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Improved Features as of Jan. 1999;
Ordering Panels In Different Thicknesses

Many improvements were made to our panels beginning in
January 1999! At that time, we switched from sales through
retail stores to direct sales to artists. This page describes the
improvements to the Artist Panels and the Pastel Panels, as well as
the reasons for these changes. Also included is information about
the possibilities of ordering panels in non-standard thicknesses.

Artist Panels - Improvements

Our standard Artist Panel thickness increased from 1/4"(6 mm.)
to 3/8"(10 mm.). Lead pigment in the panels was replaced
with additional titanium dioxide. An extra step added to the
panelmaking process gives the panels improved surfaces
and many other subtle benefits, described below. (Before the final
surface textures are created, the fronts and backs of the panels
are now hardened and compressed in order to make an "integral skin"
of denser material on both sides of the panel. This gives the panels
some of the structural advantages of a multi-ply board,
without the danger of layer separation!) Panels are now
easily ordered in custom sizes.

The panels now have a much more substantial appearance and feel. *
They are more rigid and cannot be flexed as easily,
especially in larger sizes. The denser surfaces, besides making the
panels more resistant to "scoring" when drawn on with a hard pencil,
have made it possible to offer four closely graduated surface textures
instead of one! They also enable more uniform, "cleaner" uptake
of thin washes, and give a slightly glossier finish to dried paint glazes.

A denser concentration of pigments at the surface
(created by the hardening process), along with the additional titanium
dioxide, has resulted in an increase in lightfastness. Our old panels
were approximately equal to an artist pigment with a rating of
"permanent". The improved panels are approximately equivalent
to "extremely permanent". (Note: No standardized scale for rating
the lightfastness of art surfaces currently exists.)

The changes to the panels were implemented for several reasons.
When I obtained the skills and ability to do so, I was eager to offer better
quality panels! Switching from retail-store based sales to direct sales
enabled me to offer higher quality panels and greater choices of customization.

Health concerns (mine!) were an issue as well. While the lead in
the panels posed no danger to the end user, there was at least a potential
risk present for dangerous exposure during the panelmaking operation.
But changing to a lead-free formula meant a small loss of surface quality.
This could only be overcome by using the surface hardening method!
That, in turn, necessitated a move to the thicker panel, since hardened
1/4" panels have an unacceptably high tendency to come out with a bit
of a bow to them.

Pastel Panels - Improvements

This product changed from a 1/8" (3 mm.) board to a 1/4" (6 mm.)
panel. At the same time, two new surface textures, intermediate
between the original two textures, were added.

The panel is now much heftier and more rigid. Now a true "panel",
it has allowed artists to ask for, and receive, much higher prices
for their artworks
! Freed from the constraints of limited dealer shelf
space, the two new textures we could now offer have proven to be our
most popular, and the easy availability of custom sizes became possible.

Besides the customization allowed by direct sales and my improved
skills at making finely graduated surfaces, necessity played a role
in the changes made. The original 1/8" boards had turned out to have
an unacceptably high rate of emerging from production curled
or buckled; I could not make them reliably flat. To cover the cost of
the rejects would have meant a large price increase, to a price close
to that for (reliably flat!) 1/4" panels.

Purchasing Non-Standard Thickness Panels

Artist Panels can be made 1/2" thick and even thicker. However, the
concurrent increase in both weight and cost is considerable! As a
consequence, I make very few of these. Some sort of bracing is usually
preferable. Please inquire for details if you have a pressing need for
thicker panels.

As explained above, the type of Artist Panel which I now make
cannot be made flat at thicknesses below 3/8". However, painters
who still need a 1/4" panel should consider using a white Pastel Panel,
which I can finish with a texture that approximates the Artist Panel
surfaces. (Vellum texture excluded.) These are very similar to my
original Artist Panels. Please note that the surfaces will not be
identical to the Artist Panels, although they will be close. Most
users should find them suitable; many don't notice any difference
at all. Please consult with me regarding your own particular style
and techniques to determine suitability. Note also that these panels
will not be quite as hard or lightfast as standard, as discussed above.

Pastel Panels cannot currently be made thicker than 1/4". The 3/8"
buckskin finish Artist Panel may be suitable for some. (It approximates
a "fine" Pastel Panel.) But it can only be made in white.

A 1/8" Pastel Board can still be made, but as explained above it will
cost the same amount as a 1/4" panel, and may take longer for me to
supply. Please inquire personally if you need this item.

* - The Artist Panels have increased in thickness by 2/3's
(6 mm. to 10 mm.), while the increase in weight was kept
to only 1/3 (from approx. 1 lb. per sq. ft. to approx. 1 1/3 lbs. per sq. ft.). [ back ]


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