The best way to make louvers is to take your panel to a shop that has a proper louver press and dies that are the right shape. The article was by Tony Gayoso whom I have since lost track of. I needed to make a +4 bonnet half to replace one that had an amateurish and ugly scoop cut into it. Tony’s system consisted of making a saw cut in the sheet metal and then using a block of wood to form the metal into a channel-like die built up from three pieces of steel. While aluminum louvers are sufficient for many applications, aluminum is not as strong as steel.
Matt’s method is the preferred way of making louvres, but it is possible to make them in a manner similar to the method you originally described. The clothespins will clip lists, notes, photos and other decorative items or messages to the backs of the shutters. On the second floor they would have louvered shutters to allow the breeze to enter during the warm months. An individual window shutter could also combined both features – a raised solid panel on the lower portion and louvers on the top part. But, the cowling is pretty deep and most drill presses can’t reach that deep so I was resigned to make them by hand.
The first step in building your custom wood shutters is building the rails and stiles for the shutter frames. In 2010, Zahner worked with Virginia Tech on the Lumenhaus project whose laser-cut tabs were pushed by hand. I’d go the cut-out route if I absolutely have to but I think this would be impractical if I wanted to lay down a large set of louvers such as on the back of the trunk lid on a chopped ’34 lakes coupe for example.
I haven’t installed the louvers on my Bus yet, but the other guy told me he trimmed & rounded them before adding them(he owns a real Barndoor, so he had the right measurements); I’m pretty sure he just laid them down by eye, starting with the top one and using the body’s beltline as a guide. Norm had an episode on jigs where he made a jig for cutting the angled mortises for shutters.
Gussets will be added at the corners of the creases for a bolt to be inserted by hand out of sight parallel to the ground, threaded underneath the blade and hidden from view. The problem with this is that the wood louvers and metal staples contract and expand at different rates so the staples eventually loosen and can fall out. On the passenger side of the car I put an equivalent set of points with new letters.
The top rail also needs a slot routed in it so the control arm can tuck out of the way when the louvers care closed. If you intend to use our shutters for this purpose, they will be made to measure as louver doors, on your behalf. The original panel was beyond repair but the louvers were impressive because the ends were so sharply defined. I will be trying to do the 3.5 Moveable Plantation Shutters hopefully they will be easier!!!!!!
Accurate measurements are essential to well-functioning shutters, especially at Step 7. Re-check your measurements after installing a louver or two and make sure they overlap as you want. Shutters with operable louvers and a tilt rod create a shadow pattern providing the best depth, contrast, and character. Once you have the patterns made you can even make a set of louvers out of the flashing in order to get the angle of the bend down perfect. For heavier duty applications, our industrial-strength, steel louvers may be a more appropriate option.
Whether you have CAD drawings ready or just verbal instructions to provide, you can be confident that Fortitude Specialty has the experience, know-how and determination to follow-through on your project and manufacture custom louvers that will fit your application. We can build any standard and custom louver shape – If it is possible we can do it and if it is not possible we will find a way to make it look like what you want. We talked about alloys and thicknesses of brass sheet and he had some loose parts on display.
If you are making multiple doors or shutters and they are different sizes, make the larger ones first so that you can use any mistakes to make the smaller ones! My advice is to build at least more than one in order to get a real benefit from the expense of the tools, all in all it was a real fun CHALLENGE to make the shutters. These are not fake louver imitations – but the real deal as seen on both front fenders of our 928 Motorsports Race Car.
Over the years C/S and other louver manufacturers developed a lot of louvers intended to stop rain, and in the still air tests conducted by AMCA, many of these louvers seemed effective at stopping water. While both methods of getting the louvers to operate require jigs or equipment, and both have pros and cons that go with their use, I was just saying that I believe the easier method for a shop new to shutters would be the tiltless feature.
The new bottom die is similar to the open channel type except that it has a top facing of 1/8” steel with the louver outline cut into it. A saber saw with metal cutting blade easily made the cutout and some basic files dressed the edges to make them clean and straight. The original set of louvers were just wide enough for their finished edge to be flush with the inside edge of the window trim. To make assembly easy, I cut a couple of 1x3s in 45 degree triangles and used them as a ‘jig’ to support the louvers.
We made a set of dies at work for punching louvers in 3/16ths steel on an old heim press brake.. Its punched thousands of louvers since it was made. You may want to consider an operable shutter that does not use the traditional tiltrod, but an attachment that goes on the ends of the louvers to move them as one. The clothespins hold best when the louvers are tilted up. They will allow you to open the louvers but not all the way.