Can I cut my shims?


Last night I spent a couple agrravating hours trying to zero in on 15/32" with my Freud 208 stacked dado, but eventually gave up. Unplug the saw, take out the insert, take off the arbor nut, blade, chippers, struggle with the little brass(?) shims, remove/add as necessary replace, test cut, get irritated, repeat, and repeat, and repeat.
Today I see someone recommended a set like LV has: http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1,41080,41165&p0063 with "cutouts" in them to make it easier to add/remove the shims at least. So, before I place my order for a set, can I just cut a similar cut out in my brass shims with some tin snips to get the same effect, or will the very act skew the shim width out of tolerance?
Argh! Dukester
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Sure, give it a try. If you are going to buy a new set anyway what do you have to loose?
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My second thoughts on the matter. You notice that these shims are being applied with a pair of tweezers. That will be a hassle. IMHO you still want to remove a blade and then put the shim on. Having problems with removing the shim because it slips down into the threads of the arbor? Get a magnetic set that will not slip down in to the threads and stick to the blade when you remove the blade. No need to take shims off separately with out a blade or chipper coming off at the same time. The shims will come off with the blades.
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Dukes909 wrote:

I'm a little confused. How could it take you so long? I'd figure at the most three or four setups, and maybe 30 or 40 minutes.
In any event, frustrating is frustrating regardless of what insult the clock adds to it. On the bright side, once you have the correct combination of blades and shims, write it down and the next time it's a one shot deal.
If you're trying to adjust the width on a trial and error basis, that's can be a problem. Start out undersize on your first setup, plow a test then put a micrometer on the dado and subtract that amount from the mic'd thickness of the piece fitting into the dado. Find a shim or combination of shims that is a couple or few thousandths greater than that difference, install them (not as a group - alternate with chippers/blades) and you'll be good to go.
R
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In one of the mags I get suggested:
Make the dado slightly oversized Put your stock in the dado Fill in gap with extra shims However many extra shims fit is the number you need to remove
I can usually get it right on the second test cut this way.
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Now there is a good suggestion. Thanks.
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RayV wrote:

Well, you have at least one convert to that method. Me! Thanks.
R
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And cardboard [hard chipboard or poster board] works just fine in conjunction with paper shims. Cheap! Bugs
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On Wed, 15 Mar 2006 14:45:30 -0600, "Dukes909"

I have those shims; I've found you need a LONG pair of tweezers and it can be tricky even then.
What I did, is take a piece of scrap, and use every combination of dado blades to make a series of grooves. I measured the grooves with dial calipers and marked each one with the measurement. That is my starting point and I only have to do that once
When it is time to make a dado, I measure the stock to go in the dado with the same dial caliper to determine what the shims need to be, and I often hit the mark on the first try.

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