Author Topic: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring  (Read 13433 times)

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Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
March 31st should have been the day I finally got to bring home my new Domino. Instead, it was the day I brought my wife home from the first of what would be two cancer surgeries, with a pair of second opinions and five trips to UCSF Medical Center thrown in for good measure. But in between the nursing, cooking, cleaning, foot rubs & driving, I?ve managed to get in some R & D, an hour or two at a time, testing out theories I formulated while sitting in all those doctor & hospital waiting/recovery rooms.  So what I offer here is not photos of a completed Domino-assisted project, but a simple and still somewhat unrefined method for you to try out yourself and hopefully make your own fixed-louver doors or window panels.

Our house has forty-five windows of varying sizes, and whether you figure two, four or even eight panels per window, that?s a whole lot of louvers to make. And under most of these windows, are baseboard heating units I recessed into the six inch stud walls, because louvered wooden wainscot looks a whole lot nicer than the standard "Institutional" surface-mounted metal cabinets. Add to that, louvered closet doors for six bedrooms, three and a half baths, plus laundry and mudroom storage. Do you see where I?m going with this yet? But this story almost didn?t even happen. While I was waiting for Domino's arrival & debating between it and the Leigh Frame Mortise & Tenon Jig, Leigh announced a new louver-cutting template for their FMT. Fortunately I waited, because the Domino does so much more. But suddenly, figuring how to make louvers with the Domino became a high priority.

So, just how do you override Festool's engineering and force a Domino to cut "crooked" mortises? Turned out that Domino's retractable indexing pins would become the heart of this scheme. Ever seen that little plastic jig with a pin at each end and a pencil hole in the middle for marking exact centers of boards? Well with the Domino, you simply set its base on the stile edge, with one pin snuggly straddling each side. Just remember to rotate the unit 90? when cutting the opposite stile. The photos show scraps of 1 3/8" and 1 1/8" thick interior door stock with 6mm mortises cut at the widest setting. I haven't done much on 3/4" or 20mm thick material for window shutters with 5mm louvers yet, but I do know that as the stock gets thinner, the mortise angle becomes flatter, too flat actually, and you'll need spacer strips along each side to get back to a good working angle. This will also improve stability of the Domino base sitting on such narrow stock.

To achieve a uniform spacing, stick a 6mm Domino in the mortise you just cut and slide the cutter base up against it for your next plunge. Make sure both pins are kept snug against the stile. Using a full Domino as a spacer places the bottom of the upper louver about even with the top of the lower louver, leaving little or no overlap. This may be fine for heating vents or closets, but if some amount of privacy is an issue, you can increase the overlap by milling the exposed part of the Domino thinner, thus decreasing the space between the louvers and increasing the overlap. Make sure to always insert this milled side toward the cutter base. I used a Forstner bit in my drill press and set the plunge depth to get a uniform thickness. In the future, I'll cut the mortises deeper, offering more foundation and less play in the spacer-Domino.

Adjustable louvers are cool, yes, but if you've ever tried maneuvering all those louver pins into their holes while assembling the stiles & rails before the glue sets, you'll appreciate the next few sentences. After cutting all the stile & rail and louver mortises, just glue up the frame without the louvers. That simple. Then sand, stain if you must, and oil-finish the louver stock and assembled frame separately. Now that the urgency of curing glue has passed, you can slip the louvers into the mortises, one at a time, at your leisure. Cut the louver stock to be slightly less than the opening plus the depth of one mortise. First, slide completely into one stile until it clears the other side, and then pull back out as you guide it halfway into the opposing stile. 5mm & 6mm louver slats are flexible enough to do this pretty easily. If the fit is exceptionally loose, a drop of glue should keep them from coming back out. I think starting next to the rails and work toward the center of the open areas is easiest. I ask for "quarter-sawn fir", but it's billed as "clear fir" and some boards do have the "quarter-sawn" grain oriented more on the edge than on the flat side. These are the ones to rip for the louvers, since that edge is what will actually show in the finished project. Thicknes the stock with your planer, but if you happen to have a Performax 16-32 drum sander with 220 or finer grit sitting around (and I do), a final pass on both sides will be even better. If you got it, use it, I always say. A 1/8" round over bit in my router table seemed to match the 3mm radius pretty well, but I actually got surprisingly good results just using my Radi-Plane on all four edges.

