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Tempera and graphite on gessoed Masonite
MFA# 40.780


[Masonite division of International Paper Co] A registered trademark for a type of hardboard building material first made in 1924 by William H. Mason. Masonite® is a wet process Fiberboard composed of fine wood fibers compressed into a dense, rigid sheet with heat. The fibers are held together by the natural binders from the pulp with no additional adhesive. Masonite® boards do not bend or warp easily but the sheets are brittle and break under pressure. Standard Masonite® Presdwood® is brown in color with one very smooth surface; the reverse side has a wire screen impression. Some artists have coated the rough surface with gesso and used it as a painting support. Tempered Presdwood® is prepared with an oil that adds weather resistance to the board, but makes it less receptive to Paint or Gesso.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Presdwood®; hardboard; fiberboard; high-density board


Any wood product may release organic acids with time.

Resources and Citations

  • C. Gould, K. Konrad, K. Milley, R. Gallagher, "Fiberboard", Twentieth-Century Building Materials, T. Jester (ed.), McGraw-Hill: New York, 1995.
  • A.Katlan, "Early Wood-Fiber Panels: Masonite, Hardboard and Lower-Density Boards" JAIC 33:301-306, 1994.