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Fix It Yourself

Seeing the Light: A Simple Way to Repair Shutters

October 22, 2000|GARY ABRAMS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Real wood shutters are an attractive and functional way to cover windows and glass doors. They can be stained or painted to enhance the decor of any room, and offer good insulating and light-control features.

The one complaint about shutters, though, is that the louvers to lift-rod connectors often pull out of the wood so that not all louvers move together when the rod is raised or lowered. This problem is especially common with heavier, wide-louvered plantation shutters.

Fortunately there is a fairly easy way to fix this problem. The only tools needed are a pair of long-nose pliers and wire cutters.

If the old wire connector is lost, you will need to make a new one.

Buy a box of 1/2-inch staple-gun staples from a hardware store. Take a single staple from the box, and with the long-nose pliers straighten its "legs" so it looks like a flat straight wire about 1 3/8 inches long.

Hold the straightened staple in the middle with the tip of the pliers. Then simply bend both sides of the straightened staple upward to form a U with about a 3/16-inch span between the legs.

Now, whether you are using the original connector or the new one you just made, you must create a sharp point at the tip of the legs to allow easier penetration into the wood. Use the wire cutters to snip about 1/16-inch of metal off the tip of each leg at a 45-degree angle to create a point.

To secure the new connector in place, hold one of its legs about 3/8-inch from the tip with the long-nose pliers, and push the point into the lift rod or louver edge so it penetrates and holds securely.

Avoid pushing the tip into the existing hole left by the old connector because it will not anchor tightly. Push the tip into new wood adjacent to the old hole.

If the opposing connector is still in place, thread the loose leg of the new connector through it before repeating the above procedure for anchoring it into the wood.

Sometimes it is easier to push the new connector into the lift rod if you place a putty knife on the back of the rod to protect the wood, and use the long-nose pliers to "squeeze" the connector tips into the wood.

Test the shutter by raising and lowering the lift rod several times. Before putting away your tools, check the rest of the connectors. Push any loose ones as deeply into the wood as possible with the long-nose pliers.

And as an added precaution against future loose connectors, put a small drop of wood glue at each joint where the connector tips enter the wood.

*

Gary Abrams is a general contractor who has written about home improvement for The Times for 10 years. Comments and questions can be sent to P.O. Box 711, Thousand Oaks, CA 91319.

Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

What You'll Need for This Project

* long-nose pliers

* wire cutters

* 1/2-inch staple-gun staples

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