The following photos are pretty self-explanatory. As you can see, beveling the rail to match the louver angle exposed too much flat-sawn grain on a quarter-sawn project. I then went to a rabbit like our store-bought door. A little less rabbit, next time. The profile photo depicts the bottom and intermediate rails. Obviously, an actual 6' 8" door would have considerably more louvers between them.

The "No photos, didn't happen" law may not apply here, since nothing got completed, but something did happen. I stumbled onto an idea; hopefully a good one, and now I share it with the FOG Community. Hopefully you all have more time than I do right now, and can do something constructive with this. Who knows, some day Festool may make a nice jig that does a better job, but until then.

Gary Nichols
« Last Edit: July 11, 2007, 05:28 PM by Gary Nichols »
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

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Offline Ned

  • Posts: 1146
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2007, 06:50 PM »
Thanks, Gary.  Great idea and great presentation.

Ned

Offline Eli

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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2007, 07:28 PM »
Oh it happened alright. Good pix. Thanks for putting in the time Gary, this very subject has been tickling my mind. Hope your wife is okay.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Jim Dailey

  • Posts: 278
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2007, 10:09 PM »
Gary the most important thing for any of us is good health.  I hope your wife is well on the way to a full recovery.

Excellent idea for using the Domino as a shutter mortise tool!!!  Nice presentation!!!

jim
Life is just a series of projects...

Offline Corwin

  • Posts: 2644
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2007, 10:50 PM »
Gary,

We hope your wife can have a speedy recovery.


Best Wishes,
Corwin

Offline Rescue U

  • Posts: 11
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2007, 01:12 AM »
Gary,

     I toyed around with this idea as well, but never got around to taking photos or posting anything.  You did a great job!
I hope your wife gets well soon.!  I am going through the same situation with my father in-law.  He and I are very close, and he has been having a rough time with the treatments.
 

Offline PatR

  • Posts: 190
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2007, 02:27 AM »
Thank you Gary for an excellent idea and a very clear and concise explanation.

With our best wishes to your Wife for a speedy recovery.

Offline Jerry Work

  • Posts: 307
    • The Dovetail Joint
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2007, 10:38 AM »
Hi Gary,

My prayers and best wishes to your wife for a speedy and full recovery.

Thanks for the idea about using the Domino alignment pins in such an imaginative way.  I learn something new here every day and plan to put this good idea to work on a project that will start next week.

Jerry
The Dovetail Joint
Fine furniture designed and hand crafted by Jerry Work
in the 1907 former Masonic Temple building
in historic Kerby, OR. 
26 mi SW of Grants Pass on US 199, The Redwood Highway
Visitors always welcome!
http://jerrywork.com
glwork@mac.com

Offline John Langevin

  • Posts: 245
  • Springfield, MA
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2007, 10:44 AM »
Great idea Gary, well thought out and presented. With your permission I will turn over said information to my lawyer to bolster my case for a Domino purchase. With best regards to you and hope for your wife's speedy recovery so that she enjoy your creative handiwork.
Practicing Mediocrity Never Begets Perfection

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1888
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2007, 01:13 PM »
My prayers are with you and your wife as well, Gary. Having recently gone through the same with my wife I do know what you both are going through. I personally found my woodworking to be quite therapeutic. It helped me to maintain some balance and, quite frankly, a place to which I could escape once in a while to clear my mind. Even when I could not actually woodwork because I needed to be close at hand I could go online and get my fix corresponding with some of the fine gentlemen involved in this very forum. They have been very supportive and I consider them good friends. Feel free to lean on us if you wish now and then.

BTW, I love your louvers!

Greg
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2007, 09:22 AM »
Kathy & I wish to thank those who have wished her well. According to the good folks at University of California at San Francisco Medical Center/Mount Zion Hospital, they're 98% sure the cancer is gone. How they came up with that particular number, I don't know, but they've been ranked among the top ten hospitals in the country by US News & World Report, so who are we to question them. The next year will tell us a lot. We've been married going on 37 years and with becoming empty nesters and retirement just around the corner, another 37 years together would be nice. Fortunately, this year's two surgeries and two deaths have been tempered with two marriage proposals. I guess that means two Craftsman-Style china cabinets. Using my Domino, of course.

