Which wood for this purpose?

My girlfriend wants to have her grandkids paint a mural on her fence gate. It's a stockade fence and I think the rough surface will try the kids' patience. So, I thought about cutting a couple of 4x4 pieces of thin wood, beveling the edges so rain runs off, priming them, and letting the kids use those as their "canvasses. A friend at a paint store offered to add vivid tints to several small batches taken from a gallon of white exterior latex. Coat the finished masterpieces with polyurethane or something. Attach to gate. We're already adding a gate roller because it tends to sag a bit. So extra weight shouldn't be an issue.
Plywood seems like a bad idea for this purpose due to the exposed edges, even if they're seemingly well protected. I can get 1/4" pieces of pretty much any common wood. Any suggestions?
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wrote:

Actually, MDO (Medium Density Overlay) plywood is made especially for sign painting. It has a nice even surface for painting.
Luigi
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On 7/30/10 11:40 AM, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

They may still make 4x8 sheets of concrete/composite sheathing that looks like board & batten. It's pretty cheap, lasts forever, and cut easily. It's also pre-primed and takes paint very well.
I used it on my shed and with the exception of mud splash and some green-ish growth near the bottom, it looks new. I left it completely untreated, btw.
I think it would be perfect for your project and could also square up the gate.
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Use 1/8 inch masonite. By the time it deteriorates, the grandkids will have lost interest !
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You sure about that? Masonite used to make siding for homes that was 1/4" thick and it failed miserably in as little as 5 years. Been there done that.
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On 7/30/2010 7:24 PM, Leon wrote:

That was actually International Paper IIRC. "Masonite" as a brand of sheet goods doesn't seem to exist anymore. The stuff you find at lumberyards that is commonly called "Masonite" is really "hardboard", with the "tempered" kind being reasonably weather resistant as long as it is painted and the edges are protected.
On the other hand, the "right" stuff to use for painting an outdoor mural is probably medium density overlay, which is plywood with a smooth phenolic-impregnated paper facing that is designed to take paint well--its intended use is billboards and the like.
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I'd go for that - use a good can of kills or what it is - the stain or over paint coat. If you paint the front - paint the back for certain so moisture will be even if any.
Martin
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On 7/30/2010 12:21 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

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On 7/30/10 10:17 PM, Martin H. Eastburn wrote:

The paint/moisture thing is really a non-issue with that concrete stuff. It doesn't soak or warp.
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Sounds heavy. Maybe I'll need a more heavy-duty gate roller. But what the heck - it's for the grandkids. :) The older of the two (5) is a pretty amazing artist for her age.
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On 7/31/10 2:13 AM, JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

You may not need any roller, since you can use it to square the gate. We expect pictures of the art, btw. :-)
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Dont depend on fiber cement panels or boards to be structural or to aid as support bracing. It tends to be more of a veneer than anything else. Screw or nail holes will wollow out in it if there is any stress added.
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On 7/31/10 3:36 PM, Leon wrote:

I would say that's good general advice, but it depends on the thickness, really. The stuff on my shed is at least 1/4" and it won't budge.
The doors are probably 7'x3' and comprise of full sheets of cement board cut down to that size. Their wood "frames" are screwed directly to the cement board and have to mechanical fasteners or glue holding them to one another. In other words, the cememnt board is doing *all* the heavy lifting and it solely responsible for keeping the door square and up. Standard gate hinges hold the doors to the shed and they haven't sagged in 10 years.
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I have replaced a majority of the Masonite siding on my home with Hardi planks and built a store room about 7 years ago and used the same product. Used the same product on a neighbors patio to close it in.
I used cross bracing to stiffen the studs on my store room, it wiggled like crazy until I did that. Knowing that cement fiber board will wollow out I was not going to trust just the Hardi and was advised also by the supplier. They agreed that the fiber board is mostly for appearance.
My neighbors closed in patio did still wiggle a lot with the cement fiber board until we added plywood paneling on the inside.
Your mileage may vary with local conditions but I live in hurricane country and thankfully my shed held up wonderfully during Ike, 2 years ago, my fence did not. ;~0
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And the lesson is that you should have built the fence with Hardi planks! <G>
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wrote

LOL, Hardi was not around in 1981 when the fence was originally built.
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On 7/31/10 4:23 PM, Leon wrote:

I think we have two applications here and both are worth taking into consideration. There really isn't much force being applied to the stuff when it's hung like a door. It's rigid enough on its own to support itself and some added framing.
Ask it to keep a building wall rigid and you run into the wobble at the fasteners as you describe, because its too much force.
As to the OP's intended purpose: I think he could trust it to keep a gate square, just as it's kept square as doors in my application.
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Yes! LOL I believe you are correct.

Agreed, it can be fine in some applications.

I visualized fiber cement board used as bracing instead of the usual wood bracking and supports. Not in particular a larger single central piece.
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