There are many choices for wood that you can use for making window shutters but some are better than others. Let's take a look at some of the wood you probably shouldn't use before we look at the ones that are recommended.
Although oak is a very good hardwood and makes for great furniture they can present some issue when using them for shutters. For starters, oak is very heavy so oak interior shutters will add a great deal of weight to window jambs. They will also have to be pre-drilled, aren't really suitable for painting, and the louvers are prone to warping. As you can surmise, these aren't a good choice for shutters.
Like oak, maple is a very heavy wood and used often for furniture such as dining and bedroom furniture. Because it is so heavy it also requires pre-drilling of the window jambs and the louvers are difficult to tension properly.
The next area we will move into are the woods that are suitable for shutters. Poplar is moderately heavy wood and is good to use if the finished product will be painted but the green color and mineral streaks inherent in the wood do not allow for staining. Easily obtained and inexpensive, it results in a lower quality wood shutter.
Cedar is a good choice in some cases since it mills and finishes good but it is a very soft wood and is easily dented or scratched. If you are thinking of using the wood for exterior window treatments it is excellent with its resistance to bugs and decay it will last a long time with little maintenance required.
Pine is a wood that is used for many different products from building homes to the furnishings in them. It is very soft and there are many grades of pine to choose from. Still this is not at the top of my list to use for your window shutters.
The best wood in the opinion of many is basswood. The tree is found mainly on the East Coast of the North America ranging from Quebec in Canada down to Delaware and then as far west as Eastern Kentucky. The trees grow to an average height of over sixty five feet. Basswood is a managed renewable resource and the way that the trees are harvested balances growth of new trees with the removal of others for wood. The resulting shutters are extremely straight and have an indistinct grain and a uniform texture.
Basswood results in very straight shutters with a fine indistinct grain, they are easy to mount, and can be stained for a beautiful finish.