Gary Nichols
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

Offline Terry Fogarty

  • Posts: 402
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2007, 07:44 PM »
Brilliant Gary ;D I love the simple way of indexing the mortices. Well done.

And i hope all goes well for you wife :)
.

Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2007, 03:02 AM »
Hi Tezzer,

I envisioned something like the Domino Trim Stop with an adjustable retracting indexing pin similar to the LR 32 System, to drop into the mortises. And maybe a turret mount that would rotate the Domino 90 degrees for the left & right side angles. And maybe even throw in adjustable fences like on the Festool Plexiglas Jig. But without access to Festool's engineering brain trust, I guess I'll have to rely on the old KISS method. Sometines that's the best.

As for my wife, she may not be completely out of the woods yet, but she's getting a pretty good view of the meadow. Thanks for asking.

Gary
« Last Edit: July 17, 2007, 08:15 PM by Gary Nichols »
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

Offline Brice Burrell

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  • Remodeling Contractor
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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2007, 07:19 PM »
Hey Gary,

Thanks for the idea. This project was really fun. ;D

Short video of the process.


« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 10:36 AM by Brice Burrell »
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline charlie b

  • Posts: 34
Gary's DOMINO Louver Mortise Great Method
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2007, 02:10 AM »
Gary:

Tried e-mailing you this stuff but I guess you
don't check that e-mail daily.  Anyway,
I put together a set of Draft Instructions
for your idea, as I understand it.  Tried
posting them as attachments here but for
some reason couldn't.  So I've put them on
a temporary page on my personal, non-
commercial, no pop ups, no cookies, etc.
woodworking site.  Each "page" is a GIF file
you can download and print off line.

If you, and anyone else interested, would
have a look and see if there's any errors,
omissions or things that need to be clearer
I'll make the corrections, revisions and put
them up again.  When a good set is done
I'll post them, one at a time, here, if that's
all right with you.  I'd also like to include them
in the DOMINO section of my site - with
your permission of course.

http://web.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/DOMINO/Louvers/Louvers0.html

Comments, suggestions, constructive
criticism will be welcomed.

charlie b

Offline Eli

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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2007, 05:34 AM »
A valuable addition to my shop reference. Thanks to you and to Gary.
Do nothing, stay ahead.

Offline Groggy

  • Posts: 53
Re: Gary's DOMINO Louver Mortise Great Method
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2007, 05:35 AM »
Nice job Charlie.  ;)
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Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2007, 07:10 AM »
Charlie,
Excellent thread, and a great project.  Your project fits very nicely with all the other creative uses of the Domino that have been discussed here in the forum.

Which file were you trying to attach?  I'd like to have it here for other people to see, and it should not be a problem to get it to work.  If you want, send me a PM and we can get this sorted out.  Another option would be for you to upload it to the Gallery.

Matthew

PS: You're "accidental" post to has been fixed!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2007, 07:15 AM by Matthew Schenker »
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2007, 04:48 PM »
Charlie & Brice,

Great jobs.... Sorry I didn't reply sooner; spent much of the weekend helping my #2 daughter compose her October wedding invitation and making Mapquest's driving instructions a little more "friendly".

Let me first say that Christian O has asked to post my fixed-louver idea on festoolusa.com. I have already edited my article and sent it on along with the higher-res photos, but with your permission I will pass along these links to your two websites.

Charlie, I see you live in San Jose... Next time you make it down to the Monterey Peninsula, look me up. Now about your "Draft Instructions": In "Figure 1", it appears that the "Notched loose tenon for indexing" has the notch facing away from the Domino unit rather than towards it. You might want to turn it around a half turn. The notch spaces the louvers closer together. The main purpose here is not so much to decrease the space between the louvers and impede light and/or airflow, but to make the louvers overlap enough to increase privacy if that's a priority. As the bottom of a louver overlaps the top of the louver below it, the privacy factor increases, and you'd almost have to be on your hands & knees, looking up to see anything at all through the panel.  If maximum airflow and/or sunlight is more important than privacy, say, heating vents or closet doors, then a full, un-notched domino spacer would work better.

