View Full Version : Masonite for Support

04-30-2001, 06:45 PM
I know that this has come up before but it left me with more questions than answers.


According to Meyer (and I know his book is old) you should only use UNtempered masonite because the tempered has oil in it which would repell oil paint.

Any thoughts or good information on this????


"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

04-30-2001, 08:18 PM

You can use either, but I prefer the harder, more durable stuff which is usually tempered with something. I have prepared many panels of untempered hardboardand they are good too but if you do a couple quick tests or lead an active life around your panels you'll see that the untempered stuff gets fuzzy (dinged)corners a lot sooner than the tempered hardboard. Sometimes I like the untempered board for I can gesso it faster because it is more absorbent...but remember what absorbent says about the material.

I have even painted gouache right onto tempered board with no prepping but a scuffing with fine sandpaper...ten years and the picture has not been affected by outgassing, seepage, migrating oils (or antelope). The tempered board should probably be thoroughly scuffed and degreased with denatured alcohol before painting and you could add the step of sizing with rabbitskin glue or go all the way and size and gesso it.

...heh heh heh...then wrap some old bedsheets around some panels and prime them for painting (being careful not to drool too much on them!) you'll be lovin'!!! I'm having some fun right now wrapping really course fabrics around panels with hide glue...gritty stuff! I LOVE it!

anyway, you can use both but they're not all as durable. Just be careful with the untempered stuff...it really absorbs moisture too if in the humidity too much.

The tempered stuff doesn't repel oil paint though.


[This message has been edited by bri (edited April 30, 2001).]

05-01-2001, 10:54 AM
Hi Les, From what I have read recently the tempered board is the way to go "now". It is made differently and will accept oil. I have heard that most of the info out there is out dated concerning masonite. Untempered is ok but the the tempered is better. The best part of this controversy is that both will work.


05-01-2001, 06:59 PM

Thank you all for your input. That does shed a little more light on the subject. I do love Meyer's and Taubes' books but I also take into consideration the fact that they were written in the stone age.


"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

05-02-2001, 12:21 AM
I recommend using untempered for longevity. Masonite is made by grinding wood into a fine dust - like saw dust. The dust is then poured into a hopper and a three ton plate is dropped down onto it vertically and then pulled off horizontally - that creates the shiny side. No glue is added - the natural "lignin" in the wood provides the "glue" that holds the board together.

Tempered hardboard is heated and the process changes the chemical composition of the lignin. It is true that the tempered board is more durable, but I have heard from multiple sources that over time it will repel your gesso ground.

If you use either board, I recommend using gesso to cover the entire board: front, back and edges. This will keep the board straighter, repel moisture, and help make it more durable.

Hope that helps! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Michael Georges
www.fineportraitsinoil.com (http://www.fineportraitsinoil.com)

06-21-2001, 08:23 PM
Originally posted by waves
Untempered is ok but the the tempered is better. The best part of this controversy is that both will work.

:) Now that's fun!

06-22-2001, 08:53 AM
For all:

My question is - where can you get the tempered stuff? I can find the untempered board in large sheets from Home Depot or Lowe's. I cut this into supports for my oils or acrylics.

I'm looking for the nice hard stuff like they sell in Michael's or Hobby Lobby under the commercial name "Houston" (?) with the Mona Lisa symbol on it.

Now that stuff is nice to paint on!


06-22-2001, 07:40 PM

Home Depot doesn't carry the tempered masonite. I found mine at a local lumber company. It was Masonite's Duron. Same price as Home Depot. I had them cut it into three sections 12" 16" and 18" (or whatever) and my husband is cutting down to small pieces for me. It was way too expensive to have them cut it ($50 but first three cuts are free). I'm still ambivelant about tempered v. UN. I like the feel of the UN better though I didn't care for it much when I dropped it on my big toe!! I have to play with the tempered a little more. The big guns all seem to disagree about it, so I guess it's a matter of choice. But the tempered I'm sure is much less likely to be subject to warping and damage.

06-23-2001, 01:44 AM
To receive info re 1/8" or 1/4" tempered Masonite
board primed with gesso in various sizes-
contact Ampersand Co. and get their brochure.

They're in Austin, Tx. Ask them your questions while
you have them on the phone. :)

I hope this helps.


06-23-2001, 02:13 PM
Tempered hardboard by Masonite is now called Duron. Perhaps if you asked for it by name the clerk would recognize it. An alternative is to go to the plumbing section and find tile board. It is tempered hardboard with melamine on one side. Look for the plain white without the faux grout lines. This makes it stiffer, has a nice finish on the back side, and cuts cleanly; leaving only the front and edges to be primed.

06-23-2001, 07:26 PM
If you are talking about Home Depot, we did ask for Duron.

06-24-2001, 10:26 AM
Hi everyone,
Tempered versus untempered. There is one aspect about all these surfases we paint on that no one ever mentions and that is the paintings worth. I don't know what goes on in the USA with regard to art but it seems to me that here in the UK, there is a certain amount of snob value about whatever a painting is painted on. Of course, people seem to think we should be using Canvas and a work is much more likely to sell if this is the case. The next best is Canvas Board and the last is Hardboard which I believe is our equivalent of your Masonite although I could be wrong about that. The point is, that if you sell your work, then people seem to expect it to be on Canvas if possible. If you just paint as a hobby or as a practise piece, then it doesn't matter much what you use.
Finally, to use an expression I hate, "At the end of the day," I doubt whether a lot of the art conoseures out there could afford one of Toulouse Lautrec's oil on brown wrapping paper paintings if it were to go on the market for sale. Makes you think...