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Let’s get building! – Shutters III

May 3, 2011

Chers Amis,

So you’ve decided to make shutters. Good for you!  Today we are going to get busy building.  By now you should have determined the finished dimensions of your shutters, style, made a bill of goods for lumber, purchased the wood – nice and straight, and set up a work area with all the critical tools.  Whew!  Once you get the wood home, make sure that it is dry.  Some of the pieces we bought were damp. They will warp so let them dry out before you start building. In addition to proper tools, you will also need good wood screws, eye protection, gloves, and metal plates to attach the breadboard tops. I do not have a picture of the plates, the are roughly 8-10 inches long and 1/5 or 2″ wide, flat metal with holes punch through them on either side of the center. DH says that they are standard at any big box store and there is a picture further on down in this post.

Step 1 –  Measure, mark, remeasure, cut, set aside. We made shutters for six 60 x 30 windows.  Each shutter required four 60″ boards x 2/window= 48  60″ boards. We cut them and set them against a garage wall.  Note **We chose NOT to precut the battens or bread box tops. As each board is slightly off the standard four inch width so that meant that each shutter was different.  Sine we wanted a very custom look, we did not cut the top or battens until the four main boards were assembled.

Step 2 – Sand until smooth on both sides and the ends.

Step 3 – Assemble – Place the four boards side by side making sure that the tops are flush.  Use  clamps/vices to hold them tightly together.  Measure the width of the shutter.  This will be the width to cut for the two battens. 

Step 4 – Cut and prepare the battens.  At this point you will need to decide the spacing on your screws.  Dh chose to counter sink the screws and cover the holes with these nifty wooden pegs we found at Michaels. Once you decide the spacing mark the hole locations on a stiff piece of carboard or plastic the size of your standard batten which you will use as a template.  Since we knew that each batten would be roughly 14.5″ wide we cut our template the same length and width as our ideal batten, poking holes through the template at the point where the screws will go. After you cut your battens, lay your template over the wood and mark the drill points on each.

Step 5 – Route out holes for screws deep enough to allow peg covers, drill pilot holes slightly smaller than screws. You might want to use a piece of scrap wood to practice routing out the right size hole for the covers so they will be easy to pop in.  Lessons learned the hard way. 🙂

Step  6 – Attach battens –  Determine the standard distance the battens will be from the bottom and top of your shutter.  Using the builder’s square, mark location.  LIne up batten with line and clamp tightly. Attach battens to shutter body with screws. 

Step 7 – Add the Breadboard top – Measure top of shutter for breadboard (bb).  Technically you could measure and cut this at the same time as you measure and cut for the battens. Whatever works for you. It is very important that the four pieces of the shutter are as aligned as possible as you will be attaching the breadboard directly on top and you do not want a gap.  To attach the bread board, flip your shutter “face” down, hold your bb top flush. Lay your attachment plate over the edge of the bb piece so that some of the holes are on the shutter side and the others are on the bb. Mark where the holes are. Sometimes we clamped the bb piece to the shutter, but often I just held it tight.  This is a two person project!  Screw the plate into place. Now your shutter is assembled!

Step 8 – Cover counter sunk screw holes with wood peg covers.  We put a small dot of liquid nails in the hole and used a rubber mallet to tap them in. 

Step 9 – Finishing touches – prime your finished shutters with a SANDABLE oil based primer.  Tint the primer if you are going to paint the shutters a dark tone. Do not neglect to paint the back side of the shutters or they will ROT! Let them dry completely and sand until smooth.  Typically painters will use a semi-gloss paint on shutters so they will look much better if you make sure they are smooth.  Paint with final coats of good exterior paint – at least 2 as they will take a beating from the weather and secure to the house with long screws. 

Step – 10  – Step back and ask each other why you didn’t do this sooner!


PS – Please let me know if you have any specific questions.  Best of luck!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2011 7:58 am

    Wow. We admire your work. The board and batten shutters look great.

  2. July 11, 2014 1:11 am

    Hello, just wanted to mention, I liked this
    article. It was practical. Keep on posting!

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