Louvered window and door shutters are an aesthetically pleasing way of ensuring privacy whilst encouraging airflow. Similarly, crafting these pieces yourself allows you to guarantee that the elements in your home are unique and that no one will have the same shutters as you.
1. Firstly, you’ll need to cut the slats, stiles, and rails to a size that suits the needs of your project. Each slat will need to cover one vertical inch of space whilst a 1/8” gap needs to be left between the corresponding rails and the top and bottom slats. Once you have established the dimensions of the slats, you can make an informed decision as to how long and thick your rails should be.
2. Next, you’ll need to round over the long edges of your slats using the round-over carbide router bit and bearing tip. Be sure to adjust the depth so that the lower edge is flush with the router table’s top. Once you have set this up, you’ll need to position one slat flat on the router table and push it against the bearing down each of the long edges. This should be done from left to right, otherwise, you risk losing control of the tool. Upon your slats being rounded over, you should sand each of them for a smooth finish.
3. After this, you’ll need to cut the mortises in the stiles so that the tenons can be installed to hold the frame in place. This should be done using a drill press with a square chisel surrounding the drill bit. The central drill bit will remove most of the material, and the square chisel does the rest in creating a square hole. Alternatively, you might use a straight bit on your router table and ease the stock down onto the bit before neatening up your work with a chisel. The mortises should be roughly half the width of the stock.
4. Once you’ve cut your mortises, you’ll need to make your tenons to match. There are multiple ways you can do this, whether you cut them using a table saw, band saw, or hand saw.
5. To easily cut your louver, you should make a louver jig for your router out of scrap plywood. You’ll need to place one piece of 1 x 2” in a 45-degree angle and fix this to two long boards. Next, you should position your router with a 1/4” radius straight cutting bit on the two long boards and fix a second board parallel to the first angled board. Then, you should take a piece of scrap that is the same size as the stile to be grooved, make a mark in the middle and make a 45-degree mark through the intersection. Finally, mark ¾” in each direction from the center.
6. Next, you should use your louver jig to cut the grooves for your louvers. You should make pencil marks on your corresponding pieces and use your router tool to cut your pieces. Using this template is the best way to ensure symmetry on each of your pieces.
7. After this, you’ll need to assemble your louvers by gluing your slats into the grooved stiles that you’ve created.
8. Once you have assembled your louvers, you will need to clamp your pieces in place whilst the glue is drying.
9. Finally, once the glue is dried, you can finish your louvers by staining or painting them. If you do choose to paint your louvers, you should finish with a thick coat of primer. Similarly, if you opt for staining your wood, you should spray your product with lacquer to finish.