Wedges or shims are often used to fill gaps, or raise certain objects, or even fix something firmly in place.
Setting up a door frame often involves the use of at least a few shims and hence they are considered to be very handy.
You can make shims or wedges on a table saw using two blocks of wood.
In this guide, I'll show you how to make a lot of wedges quickly and repeatedly using a table saw.
Things You'll Need
- Table Saw
- Hand Saw
- Bench Vice
- Measuring Tape
Since most probably you'll want to make multiple wedges, making a jig for it is the best way to do it.
The jig can then be used to cut multiple wedges or shims using the table saw.
Step 1: Making a Simple Wooden Jig for Making Wedges
To make this jig take a 2x6 board around 13 inches long.
The exact length does not matter much, it should be long enough for the wedge you intend to create.
The thickness of the board you use to make the jig must be the same as the wood from which you ultimately plan to make wedges.
So if you are going to make wedges from 1.5" thick wood, you can use any board that's 1.5" thick to make the jig.
If you have a longer piece then cut it down to size using a table saw or miter saw.
If your piece of timber was bought from a store, there is a good chance that they are rounded at the edges.
Since shims must have sharp and straight edges, in case they are rounded then you will have to cut those edges off.
Place the board along the fence of the saw and cut it length-wise at about a half of an inch thickness.
That should eliminate the rounded edges.
Now repeat the same process on the other side and you'll have a piece of wood without rounded edges that are around five inches long.
Now you have to decide on the length and taper of your desired wedges.
I want mine at 10 inches long and ½ inch thick at the base.
Using a pencil and a measuring tape, measure and mark the dimensions of the wedge on the board.
In this case, I've marked a width of ½" and a length of 10" on the board for the wedge.
After marking both the length and width of the wedge, use a ruler to draw a tapered line from the one-inch width to the corner of the wood as shown below.
Next, you need to cut that marked part off the board.
To do so, you can use a band saw or a jigsaw.
If you want to cut the wood without using any power tools, use a hand saw instead.
I'll be using a hand saw.
Clamp the wood firmly into a bench vice.
Begin cutting through the wood with the help of a hand saw.
Make sure to follow the cut line correctly.
Once the wedge is cut from the wood, you'll be left with a piece like the one below.
The next step is to make a guard for this jig while using it on the table saw to prevent kickback.
To make a guard for this jig, take a scrap piece of wood with the same length as the jig and either glue or screw it onto the top of the wood.
With that, the wedge cutting jig is complete.
Step 2: Using the Jig to Cut Wedges on Table Saw
Once the jig is ready, cutting wedges with this jig is a fairly simple task.
Take a block of wood with the same thickness as the jig.
In case you need to make wedges from thicker wood, make the jig from a thicker piece of wood.
Here I've taken another 2x6 with the rounded edges cut off.
Place the wood to be cut inside the wedge in the jig.
Set the rip fence of the table saw such that the blade begins cutting at the corner of the wood.
Turn on the saw and gently guide the wood through the saw using a push block.
Once a wedge is cut, simply flip the wood and cut again.
Repeat this process until you have enough wedges/shims.
If you need a wedge of another size, cut the jig according to that dimension and do the same process.
Tips for Safety
- Never stay right behind or too close to the running blade to avoid injury in case of kickback. Kickback is extremely dangerous and must be prevented at all costs.
- Make sure the saw teeth are facing in the right direction of rotation. (Clockwise direction in case of table saw).
Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)
What are builders' wedges used for?
Builders Wood flooring and decking, window and door casings, roofing timbers, and rafters all employ wedges as a load-bearing spacer. For levelling, wood wedges are frequently employed.
What is a falling wedge?
A felling wedge helps the tree fall in the direction of the notch cut by lifting the tree in that direction.