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Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

Since the day the "fake shutters" were installed on our house when it was being built in 2001, I've wanted to replace them with real shutters complete with shutter dogs and other authentic style hardware.

Obviously, shutters were originally meant to close over the entire window for protection during storms. That idea works great for single wide windows, but what do I do about shutters for the double wide windows on our colonial style house?

Do I buy shutters with multiple hinged panels that, if unfolded, would meet in the middle to cover the entire window? Or, is that taking authenticity too far (considering that we'd never actually unfold them) and I should just select single panel shutters to install on either side of each of the double wide windows I have?

Re: Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

Bifold shutters are really hard on the joinery. The cantilevered weight makes the stress more than double. Unless you are doing a perfect restoration, I'd probably not do it. If you want to, have the shutters made from hardwood, like mahogany, with full mortise & tenon joints as they would have had originally. Pine wood and dowels really won't cut it. Make sure that the hinges are actually going into something solid. I would really question the viability of modern trim/jambs to hold actual shutters.
Hang he shutters in the proper place; originally they were hinged very near by the window sash, not on the outer edge of the trim. I'm irked to see shutters affixed with 4" of trim showing between them and the window.
Look to historical precedents for your example.

Re: Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

Excellent advice, Casey. Thank you.

Re: Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

casey is right, even for a seasoned finish carpenter such a project can be fairly tedious. i know one such guy from another forum who did just what your wondering about. he said it took him two straight days to make them plus documented the whole process. if memory serves correct it went to print in a trade magazine. hes been featured in both fine homebuilding magazine and the journal of light construction several times

Re: Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

If you are looking for historical accuracy, the louvers on shutters slanted away from the house when they were in the closed position, the opposite of how they are normally mounted as decorative shutters. The reason is that real shutters in times past were designed to let the evening air in while keeping any rain out. Likewise, if closed for a mid-day nap, they would block sunlight while still letting maximum air in.

Re: Authentic shutters: Should I even try?

Thanks, everyone! I really appreciate all this information.

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