it is pretty good. and cheap! I've painted on it a few times.. but early on I didnt prime it nearly enough..I did some oil paintings that took ages because I was trying to build up tranparent washes that were being sucked into the board. now I would start by applying a couple of base coats of cheap plastic acrylic first .. most of it will get absorbed .. sand it back when dry then follow with a couple of coats of quality gesso, or other good quality toothed grounds. that seems to work pretty good as you don't waste nearly as much of the good stuff.
you gotta have patience and sand back a little after each coat of gesso dries if u want it a nice, consistent tooth to work with. thats about all I could suggest. I'd also be keen to hear other ppls experience as I've been slack in preparing my own grounds in the past. anyone into using ground marble, for pastels or similar?hope it helps
buy a cheap sponge brush , they're like 25 cents. and a bottle of acrylic gesso, i like liquatex best. and brush that sucker in for 3 coats, viola! that's it. if you want it to be super smooth, get some sand paper and sand between coats. i dont' see why that's nessisary though, liquatex is pretty thin and won't clump up on your sponge brush. well, unless you're a moron and pour the entire bottle on there.
Finally I can contribute something real hardcore!
The recepie for preparing (any?) board to accept oil is
1/3 Acrylic paint (like cheap white indoor wallpaint) + 1/3 grinded chalk powder + 1/3 water
mix until the solution is lightly "creamy"
The trick is that the acrylic seals the board AND (very important!) the chalk makes it absorb oil and make the board less "slippery" - without chalk the oil just go all over the board lika fat in a frying pan!
Depending on what is to be painted - I used to give the board 1-3 coats of this mix - 3 coats actually add about some 2-3 mm thickness to the board because of the chalkpowder.
The surface risks getting more "chunky" with each coat - but it is possible to sant it flatter with fine sandpaper.
I usually use a roller to get the mix on the board, but I guess a "moddler brush" would work aswell if yore good at it.
If youre painting in acryllig only - Theres really no reason to add the chalk, and I usually add lesser water - maybe 80-90 acrylic ? 10-20 water, just to get a more flowing paint that sticks better to the board
If U want the board not to budge (esp imp in thinner boards of lesser quality than MDF, like "Masonite" or "Spånskiva") - U must coat BOTH SIDES - however I usually coat the backside with the solution without chalk and only 1-2 times