Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shimming the Tree

Here's a confession which will give you a very clear understanding of just how "inexperienced" a builder I was before beginning my housebuilding project:  I didn't even know what a shim was.  In fact, even after I looked it up because it was referenced in the house plans I bought from Owen Geiger, I still didn't really understand the term.

It wasn't until I helped Aly hang her doors that I truly comprehended shimming.  Thank God our friend Jeremy (who helped me move the bus way back when) was there too.  Because while Aly at least knew what a shim was, neither of us was really prepared for the exercise in precision that hanging doors is.  Jeremy, however, is a construction guy (and a really great teacher, I might add).  He was very patient with our ignorance, and walked us through the whole process.  Because Aly's doorway wasn't quite plumb, we had to make shims, so I got to see exactly what they are and what they're for.  Pretty nifty.   Jeremy even let me operate his circular saw, a first for me.  Turns out I'm pretty good at it, but power tools still kinda freak me out.

Sorry for the crappy quality; these were taken with my phone.

My second experience using shims has come unexpectedly.  I bought a Christmas tree last weekend, and while installing it in its stand, I realized the trunk was too skinny for the screws that hold it in place, so my four-year-old's dad helped out by making four shims, one for each screw.

Useful buggers, shims!  You just never know where they'll come in handy.


  1. You used a circular saw! Wow, I am soooo impressed. I find power tools scary too. Thank you for introducing me to shimming. It may come in handy some day :-)))

  2. Not too shabby! Well done with the saw business! And that it so one well-shimmed tree.

  3. You used a circular saw? you really are my hero. I don't think I'd even heard the word shim before reading this post, and I'm still not quite sure what it is: a small scrap of wood to embiggen things? When I shove a bit of ply under a cupboard to stop it falling forward, as I have to do in this wonky house, is that bit of ply a shim?

  4. Geez, I'm getting worse and worse about responding to comments in a timely manner. Oh well, I'll use the holidays as an excuse this time :)

    Lou - Yes, how are those words related? Makes me curious.

    Claire - Glad I'm not the only one who wasn't familiar with shimming :)

    Postie - Thanks. I'm guessing you were already quite familiar with the shimming process.

    Eryl - That's a perfect definition, and I love your word "embiggen." And yes, your bit of ply is a shim. Don't you feel empowered in your carpenter role now?

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