Shoji Blog

Amado Door-Solid Wood Sliding Door

Amado Door-Solid Wood Sliding Door

I recently got a call from a retro-60’s furniture store owner. He told me he had a client that need my services.  It turned out that the client; Tim, needed about 8 lineal feet of sliding door. Although he was of Japanese decent, he was not interested in Shoji.

At my shop, I showed him a set of Amado doors I have from Japan and are about 80 or 90 yrs old. They are antiques  that I keep around to show people. They are made of Pine and look almost exactly like what I built in the pics below.

Tim loved them and we agreed that I would build him a pair of doors that slide on one track and slide to one side. They would be custom made to his opening of 94″ wide by 80″ tall.

Here is what I designed and built…

Wood: I chose a Tempered Ash. This wood might be called engineered. The manufacturer heats up Eastern Ash, normally a light yellow to blonde color with distinct grain. The wood is kiln dried then heated up so that the core is 180 degrees. This changes the composition of the wood. It cooks it! The wood turns a sort of dark caramel color throughout. This wood was designed to be used outdoors. Bug and rot resistant. And all without the use of chemicals. Great stuff.

08-P1040095 The frame is 1-1/2 x 3″09-P1040096  3/8″ x 1/2″deep dado11-P1040105 I jointed the edges of the 1/2″ panels so it would fit snug. These are re-sawn 2 x 10″. Rough-sawn to 3/4″, they are 1/2″thick once they are planed and sanded.

1-P1040115I applied 11/16 x 11/16″ verticle strips.

1-P1040140How it turned out…

The doors were finished with satin sheen lacquer. Gives it an oiled look.

01-P1040125-001This shot of the door at my shop lets you see the grain and color.


Back side… This is the client’s private room that I screened away from the rest of the house.

The original use of this type of door was a shutter that fit into a track. They were stored in a slot in the wall. Like a closet for the doors. When a storm approached the house, the Amado were brought out and put in place, over the shoji. This protected the fragile paper.






A Minor Mishap in the Shop Parking Lot.

A Minor Mishap in the Shop Parking Lot.

My shop is located in an Industrial location. Mostly the other tenants are connected somehow with the trucking industry. The building was heavily vandalized before the new owner bought the place. Slowly, they have brought it back to it’s former glory. I say that lightly as the building I am in looks exactly like a WWII era airport. I have seen airports in the Andes in Colombia SA that looked just like my building does. I like it here. Rents cheap and no one gives me any trouble. It’s easy to find too.

Anyway, a while back, a truck parked in the yard with a load of lumber. Next thing they know, it’s on top of the truck driver’s Pickup.

1-DSC04518 2-DSC04512 3-DSC04514

Guy was really lucky.



The Bug-Screen Door Finished and Installed

The Bug-Screen Door Finished and Installed


Looks nice…but my cat doesn’t like it! I assume she will destroy the beautiful bronzed screen. May have to put in a thin clear acrylic in the lower parts.

I live in a California Style Bungalow and they look great in my home.

Next up for my house is a pair of narrow shoji to replace the French doors in my office.


This door is now available as a kit for $1500. This includes the jambs, finish, hinges, and the screen installed. I can do this for $150 less if you want to finish it your self. The price includes a crate. You pay whatever the shipping is via Pilot Freight. probably around $220-275 to the major cities airports. Home delivery probably about $50-60 more. I can ship this to NYC address for $250 and that is delivered and insured.


Building a Bug-screen Shoji

When the flies started invading my house, I decided to take action!

I built a shoji of Western Red Alder, (Alnus Rubra) which is my favorite wood. I finished it with a Urethane varnish, also called polyurethane, as it offers a better resistance to heat, solvents and abrasions than any other varnish.

Finishing the wood is a major problem for woodworkers. They can do perfect work with the design, assembly and sanding…then mess it all up applying a finish. I ‘ve tried them all. I’ve bought an expensive spray gun and loads of materials to run therough it with varying success.

On this project I opted for a brush as traditionally that’s how varnish is applied. And, all in all it was successful. But next time I’ll spray it…or better yet, have the finisher I use regularly; spray it in his spray booth. BTW- I use STAN HANSON CUSTOM FINISHING right here in Portland. These guys are great and always are helpful to me.

Here is what the door looks like with no screen 01-P1030671

The Koshi-ita panel is traditional. Here it also functions as it would in Japan with a paper in it…the panel protects the bottom edge of the door and the roof overhang protects the upper part. it also keeps people from putting a foot or knee through the screen.

I bought my bronzed screen at my favorite Hardware store here in Portland; WINK’S HARDWARE. It’s not cheap; about $6.00 a running foot for 30″ wide screen. I could have used black too but the bronze is about the same color as the wood, so I went with that.

04-P1030668 05-P1030667

This is really hard to cut and have the piece be square. The kumiko is only 3/8″ x 3/8″.

I stapled it into the kumiko with 5/16″ staples and put on the other kumiko grid which I screwed on with tiny screws. This is so it can be replaced easily. I considered a storm window too but that was getting complicated and I needed a screen door quickly.


And here’s what it looks like. I have made some jambs that will be surface mounted on the exterior casing. This screen will be hinged. Need to figure out how to make it close it’s-self without slamming.

03-P1030673 Can’t really see the bronze screen in this photo. Hopefully I’ll get it installed by tomorrow and post a pic of that.

I will be selling these in this kumiko design and in the traditional horizontal rectangle design in standard sizes. 30″, 32″ 34″ 36″ by 80″ tall.

They will be of Alder with a sprayed on Poly-Varnish. Will have the typical koshi-ita panel at door bottom

cost for 30″ and 32″ x 80″ door only: Unfinished $950

cost for 32″, 34″ and 36″ screen door is $1040

I can do these in clear Fir for $120 extra.

add $30 for finish and $150 for a crate if shipped. Shipping is extra.


Portland Artist Anne Crumpacker has me build some shoji…sorta shoji

Anne does some some cool stuff!

11-Back side 10-screen

She had me build these screens to install her work in…literally!

This is made from Basswood. Some folks call it Linden. It has a lot of visual characteristics of Maple but not all the wildness. very lightweight and easy to work with. Looks real dull when in it’s raw state. But when the finish is applied it really has a beautiful warm tone.

I recently built a Basswood base for this piece. No pix of that. I’ll have to take some and update the blog.

Find Anne’s other cool work on her site at: