Frequently Asked Questions straight from our Design Shoji Specifier Packet, first published in 1984.

What is a shoji screen?
A shoji screen, (pronounced “show-gee”), is a lightweight, translucent panel originally used in Japanese homes to divide up interior space. In traditional installations, shoji screens slide on wooden tracks, top and bottom. A softwood, such as cedar or spruce is used, with a delicate rice paper insert glued to the inner gridwork on one side.
What materials does Design Shoji use?
We have adapted the traditional Japanese shoji screen for use in the Western interior by building a stronger hardwood frame and by replacing the fragile rice paper insert with a variety of more durable materials, including inserts with recycled content. Laminated fabrics and papers are also offered.
Our panels are constructed from select hardwoods for exceptional durability, stability and strength. Although it is more difficult and time-consuming to work with these denser woods, we know you will appreciate the difference down the road. We want your panels to stand the test of time, operating smoothly and retaining their original appearance with minimal care. With premium hardwoods, the beauty of the wood and woodworking will still shine years from now.
How are shoji screens used today?
Shoji screens are used as window coverings, pocket doors, closet doors and freestanding hinged panels for a room divider. They make good office partitions, skylight covers, cabinet doors and headboards. With their simple clean lines they are a natural for specialty shaped windows — round, arch top or rake windows.
What are the quality construction features of Design Shoji screens?
Our panels are individually hand-crafted of solid wood, and come completely assembled, ready to hang. Each frame member is milled separately for maximum panel flatness. The grain pattern and wood color or each panel is matched, and the edges of the frames are eased.
In keeping with tradition, no nails are used in frame construction. Our unique frame design allows for use of fabrics in the panels and provides an even, lasting stretch for fabric inserts.
Look closely at our joinery; there are no gaps between the grid and frame and you will find tight-fitting half-lap joints throughout the grid. Panels are built with a separate front and back grid so gridwork is visible from either side. There is no right or wrong side to the panel.
Our furniture-quality finishes enhance the beauty of the wood. Standard handrubbed oil and wax colors won’t chip, crack, peel or fade. Our specialty waterborne lacquer finishes are applied in successive coats with hand-sanding between coats to create an exceptional finish. Custom stains, dyes, color washes and color matching are all offered. Chemically sensitive? We can accomodate you!
The Design Shoji difference? Careful construction, premium materials and meticulous finishes to assure lasting performance from your panels.
What kind of hardware is available?
Durable, hidden hardware is a Design Shoji trademark. Your installed shoji should operate smoothly for years to come, whatever installation style you choose. For typical sliding installations we offer an aluminum top track system in clear aluminum, anodized colors, or our exclusive wood-covered units for the durability of metal combined with the beauty of natural wood. A floor guide is optional, either nylon guides or a continuous wooden floor track.

For a more traditional look, we can offer wood top and bottom tracks with a variety of edge and spacing details that will ensure a perfect fit. With our rubber-wheeled sheave system, you can enjoy the look and feel of traditional wood tracks without the high maintenance. Our exclusive low profile track system is only 3/8” – 5/8” tall for a clean, minimalist look.
Accordion fold, bifold, and shutter style hardware are also available. Need more? Vertical sash movement, telescoping track, and even curved or motorized tracks are offered.
Whatever your hardware requirements, please ask. If it doesn’t exist, we will do our best to design something that will work for you.

How is installation handled?
Usually installations are handled by your own installer. Once an order is placed, we send you detailed shop drawings and a measuring guide for your installer. To field measure, they fill in the blanks. Often times we will work with those on site over the phone to make sure we all understand how the shoji installation will work before we ever start the panels. 80% of what we build is shipped, so we have really fine-tuned what we need to know to make sure your panels will fit perfectly.
Completed panels are shipped with individualized installation instructions and all mounting hardware required. Panels are custom crated and then shipped by common carrier. Installing shoji is similar to putting in sliding closet doors; we suggest a carpenter, shutter or drapery installer, or handyman.
What if I have an unusual application?
All of our work is custom so if you don’t see what you need, please ask! We design and build all types of architectural panels and hardware systems — that is why our name is DESIGN Shoji. We love creating shoji doors that will satisfy our clients’ unique tastes and wishes.
We’ve built weatherproofed panels for yachts, sound-deadening panels for hotels, black-out panels for schools, interior partitions for hospitals, and acoustically transparent panels for audiophiles. Whether your need is for custom grilles, angled or arched panels, light covers or movable grids, give us a call or visit the showrooms of one our wholesale representatives!
How much are shoji screens?
About the same as quality shutters or custom draperies. For an exact quotation, please call or FAX us with the width and height you’d like the panels to cover. Then we can determine the number of panels you need, the best hardware type, and the exact materials you’d like. We’ll also figure exact shipping costs so you’ll have a complete cost figure.
How long does it take once I place an order?
Generally, about 10-12 weeks, with RUSH service of 4 weeks or less, if possible. Please let us know your delivery needs. We do our best to accomodate your schedule. If at all possible, we try to expedite a project at no charge. All of our delivery dates are guaranteed – shipping dates are scheduled when you place your order so you’ll know just when to expect your panels. Call us today for a “no obligation” quote!