Question about wall studs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
TCM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Indian Land, SC
Posts: 71
View TCM's Photo Album My Photos
Question about wall studs

I finished up my first project. YAY me!

They are simple ledge shelves, and to hang them I want to screw through the back ledge into the stud in the wall.

I have a little Black and Decker stud finder. According to the stud finder, the studs are spaced really oddly apart. The first one is 16.50 inches, the second is 14.25 inches and the third is 16.25 inches. I thought studs were supposed to be more uniform in the spacing? Is this common, or should I consider this little stud finder thing inaccurate? Now if I move further up the wall and start looking for studs, they line up with my previous mark, so i'm fairly sure the studs are there. I was just wondering if that's common for them to be spaced like that.
TCM is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 05:10 PM
Senior Member
 
Dave Paine's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Eastern PA
Posts: 7,222
View Dave Paine's Photo Album My Photos
Studs are typically 16in on centre, but you will find variations.

I would not consider 1/4in or 1/2in "off" by any means.

When I use a stud finder I mark on some tape, first moving from the left into the stud, make a line, then from the right into the stud, make another mark. I then screw in the middle of the two marks.

The stud finders are using proximity and the stud may not be square to the drywall, or a corner was knocked off where you are measuring.

The stud finders can also be fooled by e.g., pipe behind the drywall, so I confirm the existence of the stud by the good old time honoured method of knocking on the drywall and listening for whether the knock is sold (on the stud) or hollow (not on the stud).
Dave Paine is offline  
post #3 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 05:17 PM
Old School
 
cabinetman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: So. Florida
Posts: 24,027
View cabinetman's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCM View Post
I finished up my first project. YAY me!

They are simple ledge shelves, and to hang them I want to screw through the back ledge into the stud in the wall.

I have a little Black and Decker stud finder. According to the stud finder, the studs are spaced really oddly apart. The first one is 16.50 inches, the second is 14.25 inches and the third is 16.25 inches. I thought studs were supposed to be more uniform in the spacing? Is this common, or should I consider this little stud finder thing inaccurate? Now if I move further up the wall and start looking for studs, they line up with my previous mark, so i'm fairly sure the studs are there. I was just wondering if that's common for them to be spaced like that.
It's not totally uncommon. You could get just as lucky by tapping on the wall and listening for a dull sound. Studs are (technically) supposed to be 16" O/C (on center), so that means in between should be 14". Optimally, you should locate the center of the stud for fastening. If by chance you catch the edge, the fastener could just tear out.






.
cabinetman is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 06:26 PM
Turning Wood Into Art
 
DaveTTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,043
View DaveTTC's Photo Album My Photos
+3 not at all uncommon. In Australia studs are typically at 18 or 24 inch centres. Sticking to this makes insulating easier etc. often when marking out your plates the chippie only marks one edge of the stud. It is not uncommon for an occasional stud to inadvertently be put on the wrong side of the line. When reading a tape upside down it is easy to read your measurement the wrong way. Down under we have what we call the '100 mill trick' (millimetre). Take the measurement 2780. 2700 is a bold measurement. Usually a tape is read left to right thus the 80 is on the right of 2700. If reading your tape upside down then it should be read right to left but sometimes out of habit the '80' right of 2700 will be read and marked instead. Your measurement will then be 2680.

I guess similar can happen with imperial measurements

Sometimes instead of setting studs at nominal centres a chippie will space them evenly ( or not so evenly do to human error )

Dave The Turning Cowboy

DaveTTC

The Turning Cowboy
Turning Wood into Art
DaveTTC is offline  
post #5 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 09:29 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 26,075
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
I had a Black and Decker stud finder. I would double check the placement of the studs by driving a small nail into the wall. The studfinder I had was not that accurate and could vary a couple of inches. I have also seen framers that when building a wall would only mark 4' centers on studs and eyeball the two in-between.
Steve Neul is online now  
post #6 of 18 Old 09-21-2012, 10:00 PM
Making sawdust in MS
 
rayking49's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Philadelphia, Ms
Posts: 4,000
View rayking49's Photo Album My Photos
If its an older house, there's no telling with the studs. When I reno'd my house, there were no set measurements. They seemed to me to be kind of haphazardly set. The original part of the house was built early last century.
rayking49 is offline  
post #7 of 18 Old 09-22-2012, 07:39 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 12,474
View GeorgeC's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I had a Black and Decker stud finder. I would double check the placement of the studs by driving a small nail into the wall. The studfinder I had was not that accurate and could vary a couple of inches. I have also seen framers that when building a wall would only mark 4' centers on studs and eyeball the two in-between.
The small nail is also my technique.

