Decades of producing high performance wood repair epoxies have put Abatron in touch with countless customers restoring wood windows. We’ve heard thousands of stories of window repairs being made on historic homes and buildings dating back to the late 1700’s. We were recently introduced to a niche within our niche; an element designed to protect those windows in the first place, shutters.
A simple tag on Instagram introduced us to Main Line Shutters. Named for the historic railroad line that runs from Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood through the western suburbs, Main Line Shutters has carved out the unique specialty of restoring and replacing historic shutters in and around Philadelphia.
Like many specialty craftsmen, owner, Nate Skiles hadn’t planned on the specialty that eventually found him. He began his career as a part-time traveling musician and a part-time roofing contractor. The roofing jobs slowly transitioned into fixing and flipping houses, which ultimately moved towards high end renovations and remodeling. A remodeling client inquired about having Skiles hang some new shutters that she had purchased from The Philadelphia Shutter Company (PSC), and just like that, a new connection formed.
Skiles was hired to hang those shutters and soon after became a regular contractor for PSC, installing its new shutters when customers needed a contractor referral. He also began consulting on shutter installations and working to restore, refurbish and repaint shutters. In some cases, replacement isn’t necessary and LiquidWood®, WoodEpox®, and a little epoxy know-how can extend the life of shutters significantly.
Abatron products were added to the Main Line toolbox after they were recommended by a seasoned painter at a Philadelphia area Benjamin Moore store. Having stopped in to look for a different wood patching product, the painter insisted that Skiles try something more permanent and introduced him to LiquidWood and WoodEpox. He’s stuck with them ever since due to their workability and predictable performance.
Even though Main Line is known for shutters, its capabilities don’t stop there. Main Line has done extensive work on historic facades, wood windows, doors, cornices, and any other exterior work that might require some special carpentry know-how and attention to detail.
“Every job this year began as a shutter inquiry, but one of my favorite jobs was a row home in Philadelphia with a double arched entry. Restoring the entry was incredibly rewarding.”
Once on the job, Skiles’s attention to detail and knowledge of historic exterior elements often leads to a much wider scope of work than just the shutters. In 2020, Main Line will have installed over 170 pairs of new shutters and fully restored and installed another 36 pairs. Main Line travels into Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia if the job calls for it, but much of its work comes from the historic neighborhoods right along Philadelpia’s “Main Line”. When asked about tips for anyone who might be thinking about restoring their own shutters, Skiles had the following advice:
“Remember that a shutter is basically just a miniature door. They are relatively simple, but they can be a lot of work. Make sure to pay attention to the joints, and if the louvers are falling out, it might be time to say goodbye. Oh- and watch out for bats! They like to nest behind the louvers, especially if the shutters were installed upside down.”