Basswood Shutters - Wood Shutters - Hardwood Shutters
(Tilia Americana Linnaeus, or the American Linden)
Basswood, a hardwood, is absolutely the best wood for building interior window shutters. The Basswood tree can be found from Quebec south to Delaware and the Atlantic coast west to Eastern Kentucky with an average height of 65 feet. Basswood is a renewable resource and careful hardwood forest management ensures tree harvesting is done responsibly, balancing wood growth with wood removal. Each year the United States grows about twice as much hardwood as it harvests.
Basswood interior wood shutters are very straight and have a fine uniform texture with an indistinct grain. Basswood machines well and is easy to work, and screws and glues well and can be sanded and stained to a smooth finish. It dries fairly rapidly with little distortion. These hardwood shutters have good dimensional stability when dry.
Popular uses for basswood include drafting tables, broom handles, carvings, turnings, furniture, moldings, millwork, musical instruments, woodenware, food containers, interior window shutters, and surfboards.
General Basswood shutter characteristics:
Wood does not warp
Wood is lightweight yet very strong
Wood has uniform grain for a beautiful stain finish
Wood is low in resin and tannin which may bleed through finish
Wood is a renewable resource which is replenished as it is harvested
Wood has superior gluing and finishing properties.
Poplar window shutters mill and paint well. Mineral streaks and a green color make Poplar wood a poor choice for staining. Poplar is a moderately heavy wood for building shutters, and does not put too much stress on the window jamb. Poplar is widely available and is often used in the shutter industry. Popular produces a reliable quality wood shutter.
Oak is a heavy wood which makes very heavy window hardwood shutters. Oak interior shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Oak wood shutters are not suitable for painting and Oak shutter louvers tend to warp.
Maple is also a heavy wood and produces interior shutters that are very heavy. Maple shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Maple hardwood louvers are hard to tension uniformly.
Cedar shutters mill and finish nicely. However, color varies greatly for staining. Cedar is soft and can dent and scratch easily. Tilt bar staples do not hold well.
Cedar wood shutters work wonderfully for exterior shutters. The outstanding durability and resistance to decay of incense cedar makes it ideal for exterior use where moisture is present. This wood gives long service with little maintenance in such as mud sills, window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, greenhouse benches, fencing, poles, trellises, and shutters. Incense cedar is also used extensively for exterior siding because it is dimensionally stable and holds paint well, in addition to being durable. Oh, yes, and bugs hate it!
Alder is our second choice wood for interior shutters. Alder is a smaller tree so only shorter lengths are available, thus tall window shutters require finger joints.
Pine is a softwood. Many different species and grades of pine is available, so quality tends to be inconsistent.
Keep in mind there are also poorly constructed wood shutters that rank low on the quality scale. Look for a smooth, well-sanded surface, thick durable paint, glued and doweled joints, a straight light hardwood - such as basswood, and self-tensioning louvers that will stay in place for the life of the shutter. Always request a sample before committing to a shutter company.