George
GeorgeC is offline  
post #8 of 18 Old 09-22-2012, 07:47 AM
Half a bubble off.. {ΘΘ}
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: "Downeast" Maine
Posts: 549
View J Thomas's Photo Album My Photos
If you know where your shelf is going to hang (height wise), draw a light level line on the bottom portion you wish to screw to the studs.
Locate the stud by finder or best estimate from tapping on the sheetrock then drive a 4 penny finish nail thru the sheetrock ABOVE the line you made.
With 3 to 5 trys you can locate the edges of the stud. Repeat the process for other studs as necessary.
The holes will be hidden by the shelf and if, in the future, you need to patch them they're small so a little spackle will fill them nicely.
Good luck... post some fotos...
..Jon.
J Thomas is offline  
post #9 of 18 Old 09-22-2012, 10:12 AM
Turning Wood Into Art
 
DaveTTC's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Jerilderie, New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,043
View DaveTTC's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveTTC
+3 not at all uncommon. In Australia studs are typically at 18 or 24 inch centres. Sticking to this makes insulating easier etc. often when marking out your plates the chippie only marks one edge of the stud. It is not uncommon for an occasional stud to inadvertently be put on the wrong side of the line. When reading a tape upside down it is easy to read your measurement the wrong way. Down under we have what we call the '100 mill trick' (millimetre). Take the measurement 2780. 2700 is a bold measurement. Usually a tape is read left to right thus the 80 is on the right of 2700. If reading your tape upside down then it should be read right to left but sometimes out of habit the '80' right of 2700 will be read and marked instead. Your measurement will then be 2680.

I guess similar can happen with imperial measurements

Sometimes instead of setting studs at nominal centres a chippie will space them evenly ( or not so evenly do to human error )

Dave The Turning Cowboy
Sorry did not realise I was talking to a stay at home mom, hope my answer did not assume too much understanding of various terms, congrats on finishing first project

Dave The Turning Cowboy

DaveTTC

The Turning Cowboy
Turning Wood into Art
DaveTTC is offline  
post #10 of 18 Old 09-22-2012, 11:31 AM
Old School
 
cabinetman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: So. Florida
Posts: 24,027
View cabinetman's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCM View Post

I have a little Black and Decker stud finder.
There are stud finders and then there are stud finders. If you don't think you'll be needing one in the near future, the one you have may be adequate if used properly. Inexpensive ones detect metal, as in metal studs, screws and nails.

The better stud finders do deep wall scanning. They check for densities and changes in densities. Some will detect wiring, and pipes.





.
cabinetman is offline  
post #11 of 18 Old 09-22-2012, 12:06 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 5,666
View FrankC's Photo Album My Photos
If you can find the stud two small nails will tell you where to drive the screw. If the first nail is into the stud drive another 3/4" to the right, if it misses the stud drive the screw 3/8" to the left of the first nail, if 2nd nail hits the stud drive screw between the two nails. This will place the screw over 3/8" from edge of stud.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

FrankC
http://sawdustmaking.com
http://woodworkerglossary.com
FrankC is offline  
post #12 of 18 Old 09-23-2012, 04:34 AM
Senior Member
 
jharris2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 3,339
View jharris2's Photo Album My Photos
This is what I do.

I use a stud finder or tap on the wall to give me the general location of a stud.

Then I use a finish nail to find the stud. Once I hit wood I mark that spot and re-drive the nail to, for instance, the right of my mark until I find the right side of the stud.

Once I find the right side of the stud I measure 3/4" to the left and drive a nail at the center of the stud.

Then you can hook your tape on the nail and mark 16" for your next stud center. Drive a nail there. If you hit wood you know your studs are on 16" centers. If you don't, measure 24" from the original stud center and try again.

