The night was darker than the basement after I blew all the circuits. My mouth was drier than the toilet after that little accident with the water pipe and the reciprocating saw. But when the homeowner sauntered into my office, I forgot all that. Needed help. Had to put in a recessed shelf, install a pass-through, screw in a shelf support, and nail up a chair rail. In short, we had to find out where the studs were hiding.
Call it instinct; I knew right off they were in the wall. But where?
I tapped along the wall, listening for that dead, slightly higher-pitched sound that tells you a stud’s in the general vicinity. But the wall wasn’t drywall; it was hard to hear through that thick plaster and lath. I tried lightly tapping with a hammer and thought I might have it.
At this point, I debated driving a 2″ finishing nail into the wall. If I missed the stud, I could always move over and try again. Or I could strip the insulation off a length of electrical wire, stick it through the hole and wiggle it a bit to enlarge the hole. Then I’d bend and move the wire to probe for the stud on either side.
But the homeowner wanted more proof.
I scanned along the tops of the baseboards for nail heads or indentations suggesting nails. If you can find these, you know there’s a good chance there’s a stud behind them. But we were either dealing with a master carpenter or a thick coat of paint. No sign of nails.
It was a tough case. If I didn’t find it soon, my reputation would be lower down than the foundation on Santa’s workshop. What could I do next?
To be continued.