Shutter Louver End Detailing

Plastic hardware for louver ends is the norm, but tenoning the ends is a classier way to go. July 12, 2008

Where can I get brass or bronze pins and bushings for building interior shutters with moveable louvers? I can find nylon parts, but my client insists that I use something a little more "classy."

Forum Responses
From contributor J:
First time I made shutters I bought brazing rod from a welder's supply, without a flux coating if you can find it. Easy to work with, cheap and more than durable for the work, still good more than 25 years down the road.

From contributor R:
I once used copper rivets. Bought them at a bolt screw store. Even just using the plain rivets is cool.

From contributor K:
Don't bother. Realize that nylon bushings are the standard, and they are that way for a reason. If they are requesting an upgrade, quote them accordingly for your time and frustration (finding and working with) and then convince them nylon is the way to go.

From contributor D:

Wood tenons formed from the slat have been the standard for a few centuries, with satisfactory life and utility. Typically formed on a variation of a round end tenoner, the tenons are milled on the hind end of one slat and the fore end of what will be the next slat, then cut apart.

Alternatively, the tenons can be made with a conventional tenoner and left square or milled round in a second step.

One tip is to carefully control the depth of the bore and the length of the tenon so that when the frames are assembled, the tenons bottom out in the hole and do not touch the inner edge of the stiles. Otherwise, finishing will create all sorts of drag and rub/wear the finish. This will also allow the louver to be set in any position and hold it, one of the marks of quality in a set of louvers.

I agree the plastic is not classy, and is the modern retailer's solution that denies craft as the best solution. There is no historic precedent for metal (in my 35 years experience), so no real need for it today.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the input. I have convinced my client that brass would be a bad idea, as I think it would get a greenish tint over time. He is still resisting the plastic since I'm building the shutters out of Honduras mahogany with ebony and curly maple inlays in the stiles. I hadn't thought of the tenon idea. I would think I can find a source for 3/16 or 1/4 diameter purpleheart or ebony dowels to provide some visual interest.