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Thread: wood panels

  1. #1
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    wood panels

    hey everyone,

    lately i have been unable to work properly on paper and canvas due to my strokes and process becoming increasingly violent. industrial strength heat-guns and belt-sanders which i use for texture have been making quick work of my canvas supply.

    so i'm thinking of using a more durable surface, and wood panels seems like a great alternative (although i'm open to other suggestions if anyone has ideas). i do not have a great deal of experience with painting and drawing on wood, but the idea of having the tactile quality and wood grain texture is very alluring to me. oregon has no shortgae of lumber yards and places for me to buy wood, but i'm unsure if there is a prefered type.

    my main concern is the color of the wood, i'll need it to be something that i can stain with ink washes to eliminate all traces of hue. if i had to guess i would think something like an ash, aspen, or pine would be best, but again i have no knowledge of how well they accept (acrylic) paint, gesso, ink, etc.

    is there a 'standard' wood that artists prefer for their wood panel paintings? does it make a difference, is it all just preference? what steps would i need to undertake t prepare the wood prior to use?
    any and all information about even the most trivial suggestions would be appreciated.

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  3. #2
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    Grief, while I can't answer your wood Qs I have one for you.
    Why not use weaker heat guns and belt sanders. Why not sand by hand etc.
    If you feel the need to beat up your art materials maybe some other form of relaxation therapy would be more usefull. Or maybe find someone that needs some wood chopped. A couple hours with an axe might be just the thing

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  5. #3
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    i'm glad you're concerned for my emotional well-being Craig
    but anger issues aside ive been wanting to try out wood for awhile anyway.

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    Argh! I miss the pacific north west so much...

    Anyways...this is more about painting vs ink, but has some relevant info: http://painting.about.com/od/paintin.../hardboard.htm

    Here are some more (Redundancy may occur):
    http://www.askmaurice.org/wood.html
    http://www.artistterms.com/paintingboards.htm
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=147924 (about primer)
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=123169 (masonite)

    Another possibly useful one: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=104929

    Last edited by Aphotic Phoenix; April 13th, 2009 at 02:58 AM.
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    birch seems to be the way to go so far from what i've read. many thanks AP.

    i have trouble getting behind the idea of plywood because of the edges. it seems like i'd have to put a frame around every piece to hide the glued layers of the ply-wood from the side. i'm attracted to the minimal presentation of clean blank sides, and it seems to be more and more acceptable in gallery situations too. ideally i'm thinking of using 2" thick panels and continue the picture plane around to the sides, but that's just me talking out of my ass.

    edit:
    actually the edges of the plywood aren't as bad as i had imagined
    wood panels

    hmmm research research.

    Last edited by Grief; April 13th, 2009 at 03:52 AM.
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    The main considerations with solid wood planks are the sizes and weight. Special cuts of single planks won't go beyond 12", less for most species. They can be glued together but that makes them susceptible to splitting. How the wood is cut can also control the degree of warping that will happen. If the short end has a "rainbow" like effect of grain, which is common, then the plank will bow. Rift or quater cuts will show grain at the end that run horizontally and won't warp nearly as much, but these often have to be specially requested. Rift is ideal since quarter cuts can sometimes twist. Wood has quite a bit of movement, but not so much in composite panels.

    The weight of solid wood is greater than plywood. If you're hoping for a clean edge you might consider composite panels like MDF. They have issues of their own including weight but size is less of a problem and they're the most sturdy option. They can be very acidic but a proper sizing makes that less of a concern.

    Another alternative is Gatorboard. It's very lightweight foamcore with a wood veneer facing and comes in sizes similar to plywood or composites. It's not cheap though.

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    Birch ply is wonderful to paint on. I used to use wood panels and that was my favorite. You need a hard wood to keep a smooth surface when you prime or paint it (pine is no good for this), and using ply instead of solid planks also helps reduce warping from moisture considerably.

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    Grief, stay away from 2" solid planks unless you're working really small, like under 10". Weight is a factor above that size (lethal at 24" x 36" to normal walls--too heavy), and the only wood you could afford at that thickness is pine, which is construction grade shit and warps like well.

    Top surface to work on is birch ply, and if you want thickness, make the ply into a box with inside pine glued bracing.

    If you REALLY want a grungey surface, play with some 1/2" (nominal) CDX ply, the kind of shit used for exterior construction. You'll have to box it to get the thickness and "smooth" edge, but it's an extremely rough surface that might give you some nice effects with full black and a sander.

    Stay away from any kind of synthetic chip board. It's heavy as hell, sucks up moisture like a sponge and since the surface has random flakes exposed in all direction, turns to something rougher than heavy-duty sandpaper as soon as it gets wet.

    I'm thinking that making a box out of 1/4" tempered Masonite or equivalent might be useful. It has no grain, it's heavy, but not as heavy as the alternatives, but doesn't soak up paint, so staining the base is out. It's also very dark in color.

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    Stay far away from particle board. The edges crumble and it is really hard to get the surface to be very smooth.

    I've gotten pretty rough with that MDF panel that is kind of like a 2 ft. x 4 ft piece of masonite with two smooth sides. It has to be cradled for sure, but I have made a bunch of paintings that have hardware bolted on, three dimensional sections of wood sticking out, or various things glued onto the surface with "liquid nails." That stuff is narrow enough at the edges that you can frame it with those metal frame sections you can buy down at Michaels. Most convenient for me was to get one of those 2 ft. x 4 ft. panels down at Home Depot and cut it into a 30" x 24" plus a 18" x 24" because those Michaels metal frame sections can be found in those sizes. Tempered is for oils, untempered for water media. It's kind of a light brown. I don't know how you would bleach it. I usually use matte white house paint on the back and edges and white acrylic primer on the front. I suspect the house paint would take to ink better than the acrylic but I don't know for sure.

    I butt joined some 2"x2" wood around the edges of a piece of panel (to try to imitate the gallery wrapped look) and it looked like crap. Miter join those edges. There will still be a place where the edge of the panel and those little side boards have a seam between them but I have thought I might have been able to fill that with wood putty to create a nice smooth look or else inset the panel by using a router on the side boards.

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    Birch ply is light in color and relatively inexpensive. Most lumberyards sell 7 or 9 ply birch sheets that would hold up to some belt-sanding. Plywood might splinter if you go at it too hard w. the sander, (depends on the thickness of the plys and quality of wood) but MDF and other particle-boards will probably chip away too easily for what you have in mind.

    Also - re: the messy edges, just ask at the lumberyard for some edge-banding. They'll probably have it in birch, if not maple is a pretty close match. It's just an adhesive (or iron-on, if you prefer) tape that has woodgrain on one side - comes in 1/2" - 1" usually. You just peel-and-stick to the edges for a nice clean "single sheet" look. I've never painted on plywood, but we used to use this stuff on cabinets all the time!

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    I use Baltic birch panels, 1/4", gessoed both sides, with canvas glued down.

    For sketches I often use it just gessoed, and sanded quick with 100grit and a random orbital.

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    Marine ply with a surface of dental quality plaster as thick as the surface will hold. Brace the back for strength if it's a size that might warp. You can carve into the plaster; distress it, paint on it, set things into it, build it into a frame-less frame for your work, use a mould and make bas-relief stuff you can knock seven bells out of..... up to you.

    Edit; don't use MDF; it will crumble when wet.

    Last edited by alesoun; April 16th, 2009 at 08:33 AM. Reason: wrong info
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