Traditional plantation shutters have louvers that you can reposition for comfort or protection from the elements. They give you the option of closing the shutters and leaving the louvers open, depending on your needs. Louvered shutters became popular in warmer climates because they allow air to enter the home even when you shut them. Interior plantation shutters provide privacy along with protection from weather.
Interior plantation shutters can be half height or full height. Most people will use louvered shutters inside the home to control light and air. Shutters installed inside the window can also operate independently; therefore, you can install dual sets with bottom shutters that improve your home's security, along with those that let in light and air at the top of the window. Full height plantation shutters are a good choice for exterior applications. Generally, exterior plantation style shutters have fixed decorative louvers.
Shutter Construction Plans
The simplest plantation shutters require intermediate woodcraft skills. To make louvered shutters, you will need a router and a jig to create the holes for each of the slats. Each window will use two panels that you attach to the window frame with hinges. In most designs, the panels have a center bar that you use to control the position of the louvers.
Measure the windows and divide this amount in half. Subtract the width of the hanging strip that you will use to attach the shutter to window with the hinges. Use the Australian Woodsmith plan for half-height plantation shutters that also block out light when closed. The full window plantation shutters plan in the 1997 American Woodworker magazine details the steps for construction of your frame, the louvers, the stiles and rails. This plan also has a suggested list of materials and tools, and has resources for ordering louvers or measuring and making your own.
Precise measurements are very important in the construction of plantation shutters. One approach that can help you get the design steps right is downloading free three-dimensional plantation shutter plans that you can modify with Google Sketchup. You can view available plans online, but you need to download the program and install it on your computer if you find a plan that you want to view in detail. Then you can adapt one of the available plans to fit your measurements. Reputable woodworking sites have plans for plantation shutters for less than $10. DVDs with plans, construction steps and tool tips cost a little more. Making a small investment gives you the security of having a blueprint to follow. You may also find high-quality plans at your library or a vocational school.
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