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Subject: Help me Identify a Material rss

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Ethan Malay
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I've recently gotten into making inserts for some of my games, and while foam core is nice, I was looking for something that looked/felt a little nicer.

While building an insert for the Colonists, I came across this picture in the gallery:



And was wondering what the "wood" material in the picture was. I ask because it looks like it can be cut with a hobby knife, which is definitely a positive for me in my current living conditions.


So, I'd appreciate it if someone could get me the name of the material. I've been wracking my brain for some time and just can't get the right name!
 
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PJ Cunningham
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Looks to me like thin MDF (medium density fibreboard).
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Michael Taylor
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Could also be a product called hardboard you'd more likely find in a craft store.

*EDIT*
Actually, looking at the photo again, if you are referring to the sheets on the right side that have a wood grain look, that's most likely just veneer.
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Jake Staines
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ironregime wrote:
Looks to me like thin MDF (medium density fibreboard).


I'd agree. Probably more obvious in this other photo from the same chap:



Given the smoothness of the rounded cutouts it could be MR-MDF (which like MDF but less 'fluffy' on the inside) or HDF/Hardboard/Masonite/etc. (which is like MDF but... HD?) Hardboard often only seems to be faced on one side in this country, though, and this is definitely double-faced.

You could try messaging the user in question; the pictures were uploaded pretty recently, I bet he remembers!
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Ethan Malay
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mtaylor314 wrote:
Could also be a product called hardboard you'd more likely find in a craft store.

*EDIT*
Actually, looking at the photo again, if you are referring to the sheets on the right side that have a wood grain look, that's most likely just veneer.


Thanks for the answer! Yes, I do mean the sheets on the left, not the veneer on the right. I'll look up hardboard and see if I can find any nearby.
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Ethan Malay
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Bichatse wrote:
ironregime wrote:
Looks to me like thin MDF (medium density fibreboard).


I'd agree. Probably more obvious in this other photo from the same chap:



Given the smoothness of the rounded cutouts it could be MR-MDF (which like MDF but less 'fluffy' on the inside) or HDF/Hardboard/Masonite/etc. (which is like MDF but... HD?) Hardboard often only seems to be faced on one side in this country, though, and this is definitely double-faced.

You could try messaging the user in question; the pictures were uploaded pretty recently, I bet he remembers!


Funny you used that picture, as that was the one I uploaded originally but thought people would have issue identifying it from that!

I'll look into Hardboard and see what I can find. Don't care too much about if it is double faced or single as it is only going to serve duty within the box.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Unlikely. But could also be Balsa wood. The modelling wood you can get in thin sheets at some craft or game hobby stores. The stuff is lightweight and can be worked with fairly simple tools like a razor or exacto. I first was introduced to the wood in model rocketry class at school. Its used for the fins.
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I wouldn't use hardboard (in the British sense), it's smooth (oiled and rolled, somewhat water resistant) on one side and textured (fibrous, unfinished and loves to absorb water and swell) on the other. The textured side is, however, great for gluing to another surface). It leaves 'ragged' unfinished edges where cut and will look nowhere near as nice as the article in the picture.

If 'hardboard' is the US term for MDF, then that's what you want. You could try balsa wood, of course, but it's rather expensive and less resilient than MDF.

MDF is almost certainly what's used in the picture.
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Jake Staines
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enoon wrote:
I wouldn't use hardboard (in the British sense)

If 'hardboard' is the US term for MDF, then that's what you want.


HDF, not MDF - High-Density Fibreboard. "Hardboard" alone is a name about as specific as "cardboard", unfortunately.
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Bichatse wrote:
"Hardboard" alone is a name about as specific as "cardboard", unfortunately.
Crikey! I've been calling hardboard hardboard for 50-odd years. I always thought it was a specific [product (as I described - you know the stuff I mean) rather than a generic term. Never too old to learn, it seems! Perhaps you only stop leaning when you're 70
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I've used foamcore in the past to make inserts and it is functional. I personally prefer not to use it.

I've also used MDF and it works just as well if not better than foamcore. It has another couple of plusses.

+ You can use super glue on it and it won't melt the material (Super glue with foamcore melts the foam). I use the Gorilla Glue Gel with the green lid. It bonds within 10 - 15 seconds (no need to use pins like you need to with wood glue and foamcore)

+ You can spray paint it whatever color you want afterwards. DO NOT DO THIS with foamcore. It will melt the foam.

