How to Cut Wood Shims

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Wooden shims are useful for levelling a floorboard, hanging a door or any project where you need a small wedge. If you're planning to shim something outdoors or in contact with a damp surface such as a floor joist against a foundation block, use treated lumber or a durable wood such as oak.

You can cut shims by feeding a block of wood by hand into a table saw blade but a homemade shim-cutting jig does the aligning for you. If you want shims wider than you can cut from a 1-inch board, make the jig out of 2-inch thick wood instead.

Saw a 1-by-6-inch board 8 inches long. Cut a narrow 7-inch-long wedge-shaped notch out of one side of the board, using a table saw, hand saw or jigsaw. The widest part of the wedge will be the maximum thickness of your shims.

  • Wooden shims are useful for levelling a floorboard, hanging a door or any project where you need a small wedge.
  • You can cut shims by feeding a block of wood by hand into a table saw blade but a homemade shim-cutting jig does the aligning for you.

Saw another 1-by-6-inch board 8 inches long. Place it flat on top of the other board and drill pilot holes for four 1 1/4-inch screws spaced near the corners. Spread carpenter's glue on the underside and screw it to the other board. When held flat against a table saw's bed, the covered notch will hold a scrap piece of 1-inch-thick board at a slight angle to the blade, allowing you to saw a shim from its edge.

Cut a 2-by-4-inch board 4 inches long and sand it smooth for a handle so you can push the jig beside the blade. Drill pilot holes for two 2 1/2 inch screws running up from the bottom of the 6-inch boards into the block. Sink the heads so they won't rub against the table. Glue and screw the handle in place.

  • Saw another 1-by-6-inch board 8 inches long.
  • Place it flat on top of the other board and drill pilot holes for four 1 1/4-inch screws spaced near the corners.

Set the jig on the saw's table and insert the end of a scrap 1-inch board into the notch. Set the fence so the blade will saw the board 1/16 inch beyond the edge of the jig. Start the saw and push the scrap board and the jig toward the blade, slicing off a small wedge-shaped shim that remains underneath the jig.

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