How to Cut Wood Wedges & Shims

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Make your own jigs for cutting wedges and shims with a table saw and scrap wood.
Make your own jigs for cutting wedges and shims with a table saw and scrap wood. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Wedge cutting jigs make it simple and quick for someone to cut wedges and shims out of wood. Wedges have long been used to split logs, rocks and other large objects. Today, they are commonly used to split wood, tighten joints and cut tree branches. Shims typically are made from thin pieces of wood, and are used to adjust the space between two pieces of wood, brick or metal. Although you can buy wedges and shims, you can easily make your own using common woodworking tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Scrap plywood
  • Pencil compass or miter gauge
  • Hand or jig saw
  • Steel wood screws
  • Scrap wood
  • Table saw with rip fence

Shim Cutting Jig

Mark out a 6-by-6-inch square on a piece of scrap plywood or hardwood. Decide what angle you want your shim to be. Use a pencil compass or miter gauge to mark that angle on one edge of the plywood square.

Cut along the marked angle line with a hand or jig saw.

Mark out a 3-by-6-inch block from a scrap piece of pine or other scrap wood. Cut that piece out with a hand or jig saw.

Hold the 3-by-6-inch board in the center of one flat side of the plywood square. Use a power drill to thread four steel wood screws through the bottom center of the square, into the narrow block.

Place the straight edge of the plywood square against the rip fence on a table saw. Make sure the right edge is lined up just to the right of the cutting blade on the table saw. Hold onto the narrow block as a handle, when making shims.

Turn on the blade, and carefully cut shims out of scrap wood by holding the jig you just created in your right hand and slowly pushing the edge of a piece of scrap wood through the saw blade along the exposed edge of the jig. Turn off the saw, and examine the angled shim you have just cut. Make more shims as needed.

Wedge Cutting Jig

Mark a piece of scrap wood so that it measures 3-by-5-inches. Use a miter gauge or pencil compass to mark a 7-degree angle into one long edge of the piece.

Cut out the wedge guide with a hand or jig saw.

Mark a piece of scrap plywood so that it measures 2-by-5 inches. Cut out this piece of plywood with a hand or jig saw.

Mark a piece of scrap wood so that it measures 2-by-3 inches. Cut out this piece with a hand or jig saw.

Use a power drill to thread four metal wood screws through the corners of the plywood, into the top of the wedge shim body piece. Set the 2-by-3-inch piece in the top center of the plywood, and thread two steel wood screws through the top of it into the plywood, to create a handle for your wedge shim.

Place the straight edge of the wedge body against the rip fence on a table saw. Make sure the edge with the wedge angle cut out is lined up just to the right of the cutting blade on the table saw. Hold onto the handle when making wedges.

Turn on the blade, and carefully cut wedges out of scrap wood by holding the wedge jig you just created in your right hand and slowly pushing the edge of a piece of scrap wood through the saw blade along the exposed edge of the jig. Turn off the saw, and examine the wedge you have just cut. Make more wedges as needed.

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