Monday, January 31, 2011

Flat Versus Oval Louvers

One of our most frequently asked questions is why Stanfield Shutter uses flat louvers instead of oval louvers. We feel:

1-The slim-line horizontal design louver looks more like a shutter.
2-The slim-line horizontal design louvers offer a better view.
3-The louver to tilt rod connection is more secure.
4-There are fewer nicks in the slim-line horizontal design louver blade.
5-Symetry—oval louvers are frequently lopsided.
6-The overall finish is smoother and nicer.

1. Almost 20 years ago Grant (one of our sales consultants) and Gary (the general manager) were approached by several designers with a problem. Their customers were complaining because their guest kept complimenting them on their blinds when they had paid good money for shutters. After researching the problem it was determined that the small edge of the oval louver made the shutter look more like a blind then a shutter. Once the slim-line horizontal design louver was introduced the problem was resolved and our customers were much happier.
 2. The slim-line horizontal design louvers actually offer a better view then the archaic oval louvers. The diagrams you see are actual representations of our slim-line flat louvers compared to the oval louvers of our competition. The  difference is astounding! As these scale representations show the slim-line horizontal design louver is almost eighth of an inch thinner then its oval counterpart. On standard windows you could have 2 ¼ to 5 ½ inches more viewing space just by choosing the slim-line horizontal design louver!
3. Because the slim-line horizontal design louver has more meat on the edges the staples used to connect the tilt rod to the louvers hold tighter and longer then those in the oval louvers. Because of the increased meat the louvers do not break out around the staple like the oval louvers do. In addition, the oval louver only has a small edge for a staple to hit to be perfectly aligned. Many staples on oval louvers miss their mark and look funny because they are on the surface of the louver instead of on the edge where they are supposed to be.
 4. Whenever you ask a professional mill worker to mill wood for you he will ask how many knife marks per inch are acceptable. What he wants to know is how many knife nicks you will accept per every inch of the wood. Since oval louvers must be manufactured with larger and wider blades the opportunity for the blade to nick the wood increases dramatically which will eventually show up in the final product as little lines in the paint or dark lines in stained shutters.
 5. If you have ever looked at an oval louver from the side you would be able to see that the louver is uneven. The edge of the front is smaller or bigger then the edge on the back, the curve of the louver is different on the top and bottom and from left to right, and so forth. On the other hand, the slim-line horizontal design louver is perfectly symmetrical on all sides giving it a nice, balanced look and feel.
 6. Shutters are very difficult to finish properly. There are many different angles to spray and multiple parts that have to be adjusted to obtain a nice finish. Because of this most shutters are primed and sanded before they are finished. Electrical sanders, however, are flat which makes sanding oval louvers properly difficult at best. Trying to sand the curve of the oval louver by hand is sketchy at best since the human hand will never maintain a constant shape and will not be able to apply constant pressure to the sand paper and the louver. In short, the finish on oval louvered shutters is more inconsistent and not as smooth as the slim-line horizontal design louvered shutters. 
For over 20 years Stanfield Shutter has been using the slim-line horizontal design louver in our shutters. To date we have not had a single recorded complaint concerning the design, in fact, we receive compliments on a routine basis. If you are looking for a shutter that looks like a shutter then a shutter built by Stanfield Shutter with the slim-line horizontal design louver is the right shutter for you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Innovative Design

In the early 1980’s the president of Stanfield Shutter Company, Gary Stillman, could not have imagined the impact a family vacation to Nauvoo, IL would have on his life, his company, and the entire shutter industry.

Nauvoo is full of charming little specialty shops in which individuals instruct tourists about life in the 1800’s. Each shop is dedicated to a different task. There’s one for brick-making, another for printing on an old printing press, and still another for metal and ironwork. As Gary watched the many craftsman demonstrate how our ancestors lived and worked he was impressed with the innovation and dedication they possessed.
In one particular shop a man demonstrated how our ancestors built wagon wheels. The craftsman showed the visitors how the wooden spokes were connected to the center hub and secured to the circular perimeter of the wheel to keep the wheel round. As Gary watched he had the idea to incorporate the "spoke" concept into a new shutter design to accommodate the new arch shaped windows that were just becoming popular.

Upon returning to Utah Gary enlisted Stanfield Shutter’s finest engineer and designer, Grant Petersen, to help him develop the moveable louvered sunburst arch. They incorporated the spoke concept by joining the louvers to the shutter frame hub. In doing this they engineered the louvers to rotate open and closed. Over time the team made improvements and eventually added a tilt rod to the circle and ½ circle arches so all the louvers could be adjusted at once. Today every sunburst arch design in the world traces its heritage back to the innovation Gary and Grant had more than 20 years ago.