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How to build shutters – part I

April 29, 2011

Chers Amis,

Do you have shutters on your home? Do you wish you did but can’t afford to buy them or have them made custom?  That is where we were last spring.  DH loved the idea of shutters, but when we priced them on-line we discovered that they would run between $277 – $400 a piece for solid wood.  Since we had 8 windows that needed shutters we had two choices, do without or get busy.  DH, my choleric love, got busy.  Today’s post will concentrate on just the first few steps. Follow on posts will discuss useful tools and the basics of assembly.

Step 1. Measure the windows from the top of the trim to the bottom and across the same way. We had  (6) 60″ x 30″ windows and (2) 78.5″ x 30″ windows.

Step 2. Calculate the finished size by dividing the width by 2.  For us that meant each panel needed to be 15″ wide.   We wanted the European closed board and batten look.  We used stock wood from Home depot and Lowes, pressure treated 1x4s.  Did you know that a 1×4 is not actually 4 inches wide.  Nope.  They were just shy of it so 4 boards across were plenty wide since we were not mounting them on hinges to open and close.  Each finished panel was about 14.5.  Good, good enough.

Step 3. Decide if you plan on having a ‘breadboard top” – a piece of  horizontal wood across the top of the vertical panels. DH wanted this and it did add a nice finish, but it took a good amount of work.Do you want battens – the horizontal pieces.  How will you attach the battens?  Do you want to cover the nails/screws?  We chose to attach the battens with counter-sunk screws and then cover the holes with small wood peg covers we found at Michaels in the wood craft section.

Step 4 – Calculate how many linear feet of wood you will need for each shutter.  For example,  for each shutter for our 60″ x 30″ windows we needed: 4  long boards cut to 60″ = 240″

1 bread box top                 = 14.5 ”

2 battens                         = 29″

for a total of   284.5 inches or roughly 24 linear feet.  Multiply this number times 2 for the total per window, multiply by the number of windows of that size. We bought a LOT of wood.

Step 5 – Make bill of materials and purchase.  Take the extra time to choose each piece of wood as we found that some of the wood was warped and twisted and we literally had to wrestle it into submission with clamps.

Step 6 – Useful tools – clamps! We could not have made the shutters without clamps. I could go on and on about tools, but must run and finish dinner.  More to come! 


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Terri Sue permalink
    May 1, 2011 2:14 pm

    This is a great informative start. Thank you!

  2. March 15, 2014 6:28 pm

    Fabulous, what a web site it is! This weblog presents helpful facts to us,
    keep it up.

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