I am trying to mount a roller shade in between two wood beams on my porch. The problem is that the beams are a hair too close together to accommodate mounting the shade.

I am trying to remove a small amount of material (~1/4") from the side of each wood beam, about 3 inches deep. I've illustrated the problem on this picture.

enter image description here

I'm unsure which tool or approach would be best to complete this job. I've considered a few ideas:

A straight router cut with a guide on the outside could do it, but the depth of cut I need extends past the capacity of most routers. I suppose I could hammer it out with a chisel but it would take a lot of effort. Another idea I considered was using a power planer to shave off material in large passes, but that approach poses problems considering I'm trying to remove material to a specific depth.

Anyone have suggestions?

enter image description here

  • 9
    Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. How do you know that the thinned posts will still support what they're supporting? Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 22:46
  • 7
    While trimming the shade is the obvious correct answer, it's worth noting that it looks like you intended to remove most of the meat on that beam which makes up the shoulder that is taking the beam's load. That's a recipe for disaster. You generally want to be very careful with any work that leads to weakening of structural members - where it is allowed there are generally very specific rules about how much material can be removed and from where on the structural member. This does not seem to be one of those cases.
    – J...
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 13:33
  • I would recommend putting the shade in front of the frame otherwise there will be a gap between the shade and the wood frame that light will pass through. Building shutters is also a viable option Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 18:50

3 Answers 3


What about trimming the roller shade? Most shades are meant to be trimmed, since manufacturers can't make every single size. See if you can pop off one of the ends, and then cut the rolled-up shade with a utility knife or something similar.

  • 3
    I would be looking at trimming the shade also+
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 23:34
  • 25
    I hadn't considered this. I inspected the end pieces and all the parts are definitely choppable. I'll have to buy an aluminum blade for my miter saw but it's preferable to hacking up parts of my house. Thanks for this common sense suggestion Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 23:49
  • 8
    A/B problems at their finest :P
    – Baldrickk
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 11:25
  • @Ian Aluminium is fairly soft, so while it might dull a wood blade slightly, it shouldn't damage it if you go slow. If you have a blade that needs to be re-sharpened anyway, go ahead and use it to cut the roller shade. I wouldn't do it on a freshly-sharpened blade though. Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 20:43
  • 8
    @Baldrickk You mean XY problems.
    – jpmc26
    Commented Jun 8, 2019 at 14:29

Trimming the roller shade is obviously the right answer, but just in case somebody has a similar problem where it isn't the right answer:

Don't try and create a router cut 3½" deep and ¼" wide - create one 3½" wide and ¼" deep. No router will have a problem with that. Probably easiest to clamp a piece of scrap to the outside of the beam, and then just cut the (wide, shallow) groove out.

(This does assume that you can remove the insect screen before cutting the wood out.)

This will, of course, not cut the bits at end. For those, you will need to get as close as possible with the router, and then finish off with a chisel (or a variety of chisels).


If you really want to cut that rebate, you could use a hand-held circular saw, you'll probably need one with an 8" or bigger blade to get the depth, to get a straight cut fix a staight-edge for the foot of the saw to follow. finish with chisels or an oscillating blade tool.

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