Sorry I don't have any Ampersand board on hand to measure.  But their web page states 1/8-inch.


On Apr 12, 2015, at 4:44 PM, Geoff Thompson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Thanks Karen,

                     I’ve never seen this product here in Australia but then I haven’t been looking. I don’t draw much at work traditionally anymore and have plenty of old supplies. I’m about to run a small demonstration/workshop for friends in the Studio West End and information on supplies is interesting.

Can you tell us how thick the masonite backing is? I worry about masonite with acids leaching out of the lignin but looking at the Ampersand site their hardboard looks pretty good.

Essdee’s backing was not acid free anyway.




From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Karen Ackoff
Sent: Monday, 13 April 2015 5:35 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] scratchboard


I use Ampersand - both black and white - for teaching. Consistent surface, and the coating is thick enough to allow for corrections. It's affordable. I'm not crazy about the thickness of the masonite, but the masonite backing does protect the work. When I used to use ESSDEE (I'd buy large sheets and cut into smaller pieces), students were not careful and the surface would crack or corners would be damaged. Or it would warp and wouldn't lay flat.


I don't use it for my own work - there is something about the surface and the dust from from the Ampersand boards that makes my hands itch like crazy. I've never had a student have this problem - just me. I have a stash of old ESSDEE that I use.





On Apr 12, 2015, at 11:28 AM, Linda Feltner <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Gretchen:

I used to exclusively use EssDee, and dry mount it to an archival foam core. But I have moved to the Ampersand Scratchboard. 

When I taught pen and ink (both I and II) I always introduced scratchboard on the last day. Some folks who struggled with pen and ink were really pleased with scratchboard.  The Essdee, after drymounting, cost nearly $40 a sheet. The Ampersand is way less. 


The Ampersand was a dream come true. No prep. Consistent surface, various sizes. No dry mounting. I used the white background. However scratchboard has taken off down here at the Art Institute of the desert museum, and LOADS of people use the black Ampersand. 


That said, I think the surface is good and practical for different techniques. 

I think Frank Ippolito knows the inventor of Ampersand Scratchboard and may be able to give some information on the specifications. I don't know. 


Happy Spring!



Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538






On Apr 11, 2015, at 7:21 PM, gretchen halpert wrote:

Hello all,


What is your favorite scratchboard for teaching? 


I've used EssDee and Canson for my own work, and Clayboard and Scratch-Art for students to practice with. 


Scratch-Art was great because it needed no prep, was lightweight, inexpensive, and shipped anywhere. Very good for trying out the medium for the first times. However, when I received classwork from a distance student, I saw why she was having so much trouble; the board is so thinly coated with clay, there is nothing to scratch. I've tried to contact the company to see if it is a bad lot, or if someone else is making it poorly now. Neither their local nor toll free phone lines connect. They don't repond to written inquiries either. I believe the board was purchased through Amazon. This is the white scratchboard. So, I am now searching for good (yields crisp lines), lightweight, easily purchased on-line, inexpensive, white, scratchboard. 


Thanks!  (PS I have a whole box of large sheets of Canson scratchboard I am not thrilled with either.) 


Best, Gretchen 

Gretchen Halpert

Scientific Illustration Distance Program


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