The Astronomical Instrumentation Group at Cardiff University has been developing metal mesh optical filters for more than 30 years, which are currently in use in many ground-, balloon- and space-based instruments. Here we review the current state of the art with respect to these quasi-optical components (low-pass, high-pass and band-pass filters, dichroics and beam-dividers) as developed for the FIR and sub-millimetre wavelength region. We compare performance data with various modelling tools (HFSS, transmission line theory or Floquet mode analysis). These models assist with our understanding of the behaviour of these filters when used at non-normal incidence or in the diffraction region of the grid structures. Interesting artefacts, such as the Wood anomalies and behaviour with S and P polarisations, which dictate the usage of these components in polarisation sensitive instruments, will be discussed.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.