A louvered cabinet door can provide security and privacy to your personal belongings while at the same time adding to the aesthetic value of your cabinet and to the overall appearance of your room. In addition, the air can flow freely on both sides of the cabinet door which will prevent your things inside from getting a bad odor even if they are stored for a long time. Although the construction looks difficult and complicated, a louver is actually easy to make. The difficulty level for the job ranges from easy to moderate and the completed project can be finished with stain or paint, to match the rest of the cabinet surface.
Step 1 -Measuring the Louver
In taking the measurements for your louver project, bear in mind that each of the slats will occupy one inch of space vertically. You should leave around an eighth of an inch gap between the bottom and top slats as well as the matching rails. If you have a 24 inch opening for example, make an opening that is 24-1/4 inches wide and put an angled slat at an inch interval.
Step 2 - Cutting the Louver
In cutting the louvers, take note that they will have to be inserted in stile grooves that are a fourth of an inch deep. Hence, they must be cut a half inch longer the width of the opening you made.
Step 3 - Maintaining Design Integrity
Get the full dimension of the cabinet door to determine the ideal width and height of the stiles and rails. To maintain the integrity of the unit, make your best decision on how wide the stiles and rails should be ripped. Be sure to cut more slats than needed since there are always a few that need to be selected out because of wood knots and other imperfections.
Step 4 - Rounding Out the Louver Slats
To remove the edges on all the four long edges of your louver slats, get your router and router table ready with the 1/8 inch radius roundover bit that has a bearing tip. The lower part of the roundover needs to be flush with the router table top so you have to adjust on the router depth. Put a slat flat on the router table and remove the long edges by pushing it along the bearing. Do it on each of the long edges. To avoid the bit grabbing a stock out of your hands, always move it from left to right, which is against the bit rotation.
Step 5 - Sanding the Louver Slats
To ensure a more even wood grain finish on your louvers, sand them with a ¼ inch sheet sander or with an orbital sander. Lower down the grit size progressively as you finish each sanding process so that the marks made by the previous sanding could be removed. Set the louvers you have finished aside while you are making the rest of the structure.