Why do we use slats to make outside swing shutters and not plain boards ?

Also, is there any reason those slats always have chamfers ? Why not plain flat shutters without those vertical grooves ?

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  • What do you mean by slat exactly? The word slat just means a narrow/thin strip of something, so in specific woodworking contexts it's just a name (one of many) for pieces of wood, i.e. boards, of a certain size or dimensions. Re. your second query, they don't always have chamfers — the ones I'm most familiar with just have roundovers AFAIK. – Graphus Jan 6 '19 at 17:16
  • @Graphus I added a picture of the kind of shutters I speak about. – Julien Jan 7 '19 at 8:17
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    I wouldn't describe those as being made with slats. I would describe larsonshutter.com/mm5/graphics/00000001/… as being made with slats. – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 7 '19 at 13:34
  • I'm glad I asked for clarification as obviously I wasn't the only one who wasn't sure which style of shutter you meant — the ones posed above by @MartinBonner are the type I thought you were asking about. Now re. the chamfers on these ones, it would be my guess that these aren't just chamfers, but are instead a sign that the wood is tongue-and-groove (on which a chamfer is a common added detail). T&G is one of the classic ways to build to allow for movement in wide panels, which obviously these shutters will need as they'll be exposed to big changes in conditions from wet weather to dry. – Graphus Jan 7 '19 at 15:22

I think you are asking "why are shutters made of multiple pieces of wood rather than a single board". That's easy - very wide boards are expensive. It's much cheaper to buy five 100mm boards and joint them together than it is to buy a single 500mm board.

The reason the boards are chamfered (or rounded over) is that it is very hard to joint together two boards so that there is no noticeable line at the joint - you need an accuracy of at least 100µm, and preferably towards 10µm. On the other hand, if you put in a small deliberate chamfer, you can get away with an accuracy of ½mm (500µm).

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  • Yes, this is the reason. The builder is taking something that is usually undesired and turning into a strength. Usually you want to hide the seams. The chamfers add shadow lines to make the seams into a design feature. – Katie Kilian Jan 7 '19 at 14:49

The boards are probably tongue and grove. This allows easier fit ups and handles expansion and contraction without showing gaps.

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The reason that traditionally shutters had slats was for ventilation.

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  • Thanks but I think we speak about different kinds of shutters. It is my bad, I added a picture to clarify. – Julien Jan 7 '19 at 8:19

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