Louvering an Arched-Top Door

Fitting louver ends to an arched door shape is tricky. May 21, 2007

We have a client that wants a set of arched top louvered doors. While we have made arched top doors and louvered doors, we have never done it at the same time. The issue is how the louvers fit in the arched top rail. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor D:
When you do your typical louvers, do you route the louver profile (say, 5/16 x 1-3/4 with roundover edges) into the stiles, or do you tenon? My method is for flat slats with rounded or square edges, angle routed into the stiles. I'll explain it if this is what you're looking for.

From the original questioner:
In the past, I have cut an angled dado on the side of stile. Then once both stiles have matching dados and the doors have been assembled, I will slide in the louver and use applied moldings to hold them in place.

From contributor D:
I have built bunches of them. All had the 3/8" deep, angled routed mortise on the stiles, 5/16" x 1-3/4 with rounded ends for the slats, but not dado style as you describe. The dado style with cover molds are easier to make curved. Just think about adding spacers between the slats in lieu of dadoes. Curve your rail, lay out where the dadoes would go, then band saw the curved face of the rail off at the depth of the dadoes, then use either a hand saw or jigged up bandsaw to cut out where the dadoes are laid out. Assemble your frame, then do the compound cut on the ends of the slats, and glue the spacers in between in the order they came off the saw. Apply the cover molds and voila, as they say. These will work fine for interior, but exterior shutters are more demanding in the housed mortises.