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Louvre Doors and how they are made

Updated on June 25, 2015

Everything you ever wanted to know about Louvre Doors

In this lens I will try to impart with as much knowledge about Louvre Doors as I can.

The information will cover a little about the History, the manufacturing, timber types and the machinery used in the manufacture of Louvre Doors.

Most of the information comes from experience in the industry, which started in ( Oschelbronn ) Germany, where I worked as a fitter and Turner.

From Germany we moved manufacturing to Kranji, Singapore.

All of the doors we made were then containerized and exported to the European market.

From the Forest

Two reasons why Louvre Doors are no longer fashionable

In the beginning, many many years a ago, Louvre doors were made from a wood called Meranti. This was cut down from rain forests in Indonesia. This timber was also widely used for other timber products, and overtime became very expensive because of the demand.

The cutting down of rain forests soon became a political world wide movement against the timber industry. This was the start of a world wide decline in the use of Meranti, but the quality of the raw timber also became inferior, and manufacturer's looked for other timber types. Other timbers soon turned up, Bamboo, Jelutong, Geronggang, etc, but often they were Meranti species with new names.

Ramin started to appear as the next source of timber. It was much cheaper and had never been used for Louvre doors before, Unlike Meranti which is brownish in color, Ramin was almost white in color. It was a harder timber, so it would machine well, and leave a smooth finish. With little or no grain pattern, it looked good. And the timber could be stained by the end user to what ever color they wanted.

But soon the demand for Ramin became larger than the supply chain, and prices started to go up. It also became clear that this timber was not going to a long term fix for the timber industry, because of its limited availability.

So the end was getting closer. Ramin Louver Doors despite having a nice clean surface finish, they still collected dust. House wife's soon got sick of cleaning them and they slowly faded out.

How we made Louvre Doors

A quick overview

After manufacturing wood working machinery in Germany, the company I worked for decided to use the machines we made to produce doors. But we soon found the one Swagging Machine was not enough to produce enough Louvre Blades to meet production. So a quick fix was invented. A belt sander, similar to the one the photo, was turned upside down on a table. With the belt facing upwards, we could sand the ends of the blades and remove the square cuts so that the blades would find their way into the slots of the timber frames without doing damage. Sometimes 3 or 4 people would gather around one sander to turn out the thousands of blades needed.

Making the Louvre Blades

The newest version of Swaging Machines I designed

This machine was the last of its type to be designed in our factory.

Its predecessor had a solid full size stand.

I designed this model which differs from the original only in regards to the stand.

On this model, the blades would fall straight down into a empty container, saving space on the factory floor, and the machine was cheaper to manufacture by doing away with one huge stand.

A photo of the original machine is below in gallery. You will notice the different full stand.

This photo shows the new version.

This Pneumatically operated machine would squeeze the timber Louvre blades on each end.

This would help the Louvre's find their way into the slots in the frame, when the door is assembled in the hydraulic press.

When the machine was set up to run at Max speed, it would do between 5 to 80 per minute.

But the it was important that all the Louvre Blades were same length. To long and they would bend or break. To short and the ends would not be compressed.

They Pneumatic Cylinder was designed by Mr Helmut Schmidtmann.

Technical Data

Operation Air

Speed 5-80 per minute

Swaging Force 1600 kp at 6 bar

Workpiece Dim. Max 800 x 56 x 15 mm

Workpiece Dim. Min 160 x 15 x 5 mm

Height of hopper 600 mm

Makeing the slots in the frame for the Lourve blades

The tools you will need. One electric Drill with drills and spade bits 6 mm. Hammer and chisel.

Sand paper. If you have a 2040 mm high door, you have about 70 blades. So that in turn means 140 slots. So start by drilling about five 6mm holes to about a depth of 10mm. The slot needs to very close to 32 mm long. Now that you have drilled the holes, chisel out any remaining wood between the hole so you end up with a slot. A well trained carpenter type person will finish one of these slots in about 2 minutes. Because you have 140 of these to do, I suggest you............

Use a JFA instead.

This machine will automatically put the slots into a pair of frames in about 3 or 4 minutes.

The machine in the photo is without the automatic hopper. You can see the JFA with automatic feeder below in gallery.

How Bifold Doors are installed - This is the same for Louvre Doors and any other type of Bifolds

Louvre Doors can be of light weight construction, but if you are using solid timber

bifolds doors or MDF, make sure you use heavy duty tracks and fittings.

Dowels vs Lamello ( Biscuits )

Lamello vs Dowels
Lamello vs Dowels

Lamello. You are asking yourself, WHAT ?

They are wafers or biscuits made from compressed chipboard.

Very strong and thin. When PVA glue is applied, the they absorb the moisture and expand slightly.

This makes them fit nice and snugly into a grove on each piece of wood that need to be joined.

This system is much more flexible than using dowels which need to be drilled accuratly so that timbers that need

to joined up have to match the holes 100%. Bl Bla I don't think I have explained it well.

Our company was the first in the world to introduce this system into Louvre Doors.

And I'm proud to have been involved in its implementation.

See photo I have made with two systems. Left is Lamello ( Biscuit ) and the right is the dowel system.

The photo was taken in our Louvre door factory in Singapore.

Some of the Machines needed to make Louvre Doors - Most of these have been designed by the company I worked for

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hydraulic Door PressSingapore Machine ExpoLamello Wafer BiscuitFinger Joining Milling MachinePlease note the two different methods of fixing. Center Top is our wafer (LAMELLO) type. Bottom right is the standard dowel fixing systemMaking Louvre Doors in Gaufelden Germany. My best mate, Heinz Spitenberger assembling doors on press.JFA with Pneumatic Automatic HopperPrototype Swagging Machine GPThis very first machine with open baseOriginal FESTO full base.
Hydraulic Door Press
Hydraulic Door Press
Singapore Machine Expo
Singapore Machine Expo
Lamello Wafer Biscuit
Lamello Wafer Biscuit
Finger Joining Milling Machine
Finger Joining Milling Machine
Please note the two different methods of fixing. Center Top is our wafer (LAMELLO) type. Bottom right is the standard dowel fixing system
Please note the two different methods of fixing. Center Top is our wafer (LAMELLO) type. Bottom right is the standard dowel fixing system
Making Louvre Doors in Gaufelden Germany. My best mate, Heinz Spitenberger assembling doors on press.
Making Louvre Doors in Gaufelden Germany. My best mate, Heinz Spitenberger assembling doors on press.
JFA with Pneumatic Automatic Hopper
JFA with Pneumatic Automatic Hopper
Prototype Swagging Machine GPThis very first machine with open base
Prototype Swagging Machine GPThis very first machine with open base
Original FESTO full base.
Original FESTO full base.

Louvre Doors Today

Would you buy Louvre Doors today for your house ?

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 20 months ago from USA

      Could have used your skills 15 years ago!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image
      Author

      Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Hello 2 muchtrash,I agree, beautiful wood should be stained. And if done correctly and it has a smooth finish, its also easy to clean. Thank you for stopping by and liking my lens.Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      We have two sets of louvre doors in our house. One set is painted and the other is just stained and I much prefer the stained ones. It always seems like a waste to paint beautiful wood.

    • Aladdins Cave profile image
      Author

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @julieannbrady: Hi Julie, hope your doors don't fall off again.Thanks for leaving comment. Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 4 years ago

      Well! I've got to tell you -- I have two sets of louver doors in my two guest bedrooms. One day, the left side fell off and hit my parquet floor. What a sound! It took me the longest time to figure out how to get it back into the track and tightened up so that it worked properly!

    • Aladdins Cave profile image
      Author

      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      @DANCING COWGIRL: Yes you are correct, bifold doors have a use in the universe. Thank you for visiting. I have never had so much traffic on my sites !!! Cheers

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      I like this type of door. It doesn't take as much clearance to open as a regular door and that's good for small places.

    • profile image

      Mr_Average 6 years ago

      Great resource on louvre doors, check out my squidoo here Louvre Doors