Fitting the old shutters

Way back in the summer when Glynn started repairing this sitting room window, he discovered that what we thought were wooden panels on the side of the window recess were in fact old shutters that had been nailed open, so we decided we would renovate them and get them working again. With the movement of the walls, the lintel had dropped and the sill had pushed upwards so it was impossible to close the shutters, which is probably why they were nailed open.

Today Glynn is back to fit these shutters and get them working again. Cat has removed some of the paint from them (decades of gloss paint and varnish) but everything else has taken priority so they are yet to be finished. This doesn’t stop them being fitted though.

We have never even had curtains on this window as we didn’t want to cover over the lovely wooden surround, so it will be lovely to be able to close the shutters at night.

This is our new flower bed at the end of the new garden wall, filled in with top soil (that George moved from the back garden in the rain last week) and ready for planting.

One of the difficulties with fitting the shutters is that nothing here is square and everything leans at odd angles, so getting a shutter working that folds open and shut is going to be very tricky…

There is some heavy wear on the inside of the shutters where there would have been a fixing that kept them closed at night.

Firstly Glynn fits an oak fillet to the window frame that is slightly thicker at the bottom than the top enabling the shutter to open vertically (ish), then he has to reduce the height of the side sills so that the shutters will fold back into the recess. We will need to touch up the plaster here, but that should be easy enough.

The shutters are attached with hinges to the oak fillet on the frame and now they will open this far. To fold them out further requires more work though as they are catching on the top of the recess.

Cat is back with her Land Rover so we took a trip out to Coventry Demolition Company to purchase two more oak doors and exchange the one that we previously bought from them. It had been sitting in the bathroom near one of the oil heaters and had warped and split… We should have oiled it as soon as we got it, if it had been oiled it wouldn’t have dried out so dramatically in the heat and split. Super kind of the lady who owns the reclamation yard to exchange it 🙂

We spent quite a while selecting three doors with the best knots and patterns in the oak.

Just managed to squeeze them all in to the Landie!

By the time we return Glynn has got both shutters on and working.

We are delighted that these are back where they belong and working for probably the first time in a century!

Cat was going to strip them and paint them but we actually like the distressed paint look so may keep them like this.

The rest of the shutters are covered in a brown varnish though and this is almost impossible to remove, so these may need to be painted.

Glynn cutting thin fillets out of one of the old elm floorboards to finish off the window recesses where the shutters don’t quite fit into the sides.

The finished shutters! We will need to find some big latches to go across them when they are closed.

The part of one of the shutters that Cat has spent a while removing the paint from. This is hard going as it is soft wood and the paint is very thick, so we might keep it like this and remove the paint from the other one to match.

The oak doors that we chose have multiple knots that have been filled with wood filler. When the oak is oiled the filler will be more obvious as it will be lighter, so Cat firstly wipes the oak with white spirit to emulate the colour it will be when oiled, then paints over the filler with a wood stain so that it matches.

A knot that has been filled, then Cat has painted it with the wood stain so it will match the oiled wood.

Once all the knots have been painted with the wood stain, Cat oils the door. The other side will need doing and then the process repeated for the other two doors.


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