View Full Version : Masonite as a support for acrylics
08-04-2005, 05:09 AM
I've been preparing my own masonite panels as a support fo my paintings. I coat the panel with paint — on layer on the back to prevent warping, and at least 4 layers on the front to really seal it and produce a smooth finish after sanding. I love the smooth, hard surface, as the works I do are built up in glazes, very detailed and devoid of visible brush strokes.
I was just talking to an expert from a company that does a lot of archival work for galleries and museums. He told me that, because of the glue in the masonite, my paintings may deteriorate over time. :eek: I know some of the well known wildlife painters use masonite as a support. Does anyone have any experience with this problem? :confused:
08-04-2005, 05:14 AM
HI. I have used masonite only once. I used gesso- a couple layers on each side.... I haven't heard of a problem with deterioration....but I'm sure everything falls apart over time (I TURNED 36 TODAY SO I KNOW! ha)... Hopefully someone will know the answer to that question for you...GOOD LUCK!
08-04-2005, 05:59 AM
My oldest masonite paintings are about 23 years now, gessoed only once and only on the front. They are fine. But I cannot tell what they will look like in 100 years from now.
08-04-2005, 07:00 AM
That helps ease my mind a bit. I figure acrylics are a very inert type of medium, so they are less prone to deterioration than watercolour or oil, but I don't know enough about this stuff to be sure.
Thanks for that.
08-04-2005, 07:02 AM
all paintings will deteriorate over time .. that's how restores keep their jobs.
Masonite is a company and they make a press board (bubble one side and smooth on the other). They also make a hardboard called Duron (smooth on both sides). The Duron product is the the one to use because of it's quality. You won't find it in hardware stores because it is more expensive and the average home renovator does not have a use for it. Sign makers and cabinet makes use it. If you contact Masonite they could tell you if there is a retail outlet in your neck of the woods.
It's the stuff the old clipboards were made of. Many many many years ago there was a problem with using the treated hardboards as they were washed in oil. They were treated that way to repel water. In today's world they are impregnated with a solution so the outside of the boards are not exposed.
As for glue, I have never ever heard of the problem.
Hardboard is actually a better support than canvas, IMO, because it doesn't react to temperature change as much as canvas.
I use Duron and coat the painted side 3 times and the other side once if it's 16 x 20 or larger. I find with one coat of gesso the board is still too absorbent. It's a matter of preference but I like 3 coats as it's very white when done.
Who really cares if their paintings will explode 100 years down the road? :D
08-04-2005, 07:46 AM
Wow, Wayne! That was excellent information. I'm mainly worried about my paintings will deteriorate in mine or my kid's lifetime and angry buyers will come back. Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the Royal Academy in England had that problem, where pictures deteriorated during his lifetime and it came back to bite him.
08-04-2005, 08:07 AM
You should be more than safe with 3 coats of gesso.
Here is what Golden has to say.
08-04-2005, 08:33 AM
That Gold article is really good. Excellent. I guess that answers my question. Thanks Wayne.
08-04-2005, 02:59 PM
I was just talking to an expert from a company that does a lot of archival work for galleries and museums. He told me that, because of the glue in the masonite, my paintings may deteriorate over time. Just goes to show you should take advice from 'experts' with a pinch of salt :mad:
For the record: hardboard should not contain any adhesives! To be classed as hardboard the wood fibres have to be bonded together using heat and pressure, which re-establishes the wood's own bonds (lignin bonds). If you get a hardboard-like product that does contain adhesives to bond the wood fibres together technically this makes it a different kind of board, as is the case with MDF which is bonded with resin.
:eek: I know some of the well known wildlife painters use masonite as a support. Does anyone have any experience with this problem? :confused:There are a couple of issues with hardboard, mainly to do with how variable it is from make to make and even from batch to batch because of the range of trees that it's made from, although with good brands these variations are evened out as part of the manufacturing.
The most pressing problem for acrylic painters is SID (support-induced discolouration) which is colouring from the wood pulp coming through to the surface. The best way to prevent this is to seal the board prior to priming with a couple of thinned coats of something like polyurethane varnish. Other than that it appears to be quite a stable support, particularly if very well encapsulated with primer - front, back and all edges - and should last at least a century or so in good condition, in good storage conditions of course.
As far as choosing board to paint on goes if you're interested in archival matters, I would suggest buying a good-quality product if you have a choice where you are. Some hardboards are quite dark, almost a chocolate colour, and it's probably best to avoid this as a painting support just to be on the safe side. Look for those with a pale colour, untempered preferably, and if you can ask for this detail you should prefer dry-process boards which are smooth on both sides and tend to have a very slight nap on the surface instead of a smooth, almost glazed appearance so you can use this as a rough guide to the manufacturing method. This isn't to say that the other types of hardboard are bad, just not as good, I've painted on the common type with the screened texture on the back many times.
By the way, although the term has become very generic in places we should now refer to this as hardboard, not Masonite, since that company don't make this any more (unfortunately, since they made some of the best).
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