enough, but guess not, or maybe this is a reject magnet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Right. You need a neodymium ("rare earth") magnet.
Hard-drive magnets are neodymium. You may be able to find such magnets at a hardware store, I don't know.

That's probably just a regular ferric magnet. You need the other kind.
--
Tegger

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Try a compass, I just did and the need swung around to the nail.
Jimmie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You don't have to search the entire wall for those "points".
Find one nail/screw in a corner and measure 16" from there. Now all you have to do is find pints along vertical lines.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 9 Dec 2011 13:59:09 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03
in

Yep. And most people can "measure'" 16" close enough without a tape. I find it much faster to use the magnet than an electronic stud finder, which has to be moved slowly. Besides that the electronics can give false readings in some places. Don't know why, but happens mostly near corners or doors, maybe because of headers or doubled studs. Also noticed they can pick up a stud at one point in the wall but then it's tricky to pick it up higher or lower. Might be different mass or something, might be the electronic stud finders I've used are crap. I always drilled with an 1/8 bit to confirm when using them. Anyway, when the drywall was nailed or screwed up the installer put them in the studs, so there's no question with those nails, and I don't drill.
The trick is to use a piece of masking tape on the back of the thin magnet so it doesn't pop out of your fingers every time it hits a bump. Grasp the masking tape and use a finger to lightly press the magnet against the wall Then you can move it very fast in a 6" circle across the wall. If it doesn't dead stop over a nail it'll pull enough to take you right to it. When I did baseboard and crown molding I stuck a little piece of masking tape over the 2 low and high nails, and the ceiling joist nails closest to the wall. Eyeballed the centerline of the 2 pieces of tape to nail. In close to 200' of nailing not a single nail missed the stud/joist.
--Vic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have found stud-finders to be remarkably accurate. For instance, my wife put one on my chest, and said, "Yup, it found a stud!". So they /do/ work.
--
Tegger

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Another thing that works is a small metal detector like the electro-metalalloscop 850.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Dec 8, 6:38pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Thanks, I did envision a 1/4 inch diameter coil, electronics powered by LR42, and piezo speaker squeeling as the coil goes over ferro material. I can design, just don't want to.
Search for electro-metalalloscop 850 turned up this group
Search for electro-metalloscop 850 turned up all non-English sites
Is product sold in US? How much?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 9 Dec 2011 09:12:10 -0800 (PST), Robert Macy

I bought mine at a woodworking show 10 or more years ago. I think it cost less than $50 at the time. Used by woodworkers and saw operators to locate embedded metal in lumber.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Robert Macy wrote:

You can get more nails, pretty cheaply, at the box stores...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.