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Tips For Using the Little Wizard

Using the Little Wizard Metal Detector in the Woodshop

Additional Technical Support

The Little Wizard metal detector was designed as an affordable aid in locating potentially damaging metal objects inside wood. When used correctly, it can save many times its cost in damaged planer, saw and jointer blades. Preventing this damage also helps minimize frustrating shop downtime as you stop work to replace damaged blades.

The Little Wizard Does NOT detect lead shot (sorry hunters).

But it will save your steel woodworking blades and knives....

Here are some tips on getting the most success with your Little Wizard:

1) Tune the unit. Follow the instructions to tune your little wizard for ground balance and humidity (see instructions, #2 "Fine tuning your little Wizard.") An improperly tuned Little Wizard will not perform at its most effective, and may also give you false positive readings, which can be frustrating over time. This should be done whenever environmental conditions change significantly, or whenever (such as change of season or location of use).

2) Test the unit before each use. Each time you use the Little Wizard, after turning the unit on and setting the working point, test the unit with a visible piece of metal of the size and type you might expect to find inside the lumber about to be tested. This will give you an idea of the detection capabilities of the unit.

3) Scan Methodically. The Little Wizard scanning head is approximately 2" wide. When scanning a piece of lumber we recommend using an overlapping zig-zag pattern. Move slowly along the surface making each pass overlap the previous pass. Make sure that you scan all the way to the edges of the board or piece of lumber. Take your time and be thorough.

4) Scan all four sides. The effective depth of detection depends on the size of the metal being searched for. For the most accurate results you should scan all four sides of a piece of lumber, especially for any piece over ¾" thick.

5) Scan with different orientations. Some metal objects are more easily detected at different orientations. For example a small screw may not be detected perpendicular to the scanning head (coil) of the detector, but will be detected parallel to the scanning head. If your wood is especially suspicious, or you are not sure of the results, scan the board again with the scanning head at 90 degrees to the orientation of the first pass.

6) Re-scan after each planer pass. When using a power planer, scan the board after each pass through the planer. As your planer removes wood with each pass, metal objects that previously went undetected may become detectable, as they will now be closer to the surface. This is especially important with old or recycled wood being resurfaced.

7) Investigate any visual clues. If a piece of wood appears to have had a nail or screw at some time, spend extra time scanning the area around the nail hole. Old nails and screws can often break off deep inside wood when being removed.

8) Keep batteries fresh. The greatest detection strength and sensitivity is always achieved with strong batteries. We use and recommend Duracell batteries for their long life and excellent power characteristics.

9) Wet wood will give different results. When scanning wood that has been soaked in water, left in the rain, or otherwise saturated, Little Wizard readings may not be accurate. Allow your lumber to dry before scanning, and/or test the unit's effectiveness on a similarly saturated piece of wood with a known piece of metal, before using.

10) Use with care. Don't drop your Wizard or subject it to unreasonable abuse. Always remove the battery when not in use for extended periods. Don't use it outside in the rain, or in water. It's not designed for this kind of use.

The Little Wizard, when used properly, can be an effective aid in detecting hidden metal inside wood. However, as with any metal detector, it is not infallible. Always use your best judgment when preparing a piece of wood to saw or plane. If you are in doubt about a piece of lumber, always proceed with caution, and re-scan.

We're confident that the Little Wizard will become an invaluable tool in your day-to-day woodshop activities, and will pay for itself the first time you find a hidden nail or screw in wood before you cut or plane it.

Tips Welcome!!!!  Here's a couple and we'd love to hear your tips too...  

When you get your Little Wizard out of its package and powered with a Brand New Duracell 9 volt Battery please follow this advice from Billy Carmen CEO of Wizards: 

First thing to do is become one with the detector... Seriously. It is your only eyes and ears inside wood..... So when it arrives, get a brand new Duracell battery. Don't mess around with the cheap ones and don't just grab one from a drawer.

Then power it up and really get to know the tuning and testing so as to get best tune you can at each use. Try objects in mid air so as to get familiar. It will detect same through space or solid. Knowing what the detector is capable of doing is the goal.

Once you really are in tune with the instrument begin experimenting on real wood. Detect area to be cut by scanning the detector over all sides. Do small cuts initially and run the detector over any surface and side prior to each cut.

If you go a while without finding anything count your lucky stars and keep detecting!!! Eventually you are gonna hit something and you can remove it before your nice new sharp blade slices it in half..... We all want to greatly reduce that from happening. So be frequent and methodical about scanning surfaces prior to cutting.

I'm here for you 100%. I created the Little and Lumber Wizards about 20 years ago and folks seem to love them. They do help keep us out of messes. I always love hearing from folks who use our products. We love seeing pictures and videos of how folks use the tools too. Keep me posted and remember I'm always here for ya 100%...

Thanks a ton,
Billy Carmen.

For faster, more sensitive detection, consider upgrading to the Lumber Wizard or the Wood Scan Wizard. See the rest of the Wizard line of metal detectors at


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