How to Find Stud in older home (plaster walls)?

I just moved recently and I am having a challenging time finding studs in an older home that is plaster not drywall. An electronic studfinder does not work, the magnet trick doesn't work WELL (will find one nail on an entire wall.)

I went to the hardware store and I got conflicting opinions on how to hang something heavier like a shelf or mirror. Should I use toggle bolts if I cannot find any studs? One guy says toggle bolts won't work well on plaster and another guy said to just drill holes until I find the stud. Another told me to measure 17" from the door (this method was unreliable as well.)

Also, say I make holes and I have to fill the holes with plaster filling (similar to spackling I think.) Say I want to still hang something from a filled in hole - is it still possible?

In for the spin

What can I help you with bro?

ask your wife

Can you not knock until it no longer sounds hollow?  This is how I installed my PRX squat rack because my stud finders were so unreliable.

Neodymium magnets . Your welcome 

Regular magnets won’t work ... gotta be neodymium .. I use them all the time on old 1920-60 style lath and plaster 

I think every 16 inches there will be a 2x4. I think you should be able to measure out from a corner. Use a small nail to feel if you hit wood

Anchor screws might work..

Plaster toggles can take a fair amount of weight, but if you really want to find a stud just knock on the wall in the area you want to hang and when you hear a difference in the sound put a m....

I’m sure you will figure out the rest

TFK_Geoff G Electric -

Regular magnets won’t work ... gotta be neodymium .. I use them all the time on old 1920-60 style lath and plaster 

What if it’s timber frame?

Studs are 16 inches on center

Edit: already mentioned. 

My house has wood lath and plaster, so far the wood lath has been solid enough for everything I've hung. I have no idea what kind of stud spacing they used in 1911.

If you have wood lath, I would think toggle bolts would be fine. The other option is to put up a hanging rail, that's what they used to do (one long strip of wood and you hang everything from it).

BDW_1983 -
TFK_Geoff G Electric -

Regular magnets won’t work ... gotta be neodymium .. I use them all the time on old 1920-60 style lath and plaster 

What if it’s timber frame?

Of course it’s wood frame .. They pick up the nails / screws used at the studs to attach the lath,button board or drywall 

Years ago I remodeled a home built during WW2 and they didnt follow codes, 16-24 was the range. Some would be 20 or 18 or whatever. Stud finders were useless. I ended up drilling a hole every 16 inches then inserted a stiff wire at an angle on both sides of the hole and measured how far it went in to hit the stud. Then I patched the hole.

ThunderlipsTapped - 


Not plaster, but still funny.

old houses are not always 16 on center. There are two stud finders. one is for thinner walls and only travels through like...3/4 of an inch. The other one goes through 1 1/2 inches. They also find wires. read the package because they look the same i believe. punch holes down low by the baseboard if you have to. small nail.

 

Crawl up in the attic & make a map.

Fuck it, cut out a decent size patch and repair/make good afterwards if you are brave enough.