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Have you ever ended up ripping open a wall because you just couldn’t get the fish tape to the right place? You tried again and again, guessing where the damn tape leader was by sound and feel, but just couldn’t direct it where you needed it to go. B.E.S. Manufacturing aims to stop this insanity with the Magnafish.

This nifty tool makes a fish tape look so 20th century. With powerful magnets it allows you to direct a magnetic leader through wall cavities rather than trying to push the long flexible fish tape. And you can actually feel the magnet through the wall, so you know the leader’s location exactly.

To use the Magnafish system, you drop the rare-earth magnet leader through a 7/8″ hole, then capture it with a paddle magnet. Move the paddle magnet toward the opening, then extract the leader and attach your cable or wire. I can’t find any information about whether you can direct the leader from a hole in the floor up the wall, though.

Magnafish runs about $90 — but think of the time you’ll save not tearing the wall a new one in your frustration.

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13 Responses to Goodbye Fish Tape, Hello Magnafish

  1. McAngryPants says:

    Oh sure…I’m betting works great in walls like in the pics above. come over to my fawking lath’n’plaster house and see how well that magnet slides along the inside of the wall. That is why daddy has a 6′ long drill bit.

  2. der5er says:

    I’ve bookmarked this, because, unlike McAngryPants, I don’t have lath’n’plaster walls. I’ve needed one of these before, hopefully with a brand new house I won’t need it any time soon. But it looks VERY promising.
    Also, McAngryPants needs his own website.

  3. CottonCandy says:

    Someone needs to figure out a way to deal with insulated walls.

  4. Joe says:

    Another plaster wall homeowner here. I’d be interested to see a video demo of a wall with insulation in it.

    My favorite tool for running wires is called the wet noodle – basically a magnet on a stick plus a few feet of ball chain and a telescoping hook tool. Plus it only costs about $20.

  5. On the insulated walls issue, Here the text from the site I discovered this tool.

    “If you could see a demo of this…you’d buy it! We did! The most revolutionary tool to hit the installers truck since the fishtape was invented! Imagine drawing your new wires through the inside of walls, even through insulation, with precision and control, without needing to open any sheetrock. You can literally feel the magnet through the wall.”
    At least according to this guy you can go through insulation.

    As for plaster wall, living in the suburbs of Minneapolis you don’t run into to many old houses — most are newer sheetrock construction. But depending on how strong the magnets are you might be able to walk the magnafish down by pulling the paddle away from the wall and movinig it down a few inches every time you get hung up on the plaster keys.

    This is just a guess, it would be cool to hear from somebody who’s tried this tool in a plaster and lathe wall.

  6. Bob says:

    I’ve been playing with neodymium (rare earth) magnets for a little while now, I use them to find lost electrical boxes behind sheetrock, and other fun things. I’m not sure if the included paddle would be strong enough to work on a plaster wall, but another good, fair sized rare earth magnet will certainly work.. I can get two to hold across a 2×4″, on the edges, and they start to attract and a little under 5″.

    so if you’ve got the need this is a pretty neat concept, however, it could be ‘macguivered’ with the help of ‘K&J Magnetics’. Cost would vary depending on the strength of magnets you wanted to use.

  7. Clinton says:

    It’s certainly an interesting tool but my thoughts are how well does it work with steel beams and sheet foam insulation. Certainly looks like it could save a lot of time when it works well but any tool I push or drop down a wall I do so with a reasonable chance that it may get snagged and never come back. I’ve probably cut off a hundred feet of fishtape that was caught inside of a wall or cavity and probably 100s of feet of wire and pull-string. At $90 thats an expensive piece of hardware to drop down a wall.

  8. Zathrus says:

    Ok, first — this will deal with insulated walls far, far better than your standard fish tape (at least if you’re using fiberglass batts or blown-in; if you have spray insulation you’re SOL no matter what), since there’s no hook to catch on the insulation and mess everything up. So a possible plus there.

    I suspect it’d be a major pain to use if you had steel framing; otherwise it probably won’t be too bad (copper is not magnetic, so no worries for plumbing or electrical). You also an’t use it for fishing through a drop ceiling (the framing is usually steel, not aluminum), although really that’s not a big issue. Fishing through spaces with recessed light fixtures would probably be difficult as well.

    As for the strength of the paddle — that looks like a really hefty magnet; I have no doubt it’d be able to pull through a plaster wall (the backer boards are going to cause problems though, as the lead tries to go over them like a xylophone), or up from a hole in the bottom.

  9. Fred says:

    The Magnepull is a similar product.


  10. Fred says:

    What I forgot to say – is that with the magmapull – the bullet end is the strong magnet.

  11. Ken says:

    What happens when you hit a fire stop in the wall?I agree with McAngryPants a six foot bit is the best.

  12. Brau says:

    Having spent my life pulling wires I can say this is a POS. Metal studs, nails, screws, electrical boxes, lath & plaster walls, insulation, wrinkled vapor barriers, all are going to stop this thing. Different products work best in different situations (fish tapes, fish rods, long flexi-drill bits), but a skilled fish tape user can often send one into a wall and get it to pop out a carefully cut hole at the other end, even when stuffed with fiberglass. It all depends on your spatial perception.

    The Magnapull goes against a common saying: Never put anything in the wall you aren’t prepared to lose. $90 is a lot to lose.

  13. Zaw says:

    WE have a guy here who can measure twice, drill a 5/8 hole in basement the drill a 3/8 hole on 7′ high at precise location at a angle on the insulated wall and he can push up fish up and make it come out of 3/8 hole. he do use a magnet to detect the fish. He do that all by him self.

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