So far, I have not seen any 8-10mm thick louvers on the doors at our local lumberyard. With my method of the louvers being "bent & slid" into the mortises AFTER the frame has been assembled, sanded & finished, I think 5 & 6mm louvers work better than 8 or 10mm. Unless you encounter a specific need for thicker louvers, I wouldn't even bother with them. I rip the louvers from flat-sawn stock, so they essentially become quarter-sawn, which not only "shows" better but also reduces the tendency to warp.


Brice,

As always, your video was great. It also drives home the slowest part of this operation; that being the constant stopping to advance the "spacer Domino". I've never actually seen an LR 32 unit in person; our local Festool dealer has maybe 12 tools, and few attachments. After watching your LR 32 videos, I envision something similar to the right-angled attachment that comes with the Domino, but featuring two indexing pins & a button in between that retracts them, then drops them down into the newly cut mortise, instead of fooling with the "spacer domino"... no more stopping. And make it so both pins would be equally adjustable in & out for infinite louver spacing. Two pins, one engages when the Domino is rotated left, the other pin engages when rotated right... Something Festool would have to make, as anything I try would lack the close tolerances needed. No longer a KISS thing.... If I hadn't seen your videos on the LR 32, this idea would still just be waiting to happen. Thanks for your help...

Gary Nichols
« Last Edit: July 23, 2007, 05:04 PM by Gary Nichols »
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4771
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2007, 05:14 PM »

...Let me first say that Christian O has asked to post my fixed-louver idea on festoolusa.com....

....I've never actually seen an LR 32 unit in person...


Christian should send an LR32 to you in compensation.  ;)

Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2007, 05:20 PM »
Michael,

Sounds good to me..... maybe I should also post about how I use my Bosch SCMS too.... ::)

Brice has already offered to loan me his LR 32, but I'm affraid it may go back minus the retracting pin mechanism....

Gary
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 01:09 PM by Gary Nichols »
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

Offline woodshopdemos

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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2007, 11:48 AM »
Gary,
   What a great idea and wonderful post. No other words are needed, except I am going to try it real soon. Think of how mixed hardwood species would look. Elm frame, rosewood slats. Great entertainment doors
In memory of John Lucas (1937 - 2010)

Offline Gary Nichols

  • Posts: 92
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2007, 03:37 PM »
Hi John,

Glad you liked it. Say, nobody local stocks Elm. What does it look like? I'm assuming it's much lighter than Rosewood.

Gary Nichols
I'm not lost, I'm just taking the scenic route

Offline woodshopdemos

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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2007, 07:43 PM »
yes, lighter and striaght - a good contrast - that is what I would be looking for. Maple straight grain would be fine.
In memory of John Lucas (1937 - 2010)

Offline Brice Burrell

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Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Eiji Fuller

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Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2008, 11:59 PM »
Gary,
Thank you for this project and description. This is exactly what I am looking for in a contest winning project.


It seems to me that I am always asking for more pics and details of the build. But in this case I would like to see some more pics of the finished piece.

Eiji

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4771
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2008, 08:38 AM »
Gary,
Thank you for this project and description. This is exactly what I am looking for in a contest winning project.


It seems to me that I am always asking for more pics and details of the build. But in this case I would like to see some more pics of the finished piece.

Eiji


 ;) ;D


Offline Bill Wyko

  • Posts: 821
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #27 on: June 15, 2008, 10:26 AM »
Very nice job Gary. Another fine use of the Domino.
The bitterness of poor quality, lingers long after the cheap price is forgotten.

Offline Robert Robinson

  • Posts: 722
  • southern Indiana, U.S.A.
Re: Fixed-Louvers with Domino or What I Didn't Do This Spring
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2008, 01:00 PM »
great job Gary, and I wish your wife well too.
TS-55, FS-KS angle unit, 55 inch guide rail, Domino (pin style), 3 Domino systainer assortments(one sipo set),Multi-position Guide Stop 20, Domiplate , PSB-300, FOGtainer 4, CXS set