April 6, 2007

Handi-Shims - Review

hs_side.jpgOne of the more interesting products we saw at this year’s JLC Live, was the Handi-Shim. We talked to the guys at the booth and they were pretty excited about their little multi-colored, reusable shims. In fact, they were nice enough to let us take a bag to test out. Well for about two weeks now, we’ve been using them for just about everything and we have to say that we’re very impressed. They are a quick, easy, and durable alternative to traditional shim shingles and because they are reusable, they make for an economic purchase as well.

The shims come in three sizes; 1/16” (red), 1/8” (white), and 1/4” (blue), and are 1-3/4” by 1-3/4” (we've also been notified that a fourth shim; green and measuring 1/32" is in the works). With such convenient sizes, just about any measurement can be achieved with a combination of these three. In addition, they are made so that you can easily snap each one into four smaller shims. This gave our bag of 30 the potential of being a bag of 120.

hs_bag.jpgWe checked each and every shim in the bag (30 of them) to see if there were any irregularities or little attached blobs of plastic left over from the casting process that would interfere with their accuracy, but there were none. We then randomly picked out a dozen or so to confirm the measurements. We were impressed that each shim was dead on. You can be confident that a 1/8” Handi-Shim is going to give you a 1/8” gap, nothing more and nothing less.

Once we were aware of their precision and consistency, we were able to, not only use them as shims, but also as a quick scribing tool. If you need to take 1/8” off, why bother get out the dividers and deal with setting them when you can just grab a Handi-Shim? In fact, as a rule, we avoid using dividers and usually use a small block of wood, finding it to be more reliable, so the Handi-Shims fit our needs perfectly.

But how strong are they? If left in a wall, shimming a structural piece, will they just compress over time, defeating the purpose altogether? To investigate this, we took a 1/4” shim and put it in our heavy duty bench vise. We crushed the thing with a tremendous amount of pressure and when we let off and took it out, it measured at just a hair, not even 1/64”, under 1/4”.

hs_split.jpgOnce we started working with the shims, we got to thinking about all the different uses for them; tile layout, plumbing, stonework, windows, hinges, and on and on. A few weeks ago, we replaced a number of cabinet doors and we would have saved a lot of time, not to mention anguish, if we’d been using Handi-Shims.

Handi Shims can be bought in bags of 30, 100, or 1000. You can get one specific width or an assortment bag, depending on your needs. A bag of 30 is only $3.99, which makes them a great deal considering that they are reusable. We highly recommend Handi-Shims to anyone.

Available at Handi-Shim

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 6, 2007 6:53 AM
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