During the short span I have filmed my projects, I have learned quite a bit about filming. One thing that affects the camera the most, is sunlight! Overexposed shots make for horrible videos.
I quickly covered the windows with what I could find: scrap wood, garbage bags, and cardboard. This seemed just as bad as the sunlight, it was ugly to look at! I reviewed my options and decided I would install plantation style shutters. They are classy, seemed easy enough to build, and they were able to be opened to allow me access to the windows.
I searched the web long and hard for different DIY plantation shutter systems. To be as fair, Rockler was kind enough to send me their shutter system. There are other systems out there but I do not have any experience with them.
Rockler’s Shutter System is phenomenal! When you pair it with their pre-milled stock, it goes extremely fast! I build the shutter for one window AND videoed the process, all within a few hours. Directions were easy to understand and follow, the jigs, parts, and hardware are extremely high quality. The system is downright user friendly. I was a bit uneasy about building the first set on camera so I picked the window by my miter saw to do a trial run. I learned a few things that I passed along in the video and are easily avoidable. The quality from the first shutter to the shutter I did on camera is much better. Practice makes perfect!
Detailed construction notes:
I started out by visiting www.rockler.com and reading their measuring guide. It is very important to decide how the shutters will be attached to the window casing and then measure accordingly. Once the attachment method was determined, I measured my window and entered these measurements into Rockler’s Shutter Wizard. Once all the measurements are entered, the Shutter Wizard automatically generated the plans.
With the plans in hand I started with Rockler’s pre-milled stock. It needs to be cut to width and length, the thickness is okay from the factory (5/4).
I cut the rails and stiles to length at the miter saw according to the dimensions listed in the plan. I then cut the rails and stiles to width at the table saw. The bottom of the top rail and the top of the bottom rail both require a rabbit so the louvers can fully close. I installed a 1/4″ dado stack into the table saw and completed these rabbits.
The plans call for an aesthetically pleasing chamfer on all the face sides of the rails and a bead detail on inside edge of both faces on the stiles. I head to the router table and complete these decorative details with two separate router bits. The first router bit was a 45 degree chamfer bit and the second was from Rockler’s shutter system. It is called a beading bit.
Next, I used Rockler’s drilling guide to drill the holes in the stiles so the louvers can index and rotate. With the special indexing drill bit and the template, this couldn’t be any easier. Each set of holes in the template correspond to the style of shutters you are making. The hole in the picture is marked with the black triangle, this hole is for the 3 1/2″ movable louvers.
You can select any time of joinery for joining the rails and stiles together. I would have used my domino but I wanted to show how easy it was to use Rockler’s doweling jig. Quite honestly, I was very surprised at the results. I am not sure why I had a negative view towards dowels but that was defiantly changed by this project.
Time to move onto the louvers. The pre-milled louvers are the shipped in long lengths of stock. I needed to cut them down to the length. I was able to get three louvers out of each length of stock. Now we need to cut a small rabbit in one corner of the louver, this is for the hidden control arm. I made this cut at the table saw using a 1/4″ dado stack, a sacrificial fence, and a miter sled.
I then drilled both the louver pin hole and the small hole in the rabbit we made earlier. These holes were both made with another Rockler template.
With all the parts cut to size, rabbits milled, holes drilled, beads and chamfers made, we can now assemble. Assembly was pretty straight forward, but one thing worth mentioning is when gluing on the top stile, it is a bit tricky to get the louver pins all lined up. The trick I came up with, is to make sure the dowels are all in their holes, then pivot one side and line up each louver pin separately. Move down the line until all the pins are in and then fully seat the stile in place.
Once the glue dries, we can install the hinges.
After hinge installation we can install the shutters in place.
I did not finish the shutters with paint or stain. I will eventually stain these shutters after I get all the walls painted in my shop.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment below.
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