Rebuilding old wood shutters

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Old 02-07-16, 10:41 PM
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Rebuilding old wood shutters

I have several old original wood shutters that have the louvred slats that I am about to strip, sand, and pant. I'm thinking that if I can remove the slats that I can really get these things clean and working again - and stripping sanding will be a whole lot easier.

Is there a safe way to disassemble the mortise and tenon joints between the rails and stiles? I am right in the this is the only way to remove and replace the slats right?

Or am I crazy for even attempting this?
 
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Old 02-08-16, 03:27 AM
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I have done it only once and learned not to do it again. It is a real PITA, but can be done. You have to separate the rails and stiles, which can be either glued, glued with tenons, glued with dowels, or mechanically fastened. You will probably break one member when you try to separate them. Putting the slats back in the stiles will test your mettle. One in, one falls out, 6 in, one falls out. Repeat.
Is there no way you can use a paint stripper and forced water to remove enough paint to call it good?
 
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Old 02-08-16, 03:33 AM
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I agree with Larry, no way would I attempt to disassemble the shutters just to strip the paint! I'd get what I could with a chemical stripper and finish up with hand sanding. The result should be close to the same with a LOT less work.
 
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Old 02-08-16, 08:57 AM
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You can buy spring loaded repair pins for the shutters. You cut the old louvers out at the pins, leaving the frame intact. Strip and refinish everything, then drill holes in the ends of the louvers and use the spring loaded pins to allow you to reinsert the louvers without frame disassembly. Often you can use a fixed pin on one side and the spring pins on the other, but it depends on clearance. Google spring loaded shutter repair pin for sources.

You don't say whether these are inside or outside shutters. Either way I think you can use the spring pins, but if they are for outside use I'd make sure the pins were rated for outside UV exposure.
 
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Old 02-09-16, 06:35 PM
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Thanks for the replies - very helpful. I'm actually thinking of getting one of those infrared or silent removers. Anyone know if that actually works or not? I've got over 30 individual shutters to do.

I was going to see about sending them out to be "dipped" but heard a lot of people warn me to stay away from that...
 
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Old 02-10-16, 05:01 AM
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I don't have much experience painting items that have been dipped but I don't see what the downside would be other than cost ..... unless the wood or how it's put together isn't structurally sound. What are they telling you?
 
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Old 02-10-16, 08:22 AM
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I've read that the lye usually used in hot dip tanks is very difficult to totally remove or neutralize from nooks and crannies. When the item dries out a tiny amount of lye can crystalize in cracks and crannies. You can paint over it with no trouble at all, but gradually, when the piece is exposed to moisture or humidity, the crystals reactivate and turn into....you guessed it...paint remover, causing the paint to bubble and lift in those areas. I think the term in the business is brown ooze or something like that.

I've not experienced this myself, but I've only ever had flat work dipped.

Too bad, because dipping would sure be the easiest way to strip those things.
 
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Old 02-10-16, 08:34 AM
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Good to know While I've painted a couple of restoration jobs where various wood work had been dipped and reinstalled, I've never had occasion to go back later and see how the paint work survived. I wonder if the type of primer used plays any part in how any leftover chemical might react?
 
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Old 02-10-16, 10:17 AM
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Supposedly it causes problems with the paint and in some cases a brown substance to ooze out of the joints. After I read that the first time it wasn't too hard to find lots more people on the internet saying the same thing. But it was also not something that happens 100% of the time...
 
 

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