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Studio Craft: Sizing the Edges of a Panel

Ask the Expert: "I've heard more than oneopinion on sizing the edges of a masonitepanel. Some say the edges should be leftuntreated because the panel needs to"breathe", while others say the edges shouldbe sealed. Which is it?"

A:In our opinion, the edges of hardboard panelsshould be sized and primed. The corners andedges are quite delicate; sizing and primingprotect them from bruising and chipping. Acrylicgesso alone affords significant protection, butapplying Acrylic Sizing prior to priming givesadditional strength.

Especially for panels not supported by a straineror cradle, we also recommend sizing the back,to equalize stress and to reduce distortion fromthe wet sizing/priming combination.

Sizing and priming the sides helps paint adhereall the way to the edge. Oil paint applied to barehardboard can lose strength if the panel materialwicks away too much vehicle. Paint that has notattached firmly might peel or chip, potentiallycausing damage in the image area. Priming overthe edges helps ensure corner-to-corneradhesion.

Before sizing/priming, the edges of hardboardpanels should be slightly beveled with a file orsanding block to reduce the chance of chipping.The panel should be lightly sanded and cleanedwith denatured alcohol to remove dust and dirt.Apply sizing according to package directions.

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