Under the pressure

December 12, 2021

In recent times I paint mainly on masonite panels. Not because I prefer them, just because I have a lot of masonite offcuts and preparing such panels is quite simple task. But there are also a few simple points which make the result absolutely perfect. In this blog post I'll share my experience with you, my lonely reader.

Under the pressure

Masonite is widely used by artists but it has a few flaws. It's heavier than canvas, especially when panels are big, edges need to be protected from delamination, it's a subject to deformation caused by temperature and humidity changes. Thus, even small panels need a frame.

You need a good table to assemble the panel. Mine is very good, it has heavy frame I welded myself and it can easily withstand as many dancing people as they can fit on it.

The first step is to make a frame. The frame does not needs to be fancy, in most cases it will be covered by a frame and if it does not look perfect you can glue a paper tape around it to hide defects. But I never needed that. Having a couple of electric tools, namely an angle grinder and a hand planer is quite enough for perfect results.

I use corner braces for frame bars and glue 88 to stick together the frame and masonite.

The second step is to glue a piece of masonite to the frame. I've seen panels from shop where masonite was simply stapled to the frame. That's not good and I avoid using staples. Well, I use them sometimes, to temporarily fixate masonite during assembly process but I always remove them for two reasons: 1) despite they are thin they will always stick out of surface and will be noticeable if not covered by frame edges; 2) if they get rusted, and this is very likely, they will damage the painting.

Also, if a frame has central or diagonal bars, glue is the only mean to assemble the panel.

Back side of masonite panel

When the panel is assembled I touch edges with a hand planer. Then, the most important point is to make edges of masonite a bit round. Sharp edges are easy to damage along with primer and color and they are subject to delamination. Rounded edges are free of such flaws.

Front side of masonite panel

And when the panel is ready... Let the fun begin!

Let the fun-begin