Perhaps My Favorite Discovery


I’m sitting in a hotel room an hour outside Denver, and to kill a little time before leaving for the airport, I’ve been scrolling through my phone and wondering why I took some of the odd pictures thereupon (also, I’m a lot closer to being caught up on email than I’ve been in ages!).

But I know why I took the one above.

I don’t know exactly what it’s called, but that little neon greeny-yellow plastic shim thing for outlets? Brilliant! At least half the receptacle boxes in my house were inserted too deeply into the plaster, so I’ve had to live with recessed outlets for years (oh, the humanity).

Now, thanks to a three-cent piece of plastic, problem solved.

Would that the solutions to all my problems were so cheap and easy (though with a shorter discovery time).

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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8 Responses to Perhaps My Favorite Discovery

  1. Jason says:

    Absolutely brilliant! Where did you get those little buggers? I could use them myself.

  2. billlattpa says:

    Those are Ideal Receptacle Shims, somewhere around $8 per pack. They do a nice job on uneven plaster walls and help to set the wall plates.

  3. Al Flinck says:

    The little ear flanges with the #6 hole on the outlet itself can be bent off and used for shims. I don’t think that is well known because when the proper size cutout is made for the box those same ears function as a flush to wall stop when the box has been recessed too far.

  4. wb8nbs says:

    I always break off the little washers (plaster ears?) And put them under the screw.

  5. Bob Jones says:

    I installed airstone bricks in my kitchen and used about 20 of those stacked together to bring the outlets out far enough. It looks nice when it’s covered up 🙂

  6. Tom Dickey says:

    Sometimes it is the small things in life!

  7. m46opie says:

    Yup. Used to work in a hardware store and helped folks fix all kinds of problems like that.
    A REAL Hardware store. With bins of nails, mix the paint custom, cut rope, take the truck and fix the swamp cooler at the Widow Johnsons’ place, you get the point.

    Now we all go into our local box store and are on our own. Sad but true.

    Mark Singleton
    Santa Maria, Ca

  8. Charles G says:

    I use those little nylon “spacer” washers you can get at any decent hardware store. They come in varying thicknesses, so you can get them to work even for the “drywall over plaster” situation in many old homes. Buy some longer #8 machine screws while you’re there. You may need them.

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