952: Stud Finder
Title text: According to every stud finder I've tried to use, my walls contain a rapidly shifting network of hundreds and hundreds of studs.
It sounds like you may be interested in my new product, a— stud finder finder.
Cueball cannot locate his stud finder, so Black Hat begins a sales pitch, presumably for a "stud finder" finder. The joke is in the irony of having to find something that is used to find other things. Cueball interrupts Black Hat before he can make the obvious joke. The same comic technique is used later in 1059: Bel-Air. Currently no product exists that will locate a stud finder, although online review compilations are useful for finding the right stud finder to buy.
Studs are vertical wood members in wood-framed construction common in North America, although steel framing has become a popular alternative. These supports reinforce a wall at regular intervals, typically 16 inches (about 40 cm), and at corners, windows, and doors.
Most stud finders use an electrostatic field that is affected by the densities and types of materials in the vicinity, identifying where studs and other significant framing elements are located. One might want to know the locations of studs within a wall for installing wiring, mounting shelves and heavy objects to walls, or in this comic, hanging a picture. Wiring can be inserted between studs behind the drywall, while shelves, pictures, etc. are better affixed to studs.
Many stud finders have a light that turns on in conjunction with a beep when a higher density is detected, indicating the edge of a stud. But there are circumstances that can fool stud finders. Most are designed for the drywall-over-wood-framing construction, and can be fooled by older plaster and lath construction where the density is much more uniform throughout the length of the wall. Lower quality stud finders can also be fooled by things like moisture in the drywall or wiring within the wall cavity, and may thus beep when there is not a stud behind the scanned location. As a result, many people will try alternatives such as using a magnet to find the drywall screws or nails, or tapping a finishing nail through the wall to see if there is a stud underneath.
At the title text, Randall just gives up. Assuming there was no electrostatic interference, a stud finder going off randomly would indicate lots and lots of studs at random places that change position.
- [Black Hat sits on a couch, reading a book. Cueball is approaching him from behind the couch holding a picture in a frame, a screwdriver, and some screws.]
- Cueball: Have you seen my stud finder? I've looked everywhere.
- Black Hat: It sounds like you may be interested in my new product, a—
- Cueball: Shut up.
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