Nothing dresses up a home's exterior like decorative louvered shutters for the windows. Buying the shutters ready-made can be an expensive, especially if your windows are odd-shaped or custom-sized which requires the shutters to be custom made to fit. Fortunately, the average homeowner can build louvered shutters himself, with the right tools, some basic woodworking skills and lumber from the local home improvement store.
Measure the height and width of the window where the shutters will be installed. Your shutters should be the same height and half the width of the window.
Measure and cut the two stiles to length using a table saw, and rip each stile to 2 inches in width.
Measure and crosscut the two rails to length, which is half the width of the window, minus 4 inches to account for the width of each stile, and rip to 2 1/2 inches in width.
Measure and cut the single middle rail to the same length of the top and bottom rail and rip to 1 1/2 inches in width.
Install a 1/4 inch dado blade in the table saw the and set the depth of cut to 1/4 inch at a 90 degree bevel. Set the mitre gauge to 60 degrees.
Cut the slots for the louvre slats in both stiles using the mitre gauge to achieve the correct angle. The number of slots needed will vary depending upon the height of the shutter. Begin the first cut 2 3/4 inches from the bottom of the stiles to allow for the bottom rail and end with the last cut 2 3/4 inches from top of the stiles to allow for the top rail. Also leave a 2 inch space in the centre of each stile to accomodate the centre rail. Evenly space the cuts as close to 1/2 an inch apart as possible, although based on the height of the stile you may have to adjust the spacing between cuts to achieve uniform spacing.
Assemble the frame members using simple butt joints secured with carpenter's wood glue and reinforced with either dowels or biscuits.
Count the number of louvre slats you will need and mill the slats by ripping 1 by 2 inch stock down to 1/4 by 1 1/4 inch.
Cut the slats to width. Remember to take into account the depth of the dados on each side of the shutter.
Hand or power sand all components smooth.
Install the slats by applying a bead of clear silicone adhesive in the dados and slidng the slat into place. Wipe excess adhesive away with a cloth dampened with white spirit.
Finish with paint or stain as desired.