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Restoring Old Shutters

What to do with the gaps

guys on stairs
Q:

I'm restoring 163-year-old shutters. I have been pulling apart the shutters and rebuilding stiles and rails where necessary. Do I use waterproof glue on the mortise and tenon joints when I reassemble them? The joints were pegged and thin wedges of wood were driven into the voids to stabilize the joints. I have been using marine glue for my repairs. Can you help?

— Tom, Hartsdale, New York

A:

Steve Thomas replies : The fact that the joints were shimmed suggested that there were gaps between the mortises and the tenons. I would use a marine grade epoxy, a two-part epoxy designed for building boats, available at your local marine supply center. You can add various thickeners to the epoxy so it will fill any gaps. Do not glue the louvers; let them float in their mortises to allow for the expansion and contraction of the frame.

 
 

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