View Full Version : Untempered board - info from Ampersand

03-19-2010, 08:14 PM
In case anyone's interested I found this very interesting article on the Ampersand web site where they say that these days there is not the same worry about using tempered hardboard as there was in the past. I was looking unsuccessfully for untempered board which prompted me to do an internet search, and I was surprised and pleased to find this information. www.ampersandart.com/tips/archivalinfo.html

Maybe now I'll get all the supplies together and have a go at making my own surfaces. I wonder if they'll cut a 4 x 8 sheet into lots of 16 x 20 pieces!! lol

03-19-2010, 08:49 PM
Hi Carol, No they will not. Lowes and the other big one will not cut masonite. you will have to find a "real lumber yard" to do it. you will have to pay a little more tho. but they will do it. I use gesso/pumice on mine. and it works really great. and i also paint oils on it also. Sheets of masonite are quiet cheep so it's not that big of a deal. I also use them for backing boards with shets of paper taped to them. i use many of them so i don't have to always finish or take extras when out doing Plein Air. a very good all round piec of wood. and for warpping they don't. i have 24/36 oil paintings that has gotten damp, rained on, sat in early morning fog, heat, humity, and are still stright as can be. one has been used as a display in front of are gallery for about 3 years now and it's still great like when i painted it.

03-19-2010, 10:09 PM
Pete, that sounds fantastic. I'd have to get used to using gesso with them and they'd weigh more, but that would be a very cool thing to paint on. Nice to know the tempered masonite isn't as much of a problem as it used to be.

WC Lee
03-20-2010, 01:04 AM
Tempered masonite can be ordered from Blick, thought it cost a little more than purchasing a large sheet and cutting it yourself. 16 x 20 masonite is just under $2.00 a panel which isn't bad. I use masonite for a variety of things: sketch board, oil painting support, palette, pastel painting backing, pastel painting support.

Winny Kerr
03-20-2010, 12:10 PM
I wonder if anyone has used them for pastels? Giving the boards a coating of colourfix primer and then use pastels on them? Does the primer hold on the masonite? I'd also like to know if you can put a coat of colourfix primer over gesso'd boards? Anyone tried it? Winny

03-20-2010, 11:25 PM
Yes you can put colorfix primer over gesso. People do it with gatorboard and museum board etc. I have heard of people using it on masonite. I haven't used it yet but it is my plan to in the future. I will let you know how it works out:)


WC Lee
03-21-2010, 02:17 AM
yep I use them for pastel, just throw on a coat or two of Colourfix or gesso/pumice mixture and its ready to go. Colourfix will go on top of gessoed surfaces with no problems.

03-21-2010, 11:39 AM
Thank you so much for sharing that article.

It said to seal the hardboard before applying anything else like gesso. Anyone doing that? If so, with what? A simple spray acrylic?

03-21-2010, 01:39 PM
As for cutting the masonite, most stores sell it in 2 x 4 ft sheets. This is easy enough to transport and can then be cut using a sharp utility knife to score the surface deep enough to create a clean break. No power tools needed. Only a little muscle.

Even though I own the power tools needed to cut this, I frequently using the scoring method for both masonite (hardboard) and 1/8 in. furniture grade plywood.


03-21-2010, 01:50 PM
If you are using masonite you just clean it. ( just wipe with a damp rag with alcohol) then gesso it. i do six coats of gesso for my oil and acrylics painting. you wouldn't need as many with gesso/pumice mix) If your useing a hardboard other than masonite, then you will have to prime it. (plywood, wood, OSB, Fibereboard bberch pannels, etc.) there are many different types of hardboard so don't get confused and think they are all the some. like masionite they are not.

03-21-2010, 03:09 PM
It says to seal hardwoods, too. Read here:
Wood is wood – so seal it!
All wood surfaces should be sealed with a good primer before gessoing or painting on them. Unlike hardboard that has been processed and reconstructed, plywood and other solid wood panels still have their cell structure intact and the harmful lignins and wood tannins could affect a painting if not sealed correctly. Ampersand recommends using Golden’s Acrylic GAC 100 to seal panels for water-based painting and the Gamblin's Oil Painting Ground for use with oil paints. Ampersand’s Hardbord™ can be primed using these products or try one of the already sealed and coated panels.

Ampersand uses a two part emulsion process for sealing the hardboard before applying our different acid-free grounds. We first apply an acrylic sealer that seeps into the fibers of the hardboard and then we do a final sealing layer to create a barrier between the wood and the ground.

This barrier will ensure that over time the lignans in the hardbord will not interact with the ground or your paints.

I didn't think many people were doing that, so I pointed it out!