I got tired of never having enough shims on a job site, so I designed a shim-cutting sled that I keep in the truck. It’s really just a crosscut sled with a wide, pivoting hold-down that protects my hands and firmly holds the thin strips of wood that I’m ripping. As shown in the drawing at left, I added a Plexiglas shield for protection and some shallow circular recesses cut with a Forstner bit so that I always know where my fingers should be. To make shims, I take a scrap of 2×4 about 3 in. long, and I make 89° cuts on each end. These end-grain cuts bear against the sled as the blade passes through the stock. With the blade raised enough to pass all the way through the stock, I can either cut individual shims, or I can lower the blade so that it leaves just enough stock to hold the shims together in a block until I’m done cutting. Just line up each cut with the kerf in the sled, and flip the 2×4 after each cut. You’ll never be short of shims again, and they taper to nothing (which is better than commercial shims).
Jeff Mozer, Stanton, KY
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #226