So I have this plate-glass mirror to hang, which in combination with its solid wooden frame weighs about a ton. And since the walls in our new place are lath and plaster, this means I’m trying to locate a stud to which I can fasten my guaranteed-to-support-100-lbs. picture hook.
All the obvious jokes aside*, have you ever noticed that your basic hardware-store studfinder doesn’t work? I swear, they’re more responsive to their own momentum as they move across the wall than they are to the presence of nails underneath the plaster.
After considerable frustration, I took a little rare-earth magnet I had to hand, and glued a long piece of thread to it. I tied the other end to the tip of a screwdriver, and started scrying along the wall. Presently the magnet found a spot it liked and stuck there, quivering. I tried it again, and the magnet found the same spot. I marked it lightly in pencil. Within a few minutes I had the stud mapped.
I feel absurdly triumphant.