Welcome to the Newsletter Subscriber’s only special How-To! I’m going to show you how I made some quick and easy shutters to help dress-up an otherwise bland side entry at our house. You can see the whole transformation at the Remodeling Guy Round-Up Post.
In the following tutorial, I’m going to show you the steps involved in making the shutters in this picture here:
Here we go…
Pick The Lumber
I learned from an old pro when I was just a kid that the effort put into picking good lumber is time well spent! He was right. Don’t be shy. If you have to toss aside twenty warped and knotty boards to get your two pieces…do it. You’ll be glad you did!
I used 4/4 Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine “Deck Boards” for the shutters. 5.5″ wide. Essentially a thicker version of a 1×6. The price was pretty nice, especially compared to the crazy priced Trex Decking.
Get A Visual
Before I started, I leaned the boards against the house in the approximate location. I wanted to decide betwen doing the job with two boards wide, or three. I also wanted to get a visual idea of where I wanted the shutters to end at the top of the opening. I took my measurement and was ready to cut.
Use A Drop For Measuring
Once I measured and cut the first board on my Miter saw, I just used the “drop” from the first board as a guage for the remaining cuts. I only measured once. An good practice is to use the first drop over and over again when doing this.
In other words, set that same piece aside and use it to measure every cut, rather than using each drop to measure the next. This prevents getting a small fraction off your measurement further with each cut.
Be careful with long boards
Whn using a miter saw, it’s important to have support for the end of long boards. Either a helper like mine, or a support of some sort. The weight of a long board can flip your saw up in the air…not good. You should make your helper wear shoes.
Install the cross piece
I measured down about 22″ from each end and put my cross piece there. It’s just a short length of pressure treated 1×4. Use a speed square to make sure it’s square with each board as you attach it. You’ll see this piece through the gaps and you’ll notice if it’s not square. Install the screws one board at a time so you can adjust the gap (about 3/4″) and keep them all squared-up.
The cross pieces are on the back of the shutters in this design. Sometimes they’re on the front. In either case, use screws that won’t go all-the-way through and screw them in from the back. No filling required that way! For any exterior project in pressure treated lumber I always use “Deck-Mate” screws by Phillips. These fastners are coated to prevent corrision, they drive very well with the proprietary bit that comes in the box, and they hold great. No pre-drilling needed on most projects. (careful near the end of boards…it can split)
You could augment the screw with a good exterior glue like Titebond Premium or Gorilla Glue but I didn’t think that was necessary in this case.
Use a special circle marking tool
We have a “wave” theme on many of our outdoor elements, so I went for a curvy design on the tops and bottoms of the shutters. I used my new favorite, Ralph Lauren Paint can to make the curve. So these are fancy curves.
Cut the line with the Jigsaw. I use a cordless jigsaw from Ryobi with a lithium ion battery. It’s amazing. Don’t worry if the blade gets a little bit angled. You can fix that with a sander or by cutting from the other side. It happens all the time.
Round the edges off with the little router. Again, Ryobi cordless. If you don’t have a little router, or a big router, you can do this with the sander or you could leave the edge square. It’s a small detail, but I think it makes a difference to have the rounded over edge. I used a 1/4″ roundover bit.
Use the first shutter to mark the next.
These will be visually close to one another, so you want the curves to match. I made that simple by finishing one shutter then using it as a template for the next shutter. You can see in this picture that my cross-pieces were left long to begin with. I did this so that I’d have the ability to pick the shutters up while they had wet paint on them. I cut the ends off just before installation.
I cleaned-up all the edges with my sander and some 60 grit sandpaper. No need for fine grain finish sanding here.
About that time, I spilled the paint…a whole gallon.
Somewhere, maybe the March Newsletter, I said that you should always use a “work bucket” rather than a full gallon of paint. This is one of the reasons. Through a fluke string of this piece falling over and hitting that piece and that piece hitting the next…my paint can went FLYING like a projectile out of a catapult. I couldn’t believe it. I exclaimed. Loudly. I’m still mad about it.
What a mess it was! The best thing to do when this happens is let it dry and dig it up with a shovel later. moving on…
Use Tapcons to attach to masonry
To use a tapcon, you have to predrill the prescribed hole in the masonry first. It’s best to just buy the right bit when you buy the tapcons. Tapcons are the blue (sometimes white) screws and they hold very well in concrete as long as you get the hole right and don’t over-tourqe them. I drilled four holes for each shutter.
One screw each in-between the slats on each cross-piece. Just paint over the blue with a little white paint when it’s all set in-place.
You can also get any of the tools you need or dream about from the Remodeling Guy General Store (it’s Amazon really, but I like the name!) I hope this has been helpful. Happy remodeling!