Making plantation shuttersFrom time to time, people have asked me how to make louvered shutters like this one. I don't have a need for any louvered shutters myself, but my pantorouter is well suited for making them, so I though I'd build one just to demonstrate.
I used that shape to then generate a template for cutting the slanted mortises. The template has a series of angled tracks that the follower guide bearing can roll around in. Basically, the template is for making a series of angled mortises in a rail.
Next I full-screened the image, took a screenshot by pushing the "print screen" key on the keyboard, and then imported the image into my BigPrint program. I then used a known dimension on the template to set the scale, and printed it across two pages.
A tricky aspect is getting the vertical alignment of the template just right. The black line on the template represents the level of the table, so with a 1/4" bit in the router and a 1/2" follower bearing, when the bit rests on the table, the bottom edge of the bearing should just be on that line.
Once six slots are cut, I turn off the router, unclamp the workpiece, and move it over by five slots. Then I move the router back to the first slot position and line it up with the last slot cut in the rail. Once that's done, I can re-clamp and mill another five slots.
The two rails are mirror images of each other, so I need another template with the slots slanting in the opposite direction. But I made my template without any sort of backer board, so I can just take the template off, flip it side to side, and use it to mill the matching slots.
Looking at the router bits I had, I had a bit for the half round, but it had the wrong radius. I also had a roman ogee bit, with a 1/8" radius inside round that I could have used, but that would have taken two passes per side for each slat.
But a catch with that bit is that it has this other point near the top of the bit, and I was afraid that I might accidentally make contact with that.
After a bit of experimenting, I found that inserting them from one end and working towards the other end worked best. I had to put a clamp on the end that I had already done to keep it from popping apart again.
but I still need to cut the joints for the top and bottom rail, so it all has to come apart again.
My initial thought was to use mortise and tenon joints on the top and bottom, but that would require assembling the mortise and tenons at the same time as the slats -- as if the slats themselves weren't tricky enough.
So I used my tilting router lift and tilted a small roman ogee bit by 45 degrees.
Finished shutter. I don't actually have a use for it - I only built it to show how the Pantorouter can be used to make shutters like this.
Finger joints on the pantorouter