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The Humble Horseshoe Packer Helps More Than You Think

The Simple Shim Gets Clever

In construction, particularly in trades such as glazing and carpentry, a tradie has to deal with irregular surfaces and substrates every day. They are, after all, building on what is movable Earth and with often malleable or flexible materials.

This is where the horseshoe packer comes in.

While most construction projects are measured to within a micro millimetre for accurate levelling and the most vertical of surfaces, there are often challenges with attaching new components to existing infrastructures. The most common issue is around window and door frames and when attaching new components to existing walls or floors, such as brackets, lintels and metal plates. The irregularities will form gaps between the component and the surface, making both and aesthetic issue and a structural one; these gaps make for a weak point of fixing for screws, nails or any other kind of anchor.

Bridging the Gap

With tradies being a 'think on their feet' type, over the years, shims have been made from slivers of spare timber, shaved and cut several times until it fits just right in window frames or gaps between to materials that need to be attached. This is all well and good, but the negatives are excess time spent on the worksite planing little bits of timber, but above all, the timber itself may not last the test of time. Wood can corrode, should moisture get in, and it is susceptible to termites and general weathering due to temperature or atmosphere changes, rendering the shim useless.

The Shimming Solution

Today, there is a solution that solves all shimming challenges – horseshoe packers, like those found at Australian supplier Allfasteners. These innovative packing shims are made from solid polypropylene, so they will not rust, rot, shrink or expand. And they are made in four common gauges: 1, 2, 5 and 10mm, all of which are colour-coded, so the contractor can confidently reach for them onsite and insert them without checking sizes.

Polypropylene is also rated for very high loading and compression, so the thickness of packer you choose will stay that way once packed and fixed.

All Applications

The horseshoe packer is used for many different things. Despite being invented to solve a handful of problems, typical to the nature of the trades, contractors come up with new ways of using them across all types of construction and handyman jobs – levelling wonky toilets, as spacers in paving or large tiling jobs or when evenly spacing post-laid flooring away from walls.

The Humble Horseshoe Packer Helps More Than You Think


Construction materials companies continue to build on the innovation, introducing new thicknesses and well as lengths and features that make installation easier. Again, Allfasteners offer a variant on the horseshoe packer that eliminates the need for using two shims over a wider space – the 140mm horseshoe packer. Instead of trying to hold two shims in place in two fixing points while you wonder how you are going to grow a third hand with which to drive a fastener, the 140mm option covers both points, so you can hold it in place with one hand and drive the fastener with the other.

And to aid accurate installation whilst keeping things tidy, some horseshoe packers feature a snap-off thumb tab. You simply insert the shim in the gap between materials-often where a hand won't fit-whilst holding the tab, then tighten the fastener and snap the tab off. No squashed hands, no levelling issues and no unsightly packer edges.