What is the purpose of the Brace?

For years the ‘Ledge and Brace(1)’ door or shutter(2) has long been seen as the common component displaying the recognisable Z shape. This shape is not only decorative but serves a purpose too? Today the brace is not quite as important with modern construction techniques and superior glues(3) such as used by Wallybois but still adds some ascetics to the product and additional strength. “This is all very well”, you may ask but this does not explain the purpose of this piece of diagonal timber.

Why do we Brace a Ledge Door or Shutter

In the days when my predecessor carpenters made these doors or volets they had limited resources such as the glues where not what we have today and they relied heavily on special jointing and mechanical fixings. With these limitations imposed they added the diagonal brace to the construction which provided stability.

Without the brace the boards would rely on the mechanical fixings such as clinched nails(2) (bent over) but as the timber dries further the wood would shrink making the fixing loose and without the brace the board would sag in a stepping pattern in the shape of the Trapezoid.

What is a Clinched nail

A nail that is clinched is a nail that is longer than the thickness of the wood and bent over with it’s point driven back inton the wood. We drive the point of the nail back into the wood so it draws the two pieces of wood together.

The Brace Transfers load to a fixed point

The brace transfers the vertical load of the door or shutter to a fixed point normally towards the hinge. Gravity is defeated when the extra strength and stability provided by the brace is included as a part of the design. In this picture of an Oak shutter you can clearly see how the diagonal brace connects both  ledges at opposite ends. The Result is a mirror image Z that takes the force from the closing edge that has no hinge support and sends it to the hinged edge of the shutter.

Depending on how tall your shutter is will dictate how many ledges are required. Every ledge parallel requires one brace between them.

You can construct shutters without braces with modern construction techniques and good hinge placement. I hope this little article helps explain why we fit a diagonal Brace to our shutters and l & G doors


  1. écharpe
  2. volet
  3. colle
  4. clou

Why Do I Write these?

We write these articles for fun and hope you find them of interest. These educational blogs are updated on a regular basis so please return to keep a check on things.


I am happy to inform you that we have included some links to related products. If you decide to purchase any product we receive a modest commission and thank you for your support.

About Us, I Suppose You Might Be Interested?

We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.

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