The hooter stick
Plumbing and aligning stud walls can be quite a chore, sometimes involving the better part of a five or six-man crew. On a recent job, I became acquainted with the tool shown in the drawing. Here in Austin, Texas, it’s called a hooter stick, and I haven’t found anything that’s better suited for adjusting long, tall or just plain awkward walls.
Basically it is nothing more than two studs, a 2×4 block 20 in. to 30 in. long and an old hinge. To assemble the stick, first cut a 45° V-notch in the end of one stud and scab the block flush to the bottom end of the other stud. Then fasten the two parts with the hinge.
To use the hooter stick, place the notched end against the underside of the top plate, near a corner or an intersection with another wall. To brace the bottom of the stick you can use either your foot or a block that is tacked to the subfloor. Now you’re ready to push in the direction that you want the wall to move. The hooter is an awkward piece of equipment to manipulate at first, but once you get used to it you’ll be surprised at what you can do to an outside wall full of offsets and headers.
Paul Wilson, Austin, TX