The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #66964   Message #1117280
Posted By: JohnInKansas
16-Feb-04 - 06:55 PM
Thread Name: What are Wobble Boards made of?
Subject: RE: What are Wobble Boards made of?
There seems to be quite a difference in building practices in our differing localities. The "masonite" that I usually think of is generically a "hardboard" (the softer kind) or "tempered hardboard" (the really hard, slick stuff).

While it is used some in the "bare" form as interior panelling, few in this country would consider it for an exterior siding because the generic material does not stand moisture very well. Since it's significantly more expensive than (2x to 3x) plasterboard here, it's seldom seen even as a general interior siding, so far as I have observed, since sometime in the mid/late 40s.

The Masonite Co has produced a line of decorative panels, usually "wood-grained" or some such, on which a decorative surface is applied to the tempered (usually) hardboard. Although this can be applied directly to a framework, in my area the wall is usually "panelled" with plasterboard and the decorative panelling is applied over that just for the decorative effect. I would suspect that the "unsurfaced" tempered hardboard would be a better choice for the wobbleboard than one of the deco ones.

I was not aware of any significant usage for exterior siding, but an attempt to find "masonite" on the web got me:

"The site has been moved to"

At the new location, one finds:

"On January 15, 1998, the Circuit Court of Mobile County, Alabama, granted final approval to a Settlement in the lawsuit known as Naef v. Masonite, CV-94-4033.   The Settlement provides a program for eligible claimants to recover the costs associated with damage caused by the installation and incorporation of Masonite Hardboard Siding."

Apparently their exterior(?) siding line wasn't too successful here. (I'm assuming exterior because interior use would typically be called "panelling" rather than "siding" here.)

A little further search does find a "still functional" Masonite Co producing the decorative interior stuff - but they've moved it to Zaire(?).

JohnB - you can, sort of, guide where the tempered hardboard breaks by scribing it; but unlike glass you get a much cleaner "break" if you scribe both sides, and you're unlikely to get a very good profile unless the "score" on each side goes about 1/4 of the way through the sheet - for the stuff with which I'm familiar. The tempered board is hard enough to be somewhat hazardous when attacked with a sharp knife. I've found a sharp corner of a broken piece of hacksaw blade makes a better (and safer) "scribe" for scoring.

For cleaning up a broke-off edge, a good cabinet rasp (wood rasp) would be my preference. The high resin content "loads" sandpaper so fast as to make it almost useless for removing any significant "deviations from profile" on the edges, and the stuff is too hard to do much to the flat surfaces with sandpaper.

It's not too much of a hazard on most construction jobs, but if you're working the stuff in an enclosed work space I'd note that some people find the "sawdust" quite irritating to "personal breathing apparatus," so a face/nose mask should be considered, especially if power tools are involved.