Board and Batten Shutters

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Forum topic by Gregg M. posted 03-27-2017 01:30 PM 828 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Gregg M.

207 posts in 1831 days

03-27-2017 01:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: board and batten shutters shutters question

I will be starting a project to make a number of board and batten shutters that will be painted. The shutters will be 3 1/2” cedar boards glued with 4” battens. The boards will have a dado cut across them to recess the battens below the boards edge chamfer. I will use stainless steel screws screwed through the back of the shutters to anchor the boards to the battens. I was planning to use loose tenons when edge gluing the boards together to ensure the glue joint does not come apart after being exposed to the elements (at least in the short term).

Any benefit to using T&G to allow the boards to move vs edge jointing and reinforcing with loose tenons?

Would you also glue the battens into the dado… this is a cross grain joint and it will be screwed to the boards from the back?

Thanks Gregg

-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

4 replies so far

View tyvekboy's profile


1808 posts in 3162 days

#1 posted 03-27-2017 01:47 PM

I think you could just glue the T&G boards together.

I would paint the boards and battens before attaching them together. That way all surfaces get paint.

As for recessing the battens, I think that is not necessary. Just screw the battens too the boards. If you are worried about water getting in the grooves behind the battens, you could always caulk those areas after the battens are attaches and use a little touchup paint.

No one from the street will know that you didn’t recess the battens.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View LittleShaver's profile


398 posts in 768 days

#2 posted 03-27-2017 02:07 PM

Since you’re using stainless screws to hold everything together and T&G boards, I wouldn’t bother with any glue. Cut everything to size, cut your dado if you must, bevel the edges, prime and paint all the surfaces, then screw it together. Since you’re making a bunch, a simple alignment jig (couple of strips of wood an a piece of plywood) should ensure everything lines up while you screw it together.

For an exterior project, I never trust glue.

-- Sawdust Maker

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1069 days

#3 posted 03-27-2017 03:36 PM

Gregg M.,

Simple butt joints of the cedar planks that are glued to form the shutter would work fine. The loose tenons could be installed, but I doubt the added strength would be required. The loose tenons could make surface alignment during the glue-up easier. However, with a number of shutters to build, using this method would require some time to complete.

The alternative you mentioned, tongue and groove joinery, could be faster and ensure a good surface alignment, especially if the project cedar is purchased with milled with tongue and groove joints. If not, then adding a slight chamfer to the shoulders of the tongue and groove joints would hide any unevenness when the panels are assembled. If you have to mill the tongue and groove joints yourself, I am not sure which would be faster; the loose tenon method or tongue and groove method.

If this were an indoor project, I would be follow Dan Hulbert suggestion and use tongue and groove joints and rely on holding the shutters together with the battens. But since this is an outdoor project, I worry about the screws pulling loose and the shutters coming apart, especially if the shutters will be operable. Cedar is fairly soft wood and my guess is the shutters are ¾” thick; not much purchase for the screws. Therefore gluing the shutters together may allow them to last longer.

The shutters are fairly long at 42” and I wonder whether two battens are enough to keep the shutters flat. I would think at least three would be better. Also, locating the end battens as close as practical to the ends could resist curling on the ends of the shutters.

I like the idea of letting the battens into shallow dados. The dados would help register the planks when the shutters are assembled. This registration could save the step of trimming the shutters to length at the end. I would only glue the center 2” of the batten to the shutters and install the SS screws in slightly enlarge shank holes in the battens; to allow for some wood movement.

Although a little more work, if a deep chamfer is cut along both ends of the shutters and each edge of the battens, water would more easily shed away from the shutters and could make them last longer.

I installed cedar lap siding on our home. I elected to use a water-base primer, mainly because water-based paint is easier to use. However, even though the water-based primer claimed to coat cedar very well, I found that 2 coats were required for good coverage. Therefore, considering an oil-based primer may be worthwhile.

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Gregg M.

207 posts in 1831 days

#4 posted 03-27-2017 11:04 PM

Thanks for the responses everyone. I appreciate it. I think I will go ahead and use the loose tenons to help align boards when gluing. I will cut shallow dados for the battens and use a little glue in the center and screws across the back. I’ll also prime the battens and the dado before screwing the battens to the boards.

Thanks again all.

-- Marvel Woodworking, West Chester, PA -

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