Q: My son thought it would be cool to practice golf inside the house and, consequently, he broke one of the louvers on our wood shutters. I am an office worker without a lot of tools, so do I need to take the broken shutter to a carpenter, or is there a simple way for me to repair it?
A: It sounds like your son needs a little work on his trick shots. Maybe a few golf lessons are in order so that you can spend your weekend doing things besides fixing his mistakes.
Fortunately, you won’t need an abundance of tools. A little wood glue and some clamps should be sufficient.
When wood is impacted by an object like a foot, a battering ram or, in your case, a golf ball, it can splinter in what is called a “puzzle piece” effect. Hopefully, your louver is only in two pieces and not 10, and it should fit back together without the job being too noticeable.
Sometimes, chunks will even be torn out of the wood (often after a large impact), but that depends on many factors, including species of wood. Most wood shutters are made from basswood, and your repair should piece it back together nicely.
Use a small brush and dab some yellow carpenter’s glue on each mating surface of the louver. Then place the puzzle piece ends together and clamp the split on each side so that the clamps oppose each other.
You can buy spring clamps for a few dollars, or you can quietly borrow some binder clamps from your office; these are the black clamps with little swinging arms that can hold the big stack of papers that your boss is expecting Monday morning.
Then, wipe off any glue squeeze-out with a damp rag and just wait 24 hours and remove the clamps. You may have to fill some areas with putty, sand the repair and paint it.
On another note, a common shutter repair occurs when the lifting rod will separate from the louver. So when you raise the rod to open the louvers, not all of the louvers will open. The tiny fasteners that hold the rod to the louver will pull away or break off. The fasteners almost look like interlocked pieces of wire, and they can be easily fixed.
You may be able to buy the special fasteners, but if not, don’t worry, as you can use tiny carpenter’s staples instead. These are normally shot through an air gun, but you can separate them and squeeze them into place with pliers or a screw clamp.
Just be careful not to damage the wood with the jaws of the pliers or vise as you squeeze the staple into place. You might want to wrap the lifting rod with something to protect it as you insert the staple.
Lastly, you may want to introduce your son to the game of chess.
Mike Klimek is a licensed contractor and owner of Las Vegas Handyman. Questions may be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to 4710 W. Dewey Drive, No. 100, Las Vegas, NV 89118. His web address is www.handymanoflasvegas.com.
Project: Shutter repairs
Cost: Under $15
Time: 1-2 hours