Art boards

Ampersand Gesso Boards

For quite a while I wanted to paint on ridgid support rather than canvas. I like better support the board gives me rather than give I feel when painting on canvas.

I finally used up my canvas stores and went to dickblick.com to search for art boards. Quite a sticker shock! Below are some I am considering. First two are sealed and primed already, and the second two will need sealing and priming.

However, looks like making own hardboard cradled board for painting is not hard.

Reading more about it, seems like there is a lot of controversy. Old articles warn about using tempered hardboard (first one to be made was called Masonite which is a brand name), since the process involved using lots of oil and left oil residue which interfered with paint adherence to the board. This article by Ampersand, maker of fine art boards, gives some history and explanation.

Looks like this board (4’x8′, Item # 15486 ModelSS2204825) from Lowes is very similarly manufactured product to the board used by Ampersand, also a S2S Hardboard. The company name is Decorative Panels International (American Standard Brands Company) and there website is http://www.decpanels.com/ .

So I am considering buying this board and making myself cradled art board by cutting 1×2 planks for the cradle, stapling the cradle corners and gluing the cradle to the board. Next step is sealing the whole thing with Golden GAC 100, and then priming with gesso. The details are in following two articles:

I think, smaller panels, up to 18×24, that can be used without cradle, so I will cut myself, seal with the above process and paint on. But with larger ones that require cradle, I am torn. The cost is quite high, but I don’t want to make a subpar product.

What is the proper material to use for cradle? Recommendations I have seen are linden (basswood) or poplar. Or plywood, as it’s more stable than solid wood.

What is the proper glue to use? I certainly would like to avoid painting falling apart! The recommendations I have seen so far are:

  • Lapage’s No More Nails  
  • Titebond III , or Titebond II (All the Titebond glues are aliphatic resin glues)
  • Resorcinol phenol formaldehyde (RF) the best glue but difficult to use, good clamping pressure is necessary.
  • Urea formaldehyde (UF) Cheaper and easier to use.
  • Polyurethane (PU) The liquid rather than the rubber version is an expanding glue can be messy in use.
  • Epoxy a two part glue it’s only drawback is that it’s expensive.
  • Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) The waterproof variety will do but it has less strength than the other glues mentioned and will allow joints to creep.  

Any advice or considerations?

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