Another electrical question. When I installed my electrical boxes I tried my best to leave 5/8" (the thickness of my drywall) between the forward edge of the receptacle box and the stud. Unfortunately this did not work out very well and I have wound up with several boxes that are 1/8 or 2/8 shy of the drywall. I saw a discussion the other day that spoke about a plastic collar that you could add to the boxes in order to extend their depth. Well, I'd like to avoid all that hassle if possible. I was thinking of installing a few washers on the shaft of the screw that secures the receptacle. In this way the receptacle will be flush with the drywall. The only problem I can think of with this is that there is now less receptacle surface area in contact with the edge of the receptacle box and this might lead to wobble.
Anybody do something like this before? Did you find problems with this? Anything against this in the electrical code.
BTW, I've always wondered what the circular tabs are on the top and bottom of receptacles. They seem to be deliberately notched so that you could break them off. If you break them off you theoretically would wind up with 4 decent washers. I wonder if this was the intention of these tabs? Or are they used for something else. Just speculating ;)
I have used washers in the way you suggest. It works fairly well. However if the drywall is cut accuratly around the box the tabs on the top and bottom of the outlet shuold sit on top of the drywall and be locked tight as you screw the outlet in. However I realize that in real life this kind of accuracy is not always achievable, so yes the washer method works.
As for the electrical code I really don't know. I wouldn't think it would be a problem as long as you are using small washers that don't come into contact with anything else, but I will leave that part of the question for someone else.
Looks like Mark's already answered your primary questions, so I'm left with the curiosity-related one - of the breakable ears.
When used with drywall or similar materials, those ears are intended to lock the receptacle or switch to the front surface. When, however, you hang a box (particularly a steel box like a Kindorf) with no intention of surrounding it with such material - like if you hang a Handy-Box on the side of your workbench - those ears are to be broken off. A Handy-Box, you see, has little tabs that tip OUTward from the box instead of tabs that tip INward. The tabs are recessed slightly, and the switch's (or receptacle's) mounting plate fits nicely inside the recesses.
In other situations, such as remodel work using steel boxes and F-straps or plastic remod boxes without F-straps, again the ears should be broken off. Remod boxes are built with their OWN ears, and the ears on a switch or receptacle won't fit inside the loop formed by the ears on the box.
I posted the information about the extensions for boxes. They are metal and they are designed for gaps much bigger than you are talking about. In the case I used them I had about 3.4 of an inch to extend. I added 1/2 inch backer board and then 1/4 tile.
for your gap I would just use the tabs on the recepticals. Almost every "pro" job i have seen has that much veriation.