Shim gauge - Fine Homebuilding
previous
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Buyer's Guide to Insulation
    Buyer's Guide to Insulation
  • Electrical Articles & Videos
    Electrical Articles & Videos
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Video: Build a curved step
    Video: Build a curved step
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • 9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertops Ideas
  • Shorten a Prehung Door
    Shorten a Prehung Door
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • 12 Remodeling Secrets
    12 Remodeling Secrets
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • The Hobbit House and More
    The Hobbit House and More
  • How to Install Housewrap Solo
    How to Install Housewrap Solo
  • Play the Inspector Game!
    Play the Inspector Game!
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • The Passive House Build
    The Passive House Build
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Remodeling in Action
    Remodeling in Action
next


Shim gauge

comments (1) January 31st, 2011 in Project Gallery
Click the thumbs up button above to vote for this tip. Help us choose Fine Homebuildings top-10 window and door tips. Click To Enlarge

Click the "thumbs up" button above to vote for this tip. Help us choose Fine Homebuilding's top-10 window and door tips

Photo: Drawing by Chuck Miller

In home building, square, level, and plumb are admirable goals, but we sometimes fall a little short of the ideal. As a consequence, we turn to shims. They are vital for adjusting the fit of prehung doors, banks of cabinets, and custom built-ins, or for just about any other finish-carpentry task. Traditional tapered shims are nice because they can be adjusted incrementally to ensure a perfectly plumb or level installation. To me, though, this benefit is also their downfall. Because the face of the shim is tapered, the object I’m adjusting ultimately is resting on only a sliver of the shim, rather than bearing on its full surface.

To remedy this problem, I filched an old stairbuilder’s trick by making a gauge to measure the size of the gap I’m trying to fill. As shown in the drawing, I cut a scrap of wood into the shape of a thick shim. Then I marked the points on the shim where it diminished in size by 1/16 in. with numbers and contrasting bands of color so that they are identified easily.

Now I can slide my shim gauge between a door jamb and a king stud until the prehung unit is plumb, look at the depth indicated on the gauge, and rip a flat-face piece of stock to the exact thickness I need.


Justin Fink, Glastonbury, CT 
From Fine Homebuilding 185, pp. 30

 

Become a Fine Homebuilding Member

to view this article and over a thousand more

Learn More

posted in: Project Gallery, windows, doors

Comments (1)

lindalan lindalan writes: Geez, How long does it take you to hang a door?!

Yes, shims are tapered. Thats why carpenters use one from each side.

I generally use about 6 shims per jamb plus 2 or 3 for the head. If you're sawing 14 or more shims, of which many or most are different, you're adding a lot of time to a 20 minute job.
Posted: 6:16 pm on March 22nd

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.