BUT something I found even better than MDF and more readily available is old gameboards. I go thrifting and find old copies of games with larger boards such as risk or even monopoly. They are probably also made with MDF, but it is compressed which makes it stronger. The same plusses I listed above apply to boardgame boards. These boards are a little harder to cut since they are so dense but you can let your knife get duller than with foamcore. If you use a dull knife on foamcore it will start to tear the inside, leaving a not so nice looking edge.

I've made inserts for Defenders of the Realm and Star Trek Fleet Captains using old game boards.

Sometimes its also a bonus to find an old gameboard where the picture of the board matches the theme of the game you are creating the insert for.
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Jake Staines
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wylde_karde wrote:

BUT something I found even better than MDF and more readily available is old gameboards.


FWIW game boards are generally made from "greyboard" - which is a particular kind of paperboard/cardboard which is commonly used in bookbinding and so on. I can get huge sheets of it pretty cheaply from the stationary shop associated with a local printing firm, I imagine it's available in similar places all around the world. Maybe you like the re-use, but sooner or later you'll want to make an insert for a game with a bigger box than your available old game boards!

enoon wrote:
I always thought it was a specific [product (as I described - you know the stuff I mean) rather than a generic term.


To be fair, if you go into any DIY place up and down the UK that is generally all you'll find under the name, same as they mostly only sell the cheapest, fluffiest MDF.

Which reminds me, actually: if you do want to make an insert out of MDF and don't want to go to a specialist retailer to get it, look for (at least in the UK) "bath boards". These are boards designed to go alongside a fitted bathtub, and thus they're made out of MR-MDF, the "moisture resistant" variant. This stuff cuts better without fluffy edges, but it's rarely available as plain sheets off the shelf in DIY places. It's often dyed green for some reason.

(Personally I'll stick to foamcore, it's far lighter than any of the alternatives so I don't have to worry about my games shelf falling off the wall and destroying the guest bed. ;-)
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John "Omega" Williams
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Looking more closely at the photo that is definitely not balsa.

Does not look like corkboard either. But could be a finer grain version that we get around here. But corkboard is a little too brittle.
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John James
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Tempered hardboard, otherwise known as masonite.
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malayet2 wrote:
I've recently gotten into making inserts for some of my games, and while foam core is nice, I was looking for something that looked/felt a little nicer.

While building an insert for the Colonists, I came across this picture in the gallery:



And was wondering what the "wood" material in the picture was. I ask because it looks like it can be cut with a hobby knife, which is definitely a positive for me in my current living conditions.


So, I'd appreciate it if someone could get me the name of the material. I've been wracking my brain for some time and just can't get the right name!

I think this must be thin Hardboard (about 2-3mm thick), also called high-density fiberboard (HDF) and yes, you can cut it easy. It's harder than MDF and much thiner.
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Michael Boggs
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Has anyone asked the individual who posted the image?
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Ethan Malay
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beanieboy007 wrote:
Has anyone asked the individual who posted the image?



Somebody did on the image that he posted in the Colonists image gallery asking the material, but that was back on 12/6 with no answer.
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Edward Kowynia
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I would say it is basswood, related to balsa wood but a much greater density with tighter grain. Easily worked with an xacto or a razor saw but less likely to warp. Not sure where to find that in the UK.
Here in the States you can find it at most hobby stores.
MDF (medium density fiberboard) is as described on here, textured on one side and smooth on the other.
Paperboard or Greyboard is infact compressed type cardboard similar to matt-board used to matt pictures and lithos, etc.
Of the items mentioned the easiest I think to use for the application stated would be the basswood. Just be sure to use a sanding sealer prior to any paint because it will warp very easily.
My two cents worth.
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Edward Kowynia
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I looked again, hard time blowing up the picture using the app I have available right now, but could be MDF but that is hard to get good cut lines with an xacto, the edges feather if you snap it or bevel if you try to cut through it. Could have used a hobby jigsaw that isn't pictured. Hope that helps.
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Lee Saunders
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It looks (to me) like both sides smoothed tempered hardboard (masonite)

There are two types of hardboard, tempered and regular. Tempered is the darker of the two. It can be either smooth both sides, or smooth on one side and screen wire print on the other. And, it comes in various thicknesses, but the most common are 1/8th and 1/4th inch (in the US).

Most people that worked with hardboard had a bad first experiance because without extra work, after cutting, the edges are "fuzzy". But, after a little prep-work and practice, cutting hardboard with sharp clean cuts are possible.

The best, easiest trick is to use something called a zero-clearence insert so that no matter what type of saw you use, the space between the blade and the hold-down part of the saw is litterally zero.
 
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