Your Average Stud

Studfinder Veteran’s day… us gubmint employees got the day off. Felt more poignant than usual since Amy and I have been working our way through The War… slowly. Painful and fascinating to watch, learning so much.

Hung a 70-lb. TV on a 50-lb. wall-bracket today, finally eliminating the hideous shiny plastic stand it came on and getting it 12″ farther back from the couch. For a weight like this, hitting the studs was of paramount importance, couldn’t risk missing. Unfortunately, thick lathe walls and multiple repair jobs over time* resulted in getting lots of false readings from the electronic stud finder. For a while there it seemed like chaos, and I was beggining to consider fishing for it, though I didn’t relish the thought of having to patch it up later.

Each time I got a reading for the edge of a stud, I made a mark on the wall. After a while, I had about 40 tiny Xs dotting the LR wall, and noticed a pattern starting to emerge. While no single mark was reliable, in the aggregate I was starting to see implied vertical lines on either side of a 2″ space.

This got me thinking… when placing a geocache, it’s really important to publish accurate coordinates. But marking a single waypoint is inaccurate by definition, since the satellites and the earth are constantly shifting in relation to one another. The first cache we placed, I did the “bee” dance, walking out 30′ and returning repeatedly, marking the spot again and again, then finally plunking down a waypoint in the middle of the cluster to represent the average reading. That worked OK, but later discovered there was an “average waypoint” feature built into the GPSr – set it down in one spot and let the earth move while it takes a reading every few seconds. Let it do that for 200 or so readings, hit Stop, and you get a dynamite average. Conclusion: The world needs an electronic stud finder that does automatic averaging. Just drag the finder randomly around on the wall for a few minutes and let it report well-averaged stud edges.

Aside: Got my stitches out today – hand’s doing well, but will probably have a nice Frankenstein jag in it for life. At least it’s fully mobile again.

* Have I mentioned that when doing wall repair recently (earthquake cracks), I discovered that the living room had once been painted top to bottom with gold glitter paint? I love trying to imagine what the rest of the room must have looked like at whatever point in history that might have been.

Music: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins :: I Love Paris

5 Replies to “Your Average Stud”

  1. Having moved into a new house a few months ago (which generated a home improvement “honey-do” list a mile long), I’m totally behind your idea of an “averaging” studfinder. :)

  2. From one honey-do do-er to another, I’m curious: What do you use to maintain and prioritize your collaborative list? We’ve been through:

    – TaDa Lists
    – iCal to-do items
    – Basecamp
    – ActiveCollab
    – A homegrown to-do app I wrote in Django

    Currently back to iCal. You?

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