How to Use Metal Detectors for Embedded Nails

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Embedded nails on wooden surfaces can be quite difficult to detect by just trusting the naked eyes. Therefore, there is a need to use another equipment to do the job. With this in mind, metal detectors have long been used by professional woodworkers to do this process. This guide will help you learn how to use metal detectors for embedded nails. The metal detector recommended for this process is the Zircon MetalliScanner m40 Metal Detector.

This model of metal detector easily and quickly detects metal in drywall, tile, paneling, concrete, wood, as well as other surfaces that are non-metallic. It also locates ferrous metal of up to 4 inches in depth, as well as non-ferrous metals up to 2 inches in depth.

Materials Needed:

  • Metal Detector
  • Recommended brand: Zircon MetalliScanner m40 Metal Detector


Step 1: Identify Scanning Position

In both of the positions, it is possible for you to adjust sensitivity. You may also calibrate it from any metal in order to maximize sensitivity. You may opt to use the Wide Scan position in order to locate the approximate locations of the metal quite quickly. On the other hand, if you recalibrate closer to the target, you are decreasing sensitivity in finding the exact location of metal

Step 3: Dealing With Lath

Most stud finders find it difficult to find embedded nails on lath, as well as plaster walls. This is because the back side of these surfaces does not have consistent thickness and density. To solve this problem, use the MetalliScanner in wide scan position to locate the nails quickly every piece of lath on the stud. It would help to calibrate the unit far from the wall to ensure that your tool is equipped with the maximum sensitivity on metals. Slide it to locate tacks marks or nails.

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Step 4: Mark the Location

When pinpointing the possible location of nails and other metal objects, make sure that you mark the location of the strongest reading, and then continue reading. Reverse your direction, and mark the strongest reading once again. The nails are usually in between your two marks.

Step 5: Confirmation

If you have already confirmed that the studs are found, run the metal detector vertically. There may be a need to decrease sensitivity further so that the unit can just go on and off as it passes through every nail. In this way, you have the idea that it is indeed, finding those nails that are embedded, and not just doing some simple plumbing tasks.


The MetalliScanner metal detector no doubt solves any problem you may have, especially when it comes to finding studs in plaster walls and lath. It does so by searching the pattern of nails which attach the wood lath into the studs. It also finds ductwork, plumbing, screws, and of course, nails in your floors, walls, ceilings, and at the same time great for checking on reclaimed lumber for any hidden piece of metal.

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  • October 9, 2017
  • DIY