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  1. OB10's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 1998
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    Jun 2, 2010, 12:47 AM - MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #1

    Okay, I've thought about posting this for a long time. I was wondering what were the differences between MDF, Masonite, and Hardboard. Well, I finally thought look it up on Wikipedia, duh...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-density_fibreboard
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonite
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardboard

    I've used MDF a number of times before.... but never knew that it was a bit on the unhealthy side (made with urea-formaldehyde, which can outgas or be released by sawing & sanding). Yikes! I've really liked the stuff, but I guess I need to use the respirator all the time when working with it.

    I've painted (airbrushed) on Masonite with acrylics, but had heard you shouldn't use acrylics on tempered hardboard because the oils would help the water based paints to not bond, so I didn't use that....

    In college, we used what seemed to be some sort of Masonite with a glossy white coating on one side for painting palettes, which worked really well.

    When I've used MDF, I've generally doped down the surface with Super Glue or Minwax Wood Hardener to seal and harden the surface, which seems to have worked pretty well.

    Of all these materials, I've mostly used MDF, for props since I've been doing much more prop work than art, since it's cheap, and cuts and works really nicely. What have other people's experiences and prerferences been?
  2. blownhemi's Avatar
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    Jun 2, 2010, 12:54 AM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #2

    After my last couple of projects with MDF, I've ended up coughing and feeling like general crap with raspy breathing. Well, I put 2 and 2 together and came up with the fact that I really needed to get a respirator. I love the stuff, but I'm not going to use it again without proper equipment.
  3. exoray's Avatar
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    Jun 2, 2010, 1:03 AM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #3

    MDF sealed with Shellac is my preference... Minwax wood hardener is also a good sealer for MDF...



    And yeah use a dust mask at minimum with good ventilation and good clean up procedures... Respirator is best...

    Masonite with a glossy white coating on one side
    Probably melamine coated...
  4. RPF Premium Member stormtrooperguy's Avatar
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    Waltham, MA
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    Jun 2, 2010, 11:31 AM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #4

    I use MDF quite a bit. Respirator is key!

    Like you said, it's really easy to work with and pretty cheap.
  5. Rebelscum's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
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    Dallas / Fort Worth, Texas
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    Jun 2, 2010, 8:58 PM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #5

    I've worked with hundreds of sheets of MDF, LDF and MDO in my shop.

    I've personally never had an occassion where choosing between one of them and masonite or hardboard was ever a decision because they are very different materials.

    Choosing depends what the application is but if it's MDF or LDF, as stated, you always want to use a mask, though I've never resorted to a respirator. I do almost always use vacuum though, sometimes it's not pratical, like routing edges where a vacuum isn't very effective.
  6. OB10's Avatar
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    Jun 2, 2010, 10:53 PM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #6

    exoray said: View Post
    MDF sealed with Shellac is my preference... Minwax wood hardener is also a good sealer for MDF...



    And yeah use a dust mask at minimum with good ventilation and good clean up procedures... Respirator is best...



    Probably melamine coated...
    Melamine, that sounds kinda familiar. What's it supposed to be used for? Besides palletes, that is. Where would I stumble across it in Menards/Lowes/Home Depot? Right now, I think MDF is still gonna be my material of choice. But at some point I need to start painting with actual paint again, not just the digital kind.....
  7. exoray's Avatar
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    Jun 2, 2010, 11:58 PM - Re: MDF vs. Masonite vs. Hardboard.... opinions? #7

    OB10 said: View Post
    Melamine, that sounds kinda familiar. What's it supposed to be used for?
    Lower grade counter tops and furniture, a cheap alternative to better laminates like Formica... You used to see it on a lot of the cheap 'white' shelves or Ikea type furniture but a lot of them have moved away from Melamine and no use a vinyl like sticker lamination...

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