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Kirtz Shutter Craftsmanship; what a quality finish adds to your custom shutter

Without a quality finish on  a custom shutter, the value created by using a high quality wood, and rigorous construction standards would be minimized.   Let’s take a look at how Kirtz Shutters achieves a  quality finish on our custom shutters. 

Linear Priming (painted shutters only)

Components of our painted maple shutter are primed in lineal form.  By priming in lineal form we can ensure an even coating of primer, up to two mill thickness on each part of the shutter.  A high quality prime helps the shutter take finish coats well.

Wood Grading (painted and stained shutters)

Not all components make the final cut for a Kirtz Shutter.  All of our components are inspected before they reach the production line and undesirable sections of wood with flaws are marked as not suitable for a Kirtz Shutter.

Prep Work~ Where the Magic Happens

Even the best quality wood has some imperfections.   To get a smooth finish involves a high level of attention to detail during prep work.   Imperfections are fixed during 2 different stages of manufacturing.  

The Production Line — Filler is applied to the any noticeable flaws in the wood and sanded out smooth.  

Brown and Sand — Shutters enter this area after they are built, and before they enter the finish room.  High intensity spotlights shine down upon the shutters, highlighting any slight flaw that might show up in the final product.  These minor flaws are fixed with putty and sanding, and then the finish sanding begins. 

Finish sanding is done by hand, with very fine sandpaper.  Every inch of the Kirtz Shutter is finish sanded, including the top of the tilt rod, an area that few manufactures take the time to address.  After final inspection, they are ready for finish.

shutters are inspected for flaws under high intensity lights

shutters are inspected for flaws under hign intensity lights

 

any small flaws are fixed before finish is applied

any small flaws are fixed before finish is applied

During finish Kirtz Shutters are hung from a track system on cars that allow the shutter to rotate completely.  This makes sure, whether painted or stained, each shutter receives an even amount of paint/stain on all parts of the shutters resulting in a smooth, even finish from any angle.

plantation shutters in the paint finish room

plantation shutters in the paint finish room

Painted Shutters receive  two coats of  lacquer paint finish on top of the primer.  In between coats, shutters are quality inspected.  All our paint has UV inhibitors in it to help keep your custom shutters looking great, even in the most intense sun.

Stained Shutters are sprayed with your stain color, typically a custom mix done just for you.  Each shutter receives two coats of stain.  In between coats, the shutters are taken down off the track, hand wiped and lightly sanded    This step is the differential between standard finish and a truly furniture quality finish.    Without it the shutter color would appear a bit opaque, what some people call “muddy” .  To finish up, we put two coats of clear finish on the shutters to protect the wood and bring up the beauty of the grain.   We use a 20 sheen, which gives a nice luster to the wood and provides the finish with depth.  

After finishing is complete, Kirtz Shutters sit overnight to let the finish have time to cure.  Depending on the time of the year, painted finishes are given extra curing time in a cool room.

While each area of our factory plays a key role in making the Kirtz Shutter a bench quality product,  the finish department plays a critical role in making the work of all the other departments really shine.

Distressed Shutters, and Specialty Finishes on Plantation Shutters

Recently we have worked on a number of projects that have required specialty multi-step finishes.  Distressed Shutters have been especially popular lately.   This is one of my favorite things that we do, because we do it very well.    Lots of kudos must be given to the head of our finish department, Allen.   He has both the skill and the willingness to do this type of work.

How does this process work?

Any time we match a finish we request a physical sample.  This is incredibly important in specialty finishes because each finish is unique.   Did the original finisher have a heavy hand, or a light hand when he wiped off the glaze?  What tool was used to do the distressing?  A wire brush?  Chains?  A wheel?  There are an incredible number of variables, and since these shutters are often going up against millwork or paneling, it is critical to get a good match.

So we bring a sample that shows the finished look,  and the stain department does a strike-off (or sample) of their ability to replicate the finish on your plantation shutters.  This is then provided to the homeowner/designer for their approval.  Once approved, we proceed with the finish work.  Distressed, glazed, antiqued and sand thru finishes are going to have a longer than average lead time, due to the complexity of the finish.  But just like fine wine, it’s worth the wait.

Here are just a couple of photos of specialty finishes that have gone through our factory lately.

stained, distressed red oak shutters

stained, distressed red oak shutters

exterior shutters with a sand through finish

exterior shutters with a sand through finish

painted and glazed knotty alder result in an antique distressed look

painted and glazed knotty alder result in an antique distressed look

As nice as these distressed and specialty finished shutters look, they are all an effort to duplicate an old world look.  And the best way to get an authentic old work look is to use old wood.

Enter wormy chestnut……

For a history of this wood, see this link to our site http://kirtz.preview.interworks.com/hardwoods/wormy-chestnut.html
The short version of the story is its old, like 100 years old.  So all that patina and distressing was actually earned by the wood through years of use.  Pretty cool, huh?   The picture below shows wormy chestnut shutters with a tobacco hued stain.  It looks great with a clear finish too, but this stain really gives it some nice warmth.  This wood, more than any other wood, is one that people gravitate towards when we put it on display.
wormy chestnut with a tobacco finish
Another wood that gives a nice authentic decayed look is Pecky Cypress. This wood has been attacked by a fungus that eats the wood.  This in turn makes lens shaped pockets throughout the tree.  The result is a very attractive multi-dimensional wood.   We treated this pecky cypress hardwood shutter with a heavy black glaze, thus intensifying the appearance of variation of the surface.
Pecky Cypress with a glazed finish

Pecky Cypress with a glazed finish

This is just a sampling of our work that I could pull up quickly this afternoon to show the variety in finishing techniques we use.  If you don’t see what you are after, that is only because you haven’t asked us to build (and finish) it yet.  Give us a call and lets see what we can do for you!