Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plantation Shutters: Tools

Having the correct tools can make all the difference in a project. This certainly applies if you want to make plantation shutters.

I found many of my tools from the local classified ads. I bought a used 10” Delta table saw for $60 and a Craftsman router and Wolfcraft router table for $65.

A table saw is important because you will be making many cuts and a table saw is the easiest way to get a relatively straight cut. Sometimes you will be cutting pieces across the width (called cross cutting) and sometimes you will be cutting pieces the whole length of the board (called ripping). I found that for ripping large hardwood boards, my standard blade took forever and tended to burn the boards. So I bought a Diablo blade which works far better. It is specifically meant for ripping boards. The only drawback is that it leaves the edges slightly rougher than a blade with more teeth. In general the more teeth on a blade the more polished a cut will be, but less teeth will cut easier and quicker.

A router will allow you to round or finish off the edges of boards. This is an essential step in making your project look more professional. Although the router table is optional, it makes it MUCH easier to do lots of boards quickly. You will need a bit for the router, and I chose a 3/16” roundover bit which I will explain in a later post.

A drill with various size bits is also needed. I bought a new Ridgid drill recently from Home Depot that I have been very happy with. I believe it was about $60.

If you don’t already have these tools it can cause the initial cost to be somewhat higher, though for subsequent shutters I have found I can make a standard size pair for about $150. That beats paying $500+ from a manufacturer.

1 comment:

Jennifer Allan said...

Plantation shutters installation was a piece of cake. The one thing that could have made it perfect is a pre drill of screw holes in the light bars. But I'm splittin' hairs. I'm a pertty happy camper.