sliding wall for moulding samples


Aug 1, 2005
Norton, MA
Hi everyone! This is my first post. I'm opening my own frame shop in a few weeks, hopefully, and I'm having a hard time trying to find the hardware to create a sliding wall to hold more frame samples. I saw these sliding walls in a frame shop in Baltimore, but I'm running into road blocks.

My ceilings are 8', and most of the closet systems work best on doors, all of which I've seen are less that 8'. I was going to use some sort of plywood, but the hardware I've seen isn't strong enought.

Any ideas??
Thanks, Allison
I did look at Home Depot to get ideas and I saw the pocket doors. For some reason, I forget now, but they didn't seem to be right. Maybe it was the weight or that I would need something as thick as a door, but I couldn't find doors tall enough.

I'll check it out again. Thanks
I have six four by eight sheets of plywood that slide in my display. My dad built it for me so long ago, I would never be able to remember what he used. He proabaly got the hardware at the local lumberyard. (In 1960, my dad went to this lumberyard and said "I need a hammer." "Well, whatcha gonna build?" they asked. "A house." he replied. They still live in that house that I grew up in. He still has the hammer, as well.) The doors are kind of heavy, but work pretty good. BUT my friend's husband built a similar system for her shop using smaller hunks of plywood and barn door hardware. Hers work beautifully.

edie the buildingisinmyblood goddess
I have a sliding door at home. The hardware came from Agway, (a farm supply store). Its the same hardware that you use for the BIG sliding barn doors, I would think overkill for your needs, but I fear the pocket door hardware would be too lightweight!

I saw the same barndoor hardware in a local hardware store. Thick tracks, and solid trucks that slide well inside the tracks.

If the frame shop had a "country" look or an "industrial" look these tracks and trusck would work great!

I had a door that swung out from the wall and was carpeted on both sides, effectively doubled my wall space, but the weight of all that moulding practically ripped the "door" off the wall!
I used hollow core doors for the sliding panels. Then I got the hardware for closet doors. All of the materials you need to build this setup is available at Home Depot. This includes the toptrack and the wheels that roll in them.
I built a soffit to bring the height down to the height of the doors This has the tracks on them. Trust me, you won't miss the difference between the 8' ceiling height and the 6'-8" height of the doors. In fact you can hang those special, honkin' big frame samples on the face of the soffit.

At the floor, I built up about 4-6" or so so the doors aren't right on the floor. I then made tracks for the doors to slide in and placed teflon slider strips on the front and back of the doors so they would slide against the wood tracks. The last thing you want is for the velcro fabric (or the carpeting) to catch on the wood and tear. I put handles on the ends of the doors and that is that.

Plywood panels are heavy and prone to warping when you glue fabric or carpeting to the face. The hollow core doors stay flat and come in different widths. I used 30" wide doors and they hold three rows of corners per door.

Come up to Ellsworth, Me and check them out. It really is easy to do this if you are handy with tools.
Select 3rd panel (scroll right) for Grant hardware
select "single door sets"
will show pdf of all the different weight single panel sliding door hardware available.

The plan is to make a 3 track system with a fixed display behind. 12 feet wide with 9 48"x96" panels (only 6 will move). The panels will be made from 1/4" luan door skins and a 1x2 subframe. Should weigh about 15lbs each, maybe 20 with velco material and glue. 48" wide display will hold 5 rows of 7" Chevron cut samples.
I bought barn-door tracks from W.W. Grainger and suspended them from the ceiling on cables. Then I hung 48"x96" sheets of 1/2" Gatorfoam from them, to hold the samples stuck to vertical Velcro strips. That system worked great for the five years we used it -- very heavy duty.

In our new place we use the same panels mounted directly to the wall, which is better use of this new space.

If anyone would like to have the barn-door tracks & hardware now stored at home, make me an offer I can't refuse. :rolleyes:
I "inherited" a set of these when I purchased this biz----based on NOT use anyting over 1/2" thick(go for 1/4 if you can find it) do NOT use the "shredded" stuff, use ply and paint BOTH sides & edges of the finished 'door' to help keep warpage down. this stuff gets really HEAVY really quickly(especially with all those samples on them) so try to save as much weight at possible---up front. 1) make sure your design has LOTS of load bearing in the MIDDLE of the span, 2) that there is some room beneath the panels(for sag), 3) try to design so that you can take any door off w/o having to mess with another door(and that you can do it with least effort), 4) make sure each run will allow you to have some of the fattest corners you stock(& then add an inch for good measure....if doors arent fixed at bottom to prevent swinging in/out they will get pushed into the next row all the time--banging samples and sometimes knocking them off boards

good idea to save space etc, usually poor execution in the build out! proceed cautiuosly--you dont want to put it up, find the flaw(s), take it down, put it back up
If you are really serious about this, email me and I will draw up plans of how I did it. No swaying of doors, no sagging, smooth sliding. My system has been working for over 5 years with no problems. The system I built is a nice, clean system that will look good in any store front.
There are some great ideas here. I'll do some more research and see what will work the best. My shop will be in our barn, approx. 160 years old, so some of the barn door ideas could work.

My husband is very excited that I finally made my first post, definitly not my last.

Thanks for all the ideas.

Nothing personal, but I detest the sliding doors in frame shops. I realize that some have been built better than others, but in general...</font>
  • They can be heavy & awkward to move.</font>
  • Some mouldings get knocked off</font>
  • They create a dark area</font>
  • Framers are never quite sure if they have really reached the last layer....sort of a "never never land" thing</font>
  • Perhaps too homemade looking for my likes.</font>
Those that have them and love them, more power to you!
they've just never made sense to me.

I prefer these turnstyles which has been discussed several times previously on this forum. These happen to be Evald's Space Savers but you can also order a similar design offered by Gemini Moulding / Showcase Acrylics...


The above image is of a 3 column unit with backwalls custom desgned. The image below is of a standard 6 column unit.



Make sure there is enough space between the doors to allow for warpage - don't make them too close together and have some kind of guides at the bottom as well - they will warp!!!!
Originally posted by Allison.:
Hi everyone! This is my first post. I'm opening my own frame shop in a few weeks, hopefully, and I'm having a hard time trying to find the hardware to create a sliding wall to hold more frame samples. I saw these sliding walls in a frame shop in Baltimore, but I'm running into road blocks.

My ceilings are 8', and most of the closet systems work best on doors, all of which I've seen are less that 8'. I was going to use some sort of plywood, but the hardware I've seen isn't strong enough.

Any ideas??
Thanks, Allison
Hi Allison:

I have those in my shop (from the previous owner), but I think they are a pain! I am in the process of moving all my samples to a long wall instead of sliding those doors x times per hour. And the samples seem to shed tiny bits of wood that lodge in the tracks and make things even harder to slide!

It does look better if you can see all your samples instead of guessing where that specific sample is hidden and behind what slider. Also it does make it difficult for customers (and the picky designers..
.) to see how many samples you have.

I am sacrificing a whole wall devoted to art so I don't have to slide to see samples!

If you still want to go that way, John's idea about turnstiles is better and more elegant.
John, I'm with you. I didn't have sliders in my shop, but I recently worked for someone who did. They were three rows of sliders, four rows wide. I hated, despised, detested, those walls.

Your display is much better, I think.

To each his own.
My wall is about 14' long and I have 2 rows of sliding doors. The back row has 2 doors and the front row has 1 with room for another if needed. They aren't heavy, they don't warp, they look as nice as the back wall as they are wrapped in the same velcro fabric, they roll smoothly, they are only 30" wide so they aren't covering the whole wall. They don't jam up in the lower track because there is room for it to slide freely and not bind and yes most of the ones I have seen in other places look and work poorly. Mainly due to someone not knowing how to build it right. Mine are designed right and work as they should.

What Pamela described sounds like a nightmare to work with. This is an example of where a good idea goes horribly wrong.

I got your email and I'm working up the info to reply to you soon.

Personally, Johns idea of spinners will take up much more room out from the wall than sliders. Plus then you can't see as many samples as if you just had a plain wall.

To each their own, I guess.
I am with FRAMAH
Originally posted by framah:
...Personally, Johns idea of spinners will take up much more room out from the wall than sliders....

You're each their own....but humor me here for one second, if you would. I question the moulding efficiency question, stated above.

I realize that idividual variations will change the results, but here's the math on the Evald's Space Savers... </font>
  • The base protrudes away from the wall exactly 13.5 inches, and can be as long as the number of turnstyles, in my sample photo above 6 turnstyles produces a base of about 87.75 inches in length.</font>
  • Two - 6 column units and One - 5 column unit takes up 20.75 feet of horizontal (lineal) display space.</font>
  • Each columns has 72 inches of vertical height for samples x 3 sides = 216 vertical inches per column x 17 columns = 3,672 vertical display inches.</font>
  • That averages to 177 vertical inches of hanging space for every lineal foot.</font>
  • Within this 20.75 feet display area that protrudes 13.5 inches away from the wall, we display about 1,600 wood corner samples.</font>
I don't think that the design of these Space Savers really protrudes away from the way that much further than a double sliding wall design? As an educational exercise, someone wish to compare? I realize that we're all attempting to accomplish the same thing: Efficiency of space with a professional image.

We do appreciate everyone's ideas. Each shop has different needs and available space. Framah's ideas work best for us for our space limitations. The room for the samples is only 10' by 12', with a take in counter in the middle. So every inch counts for display space but also we cannot close in the space any smaller.
For our first post we are very happy with the number of ideas. The shop should be ready within a few weeks. We will let you all know how it comes out.