Hi all! We bought a house last year that was built (mostly) in 1807. A structural engineer and local old house expert estimates the oldest part at late 1700's. Cool huh? I'm in PA and this area was settled in the 1680's and there are a lot of old houses.
I want to do floating shelves in a closet that we suspect was originally designed to hold wood for a large fireplace that has since been closed off. It's in the old part of the house. Our walls do have rough hewn studs with rocks filling the space between the studs (the back wall of this room was removed to fix a structural issue so I took pics of the studs). The rocks were then plastered in place with no lathe. The plaster is about 1/2" thick (I saved a piece of the plaster with a rock stuck to it).
So I don't think that the magnet tricks will work as the wall is not nailed to the studs. My project is in a closet so looking for electrical boxes doesn't help. There is already a floating shelf in the closet, so the nails are obscured. I'm a little worried about drilling pilot holes because of the rocks. I'm not worried about holes since they'll be covered by the shelving.
I'm super paranoid about this because on the opposite side of the wall (was an outside wall once) is the addition with our kitchen. The previous owner did a #@$!& job hanging cabinets - they came crashing down at 1am and scared the $&!@ out of us. I want to be sure these shelves stay put! They will be holding heavy stuff so I don't trust anchors (the idiot used PLASTIC anchors for the cabinets).
Any one have suggestions?