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Haynes Gallery Folding Accordion Doors / Construction

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 5:49 pm
by RJH
It seems that many Wright enthusiasts enjoyed reading and watching my posts on building the 2 Haynes Coffee Tables. Therefore, I decided to post on the progress of the Haynes restoration.

Today, Dad and I started building the missing Gallery Folding Accordion Doors (FAD). I am sorry to say that the previous Haynes owner had decided to “open up� the house a little and removed several sets of these FAD. The house was actually worth “LESS� to me that these parts were missing and the house had been altered. By chance, I later asked him for the parts but he told me he discarded them.

The FAD is more complicated then it looks. Mostly, because it was very difficult and expensive to find the rare parts. I searched the ends of the earth for the roller and track mechanism to fit in the existing slot in the ceiling. The closest match I found was a company called Johnson Hardware It wasn’t perfect but there was nothing else I could do. Once the parts are gone, and the manufacturer is unknown or out of business, nothing else can be done. It also costs more in materials and labor to put back together then when it was first made.

The next step was to find the continuous hinges. It turns out that we had to get all the hinges custom fabricated to match the originals. As luck would have it S&S Hinge in Chicagoland offered to make the hinges and donate them to the Haynes house (if you look at the link you will see their H.Q. is Prarie style.....did I say they were big Wright fans!). I can’t overemphasis how expensive these pieces are and how kind S&S Hinge was in donating them to us.

Finally, the last part was the cypress. We picked up several rough sawn 1� x 12� Cypress Select boards and started work. The hardest part was plaining down the massive 1x12 to the proper thickness.

The one problem we have is what to use as a door handle? I was told by a carpenter who worked on the house and dismantled the originals that he thought they were recessed round circle pulls. Not sure what to do. If anyone has ideas let me know?

The wood was $205
Labor 8am-1:30pm $220

Total So Far: $425

Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 7:45 pm
by Deke
I'd enjoy these posts a lot more without the "Oh this is so hard...and so expensive..." vibe. I'd think it would be a hoot to restore a FLW home.


Posted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 10:14 pm
by RJH
Deke, I will always be including cost and complexity. It is the main reasons why a lot of these houses are not built anymore and it gives readers a firm and realistic idea what is involved.

Jleshaft, I like posting here. There are skilled craftsmen on this board and it is great hearing and learning about different ideas and techniques. I disagree with your comments about woodworking not being “difficult.� If woodworking is not “interesting� to you then you should not be a Wright fan. Most of Wright’s gems are made of wood.

Posted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:56 pm
by RJH

3 More photos of the Gallery Folding Accordion Door. I would like to explain more. But I'll keep it brief due to past comments.


Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 1:32 am
by archfan
I can't tell from the photos - what keeps the door aligned? Is there a track, or a channel, or do the hinges themselves keep the doors from getting into odd configurations?

Posted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:07 am
by RJH
There is a strip of wood (that the previous owner removed) which fastens to the brick wall. The piano hinge is scewed into it. There is also a track and rollers on the celing which support the boards. Complete pics will be posted soon.

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:57 am
At the Weltzheimer House we have several accordion doors that were rearranged to suit previous owners, one of them seriously tried to 'improve' FLW's design and nearly ruined the house. We are trying to discretely move them back into their original positions and make the house conform to and represent the artist's intent. I am anxious to see the final installation with the track above to keep the doors aligned because our hallway closet doors are constantly rearranging themselves out across the gallery hallway.

Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 1:11 pm
by RJH
The Haynes previous owners spent a considerable amount of money renovating the house. Taliesin told me “they were friends of theirs� and “associated with the FLW Foundation.� They did an okay job renovating parts of the house. But, irreversibly molested other parts by opening things up and salvaging some of that that material (wood) to be used in other parts in their renovation of the house. The problem is if they ordered the wood it may have cost them $1,000 - $2,000. By removing FAD and B&B walls they cased almost $10,000 (with labor) of damages in order to put it all back as Wright designed it. Plus, key parts such as tracks and rollers that fit perfectly were all discarded. If these folks were endorsed by the FLW Foundation… is scary what other “endorsed� Wright owners are doing to their houses.

I posted a research photo of the track and rollers we are using. I was holding it up with my hand. You can see the track is skinny and aluminum versus the original wider and steel track which fit snugly in the wood bracket. It will have to do. We are now building the Music Room FAD which is 2x the size of the Gallery FAD and 560 #6 slotted 7/8� screws. I am not sure I will post more photos since feedback says they are board with them and this is not a difficult project.

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:41 am
by RJH
Added 1 pic of Music Room FAD if anyone wants to see.

Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:25 pm
by RJH
3 new pics.

We are now 90% completed. We have 2 more hinges to secure and will do that this week.

Posted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 8:18 pm
by RJH
FAD doors now finished and installed. Photos here:

Also some night and snow pics.

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 8:47 am
by jlesshafft
The color/stain sure doesn't match very well to the existing wood in the house. Should have done a better job on that.

A good restoration architect could have been of assistance in that regard.

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:14 pm
by JimM
Love the snow photos. Also, I used to question the aesthetics of the accordion door thing in Wright houses. My only references were from track houses where they were a cheap, barrier-like, and always horizontal zoning device.

However, in a Wright home as he intended, the corner-accordion door looks surprisingly "solid" when closed, as if it was a permanent wall and integral to the design (which, of course in a Wright design, it was!). What a guy.

Nice work, and thanks for posting.

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 12:42 pm
by pharding
Dr. Peter Faulkner wrote:On the contrary! Mr. Wright NEVER used any stain of any sort in his Ionian houses.
This statement is extremely misleading. FLW specified a FINISH for the Tidewater Red Cypress which rendered the finished wood totally different from the extremely white, unfinished wood that we see here. The unfinished wood shown in the photographs is not historically accurate as shown. I have a copy of his standard pre-printed specifications from this period. I commend RJH for putting the folding wall back in, although I wonder if it is historically accurate to have a FLW folding wall that does not assume a flat position when fully opened.

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:33 pm
by RJH
Pharding, There is “finish� and there is “stain.� From my research and as far as I know, FLW specified no “stain� in any of his Usonians.

If you go through all the photos and read the captions carefully you will see we did put 3 coats of “finish� on the FADs. They are NOT bare wood.

The doors do open and close flat. After installation, it was our personal opinion and observation that FLW must have meant the doors to not open fully (to flat) but only left as a zigzag. Who knows?

It took dad and I 1.5 days (2 men @ 12 hours) just to hang the prefabricated FAD. They caused us a lot of problems and at one point I said, “let’s just give up.� You have to cut the width of the last board attached to the wall at extremely high tolerance so it opens and closes properly. Furthermore, you also have to unscrew about 50 tiny slotted screws to make each cut. The wheels at the top of the boards all have to be in sync and line up as well. It “appears� like an easy job but it is not. My father is a professional carpenter and he later said if he took on this carpentry job he would have lost a lot of money.

I would have bought myself a giant flat panel TV with all the money I spent on this instead of going through this headache again.

Here is a pic of the original FAD the previous owner took down vs. our new ones.


Pharding, you were graciously invited to visit the Haynes house to perhaps see one of Wright’s small compact Usonian houses for the first time right in your hometown. It would have increased your knowledge. The invitation went unanswered.