Capiz (Kapis) shell windows and doors were originally used in the Philippines. Traditionally the capiz shells provided a cheaper alternative to glass and were durable enough to withstand the typhoon rains and winds. Similar to the Japanese shoji paper, the capiz shells are translucent to allow light to pass through, but still allow privacy. The capiz comes from the windowpane oyster (placuna placenta) found in the coastal waters of the Philippines and are known for their beautiful mother of pearl look.
The capiz shell panels I am building is my interpretation of the traditional capiz panel from the Philippines and will be offered for interior purposes only such as covering windows, closets, room partitions, pocket doors, or hinged free-standing screens. Similar to the shoji panel construction, the capiz are constructed in such a way that if an accident was to happen and a shell is damaged it would be easy to repair with a new shell. The backside of the panel will have a Japanese synthetic shoji paper backing which will allow the light to pass through. This also helps when used as window coverings to help protect and limit the shells exposure to the sun’s damaging U.V. rays.
The capiz wood frames (stiles and rails) traditionally are much wider then the narrow shoji screen frames. In order for me to custom build to fit an existing open there will be variations in the frames sizes in order to accommodate the proper grill (lattice) spacing of the square shells.
The capiz grill design (lattice) is a symmetric design. The spacing and rows of shells is variable and sometimes determined by what will fit best within your opening.
My main interest and focus with capiz shells is creating shoji/capiz shell fusion panels. By incorporating some of the elements of the Japanese shoji panel’s grill designs with the capiz shells and shoji paper materials it can make for an artistic and unique design option.
The woods offered are softwoods including Yellow cedar, red cedar, vertical grain fir, hemlock, and hardwoods including red and white oak, cherry, walnut, and Bass. *I no longer use mahogany wood species for the frames. I will only use it on parts such as the kickboard and grillwork combined with another wood for the frames.*
All woods are finished by hand with clear oil and wax or Rubio Monocoat finish.
Unless otherwise specified, all capiz panels will include a flush mortised ebony finger pull from Japan.
On larger door size panels, a section or multiple sections of solid wood similar to the Japanese shoji lower kick-board is a practical and aesthetic option.
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