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A high-density fiberboard building material first made by Masonite Corporation in 1926. Hardboard is composed of 100% wood fibers obtained from wood chips, sawdust, and board trimmings. They are broken into fine particles by grinding (dry process) or by steam (wet process). The interfelted fibers are consolidated with heat and pressure (at least 31 pounds per cubic foot) to form a dense, rigid sheet that is held together by naturally occurring lignin with no additional adhesive. Hardboards range from a dark brown to a light tan in color and have one very smooth surface; the reverse side has a wire screen impression. Some hardboards contain a small amount of oil on the surface either as a residual lubricant or as an additive to increase weather resistance (such as Tempered Presdwood). These oils may hinder the adherence of paint or gesso and may be removed with acetone.

Synonyms and Related Terms

fiberboard; aglomerado de fibras duro (Port.); Masonite [IPI]; Presdwood [IPI]; Medex; Medite; Duron [IPI]; Upson; Homasote; Insulite

Hazards and Safety

Any wood product may release organic acids with time.

Additional Information

A.Katlan, "Early Wood-Fiber Panels: Masonite, Hardboard and Lower-Density Boards" JAIC 33:301-306, 1994.


  • Ralph Mayer, Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • Pam Hatchfield, Pam Hatchfield, Pollutants in the Museum Environment, Archetype Press, London, 2002

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