If you keep hitting wood for a distance greater than an 1 1/2" then you probably found a Tee or blocking and not a stud. Try again.

Or I find the nearest electrical outlet. Outlets are attached to one side of a stud. Remove the outlet cover and tap in a finish nail to determine which side. Then pull your layout from there.

Jeff

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
jharris2 is offline  
post #13 of 18 Old 11-07-2012, 01:26 PM
that is all
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Indiana
Posts: 264
View just Josh's Photo Album My Photos
a house built in 1925 may still be using the 19-3 framing. that is your studs are 19 3/8 inches on center rather than 16 on center like is the norm today.
Using 1.5 by 3.5 pine studs (2X4) are softer and weaker than the rough sawn native lumber used in years gone past. old solid full 2 by 4's made of oak or poplar were a lot stronger. setting the studs at 19-3 actually saves one stud every 8 foot.
Also that was more typical of houses using baloon construction, or post and beam construction
just Josh is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to just Josh For This Useful Post:
jharris2 (01-14-2013)
post #14 of 18 Old 12-08-2012, 06:47 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 28
View Homewright's Photo Album My Photos
Another handy way of finding a stud is to use a small magnet. Just run it up and down as you slowly move sideways to let it find a nail or screw.

I caught a member of the sheetrock crew on a job knocking studs loose to align the stud with his rock. So in today's construction with so many hacks out there, anything is literally possible. By the way, I sent that guy home and made his boss pull all the rock off that wall and start over. I'm a real prick when it comes to doing a job right.

Last edited by Homewright; 12-08-2012 at 06:50 PM.
Homewright is offline  
post #15 of 18 Old 12-08-2012, 09:04 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida Panhandle
Posts: 12,474
View GeorgeC's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I had a Black and Decker stud finder. I would double check the placement of the studs by driving a small nail into the wall. The studfinder I had was not that accurate and could vary a couple of inches. I have also seen framers that when building a wall would only mark 4' centers on studs and eyeball the two in-between.
I have a couple of good stud finders and still check the same way you do.

George
GeorgeC is offline  
post #16 of 18 Old 12-08-2012, 11:23 PM
John
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: La Crosse, Kansas
Posts: 3,028
View jschaben's Photo Album My Photos
Get in the older homes with plaster/lathe walls, you can be hard pressed to find any stud finder that will work. That can be especially true if the plaster has seperated some from the lathe so there is an air pocket back there.
Incidentally, is anyone familiar with this little gizmo:
http://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Sensors-ProSensor-710-Precision/dp/B0064EICKG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=OIRQ8BUMJRXI&coliid=I1GHW05D8D0YBF#sfmsg_-7890*sfxd*0*sfxd*[email protected]@

John

If I strive for perfection, I can generally achieve good'nuff, If I strive for good'nuff, I generally achieve firewood
jschaben is offline  
post #17 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 08:51 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 34
View BClem's Photo Album My Photos
The small nail works for me to confirm studs as well.
You can also check base moulding nails as a reference.
BClem is offline  
post #18 of 18 Old 01-14-2013, 09:16 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 470
View SeniorSitizen's Photo Album My Photos
I use the outlet box method also and often a person can look inside and see the grip marks on the nail shank when the head was formed to determine stud location. From there I use a straight pin and pliers so holes don't need filling or if they do a dab of paint does the trick.

To be sure the stud is true vertically a plum bob is handy by leaving the straight pin in the stud center at the lower elevation for the string to rest against . On old construction and possibly some new that may not work as planned.
SeniorSitizen is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to SeniorSitizen For This Useful Post:
jharris2 (01-14-2013)
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How much weight can wall studs hold for a wood rack? Chireaux General Woodworking Discussion 14 09-01-2012 09:30 PM
2x4 Stud Wall weight question believebraves General Woodworking Discussion 10 07-11-2012 08:51 AM
Joining bookshelf to studs chode720 Joinery 3 08-08-2011 03:10 PM
How to Finger Joint 2x4 studs nycarlos Joinery 2 12-06-2009 03:30 PM
attaching studs to a block wall? maplehillfrm General Woodworking Discussion 3 11-30-2008 07:37 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome