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Wooden Louvre Doors and How They Are Made

Updated on November 30, 2020
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Advertising leaflet for Schmidtmann Louvre Doors Germany

Made in Gäufelden, Germany
Made in Gäufelden, Germany | Source

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 PressLamello 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.Festo JFA with our Pneumatic Automatic Hopper feedPrototype Swagging Machine GP This very first machine with open baseOriginal FESTO full base machine before I redesigned itMe on stand at machine and door Expo
Hydraulic Door Press
Hydraulic Door Press | Source
Lamello Wafer Biscuit
Lamello Wafer Biscuit
Finger Joining Milling Machine
Finger Joining Milling Machine | Source
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 | Source
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. | Source
Festo JFA with our Pneumatic Automatic Hopper feed
Festo JFA with our Pneumatic Automatic Hopper feed | Source
Prototype Swagging Machine GP This very first machine with open base
Prototype Swagging Machine GP This very first machine with open base | Source
Original FESTO full base machine before I redesigned it
Original FESTO full base machine before I redesigned it | Source
Me on stand at machine and door Expo
Me on stand at machine and door Expo | Source

Louvre Doors Today

Would you buy Louvre Doors today for your house ?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Aladdins Cave


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