Shim Box

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Project by FirehouseWoodworking posted 10-21-2010 05:44 AM 3109 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While I enjoy building projects and furniture as well as cabinets and remodeling work, I find some of the greatest pleasure from building rather utilitarian projects that I use around the shop or on jobs. This is one of those projects.

My Shim Box is probably 15 years old now. I built it to hold the shims I cut from leftover scraps of plywood. You have to understand that I tend to be a packrat who hates to throw out anything that “I might be able to use” at some later date.

While I do still use them in certain applications, I prefer not to use the traditional tapered wood shims when installing doors and windows. I did not like the way they offered so little wood bearing surface. Roofing shakes work fine but they are expensive and there is so much waste.

Instead, I took scrap plywood, masonite, and OSB and cut them into 3”x5” pieces. I used 1/8”, 1/4”, 7/16”, and 1/2” predominantly for my shims. Then I needed some way to keep them organized. Hence, my Shim Box.

It is made from scraps of various hardwood (cherry, red oak, and ash) that I had “packratted away”. The openings in the sides allow for easy removal of shims. It was finished with two coats of water-based polyurethane. The bottom plate (which you can’t easily see in the photos) is champherred at 45-degrees which keeps the sides up off the floor. This has prevented any splintering. It has held up well all these years.

Keeping the shims at 3”x5” makes it easy to cut when I generate any scrap. Anything that is too small gets trashed. If the thickness is already full in my Shim Box, then I just store them for later refills. Helps to keep the packratting down.

Now, if I can only figure out what to do with all those sticks I’m now using for stickering . . .

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

11 comments so far

View mrg's profile


881 posts in 4081 days

#1 posted 10-21-2010 05:55 AM

That is a neat little shim carrier.

-- mrg

View Sodabowski's profile


2400 posts in 3914 days

#2 posted 10-21-2010 09:33 AM

You can always use the stickering sticks for turning pens, or glue them up into boards :p

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3920 days

#3 posted 10-21-2010 01:09 PM

Only a seriously organized person would come up with this idea! So many talented TOOL and workshop type designers are on this site! You guys amaze me. This shim holder reminds me of the basket I use for picnics- it has dividers for napkins, forks, knives etc. But I use it rarely. I imagine your basket holder has been productively used zillions of times over 15 years. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4197 days

#4 posted 10-22-2010 12:12 AM

great little box for the Diy person :-)
thankĀ“s for sharing it


View NormG's profile


6507 posts in 4085 days

#5 posted 10-23-2010 10:08 PM

If it works, then it is worth while to have

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 4353 days

#6 posted 11-16-2010 12:53 AM

Now that is a good idea – they are easy to transport, always close & handy, and well organized…

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Blozo  's profile


146 posts in 3726 days

#7 posted 03-02-2011 10:32 PM

that is a neat idea. I always find myself cutting different thickness of wood to use as spacers. i sure can put this idea to use and keep my spacers for future use the design is awsome too, definately was not just thrown together

-- eat crap

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4549 posts in 3643 days

#8 posted 05-27-2011 04:46 AM

When I first looked at it I said great I can make my wife a Napkin holder for the table. Well I was almost right.
Great work and finish

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 4188 days

#9 posted 05-27-2011 07:43 AM

I gotta do something like that. I have shims stacked every where and I’m always knocking them over. That looks to be as handy as a third hand.

View Nate Meadows's profile

Nate Meadows

1132 posts in 3288 days

#10 posted 05-25-2012 12:43 PM

Nice Idea. More importantly. Thank you so much for your service. For giving so much to this country!

Very Gratefully,


-- "With a little bit of faith, and some imagination, you can build anything!" Nate

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


787 posts in 4355 days

#11 posted 05-25-2012 08:41 PM

Right back at you, Nate!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

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