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I'm creating some exterior wood shutters made from Eastern Red Cedar (rails and stiles) and Western Red Cedar (panels). The mismatch really has more to do with what's available locally than a design choice. The "boss" wants them to be raised panel. She does not like board-and-batten because they're too rustic for her tastes, and louvered are boring to her.

Putting together a frame and panel are pretty straightforward, so my question is more about the details. These shutters will be primed and painted, but there's the possibility that water could get inside the frame. For this reason I'm considering drilling 2 or 3 "weep" holes in the bottom rail that will allow water to drain rather than sit if water gets down into the groove the panel sits in. Let me know if this isn't clear, but is this a decent idea? How did the old timers handle that?

Second, I'm going to attach hardware since these will be working shutters. Should I put a dab of caulk into the holes before I drill the hardware to keep water out? What's the best practices to make sure wood shutters last as long as possible? Thank you!

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    My first reaction was "old timers didn't make raised panel shutters" - but they did make raised panel doors, and they have just the same problems with shedding water. – Martin Bonner May 16 at 9:16
  • woodweb.com/knowledge_base/… this has an interesting discussion. – Martin Bonner May 16 at 9:16
  • I think if you go ahead with the proposed plan it won't be any harm to take the precautions you've asked about. Carefully sealing all end grain with primer (including any hidden, so there'll be some pre-finishing) should be considered paramount, although you may want to look into using an epoxy sealer instead. These are not to help protect from decay but to limit water intrusion from a structural perspective. – Graphus May 16 at 10:42
  • i did something similar on my chicken coop and storm windows... I added weep holes (on cedar). so far so good. – aaron May 16 at 12:49

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