Cement backer board has made it easier for do-it-yourselfers to complete various home renovation tasks. Cement backer board is a tougher substrate than plywood and can be used in various applications.
When cutting cement backer board, use a utility knife to score backer board surface and snap to cut drywall into any shape you choose. You can use a carbide-tipped scoring tool, but it’s unnecessary.
As you cut, cement backer board produces crystalline silica dust, which can irritate your eyes and lungs. Aside from that, it may not be appropriate for various tasks. As a result, hardboard was introduced.
Exploded wood fibers, adhesive, hydraulic pressure, and heat make hardboard. The material has a smooth surface on one side and a rough surface. It’s often used for crafting and cabinetry and is a lightweight option instead of using laminated MDF for a low-cost surface. There is no grain to it, and it may be cut in any direction, yet it can mushroom along the edges of cuts if hit or not cut properly.
The material must be cut correctly to achieve the best results. Either a circular saw or table saw, and miter saws or most cutting tools with a masonry blade use a carbide blade as it is the best tool for cutting straight lines. Curves are best cut using a jigsaw and a fine-tooth blade.
In our guide, you can learn more about how to cut eucaboard (hardboard). By the end, you’ll see the various ways and cutting tools you need of how to cut fiberboard into any shape for the task at hand. (Read Wire Size For 100 Amp Service 150 Feet)
What Is The Best Tool For Cutting Hardboard?
Abrasive materials or vented diamond blades for dry cutting are examples of masonry blade types available on power tools. However, these may be too rough to achieve the smoothest hardboard edge when you cut wood like this.
Here are examples of the right way to cut hardboard. The choice of cutting blade can be vital for a good finish.
1. Cut With Knife
Straight Cuts with Utility Knife
Place the hardboard sheet on a flat surface like a garage floor, smooth driveway, or other space.
If you’re cutting a smaller piece of hardboard, use a workbench.
Unless you plan to use an unfinished surface or the rough side to be the facing side, lay the board smooth side up.
Cutting on concrete will quickly dull your utility knife blade. While the blades are easily replaced, a thick layer of cardboard underneath the hardboard protects the blade.
Mark Cut Line With Straight Edge
Mark your cuts with a pencil and a straight edge after marking with your measuring tape.
Keep your straight edge parallel to the marked cut line and firmly press the hardboard face with your hand, knee, or foot.
Keep your pencil lines visible around the board’s edges.
A T-Square can be used as your straight edge.
You can make curved and contoured cuts with a utility knife, but it requires practice.
Run Blade to Cut Straight Lines
With the first pass of your Stanley knife blade, lightly score the surface of the hardboard along your cut line.
Keep the blade against your straight edge with only light pressure and cut in a single, steady motion.
Deepen Your Knife Blade Cut
Keep the straight edge firmly in position, and keep your drywall utility knife blade lightly in place. Next, insert the sharp blade of your Stanley knife tip into the channel you made scoring the board.
Make a second cut by pressing down harder.
Make 5-6 cuts total, pressing harder each time you move down the cutting line.
You can remove the metal straight edge after the second or third blade pass. The channel should be deep enough to keep your blade straight along the cut line. (Read Filling Gap Between Concrete Slab And Wall)
Repeat the process until you cut deep enough to cut all the way through. Many try to flip the board, but it can be hard to match up the cutting line.
You can lift the board and cut down your cutting line to finish cutting through the last part of the board. You may need help with this.
2. Cut Hardboard With Power Saw
Mark Cutting Line
Mark your cuts on the board’s smooth side with a pencil. Hardboard sheets have a smooth side and a rough side.
Mark your cut lines in pencil on this smooth side and cut with it facing upward.
Make straight cut lines with a tape measure and a straight edge or drywall square.
Run your pencil lines over the board’s edge so you can see them when you flip it.
Mark With Masking Tape
On the rough side of the board, hide the cut lines with tape. Next, flip the board over and follow the pencil marks along the board’s edges. Finally, place masking tape over your cut line on the opposite face of the board.
Power saw teeth could splinter hardboard surfaces as they cut the underside, so your tape will help avoid this. Eye protection is recommended even if the edges are taped.
When cutting curves or elaborate designs, clamp directly underneath a piece of particle board to offer support as you use your hand saw.
Clamp to A Work Surface
To prevent board vibration while cutting, set the board on a stable, level workbench, with only the cut area overhanging the bench’s edge.
Add clamps to the bench and hardboard where the overhang begins, and more if possible.
If you’re using a table saw, set the board on the cutting table, aligned with the slit where the cutting emerges.
Smooth, accurate cuts with less splintering come with slight vibration.
Both spring clamps and C-clamps work well here.
Use Carbide Cutting Blade
Choose a carbide blade with many fine teeth whether you’re using a table saw, circular saw, or jigsaw. This blade will cut clear through hardboard without splintering. Take the time to follow all necessary safety precautions in addition to selecting the proper blade.
For information on selecting and changing saw blades, consult your saw’s instruction manual or the manufacturer’s website.
Wear eye protection and hearing protection when using any power saw.
Make Your Cut
Make each cut start-to-finish along the cut line with an even pace and light pressure. With any power saw, it’s important to move slowly and steadily and to allow the saw to do the cutting instead of trying to force it through the hardboard.
Smooth Cut Lines
If necessary, use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the cut lines.
You’ll still have a few rough areas and splinters even if you tape the bottom of the board, use a carbide blade, and cut gently and evenly.
Run a sheet of medium-grit sandpaper over the completed cut a few times to smooth them out.
For an extra smooth finish, follow up with fine-grit sandpaper. (Learn How To Cut Vinyl Siding)
3. Cut with a Hand Saw
Place Particle Board Under Hardboard
Before clamping it down, you’ll need to follow the same steps as above for measuring, marking, and clamping down. Again, it doesn’t matter if you use a power tool or hand saw; the material acts similarly.
You can find one difference. Rather than running masking tape on the underside of the cut line, sandwich a thick particle board between the hardboard and your work surface.
Use your pencil, measuring tape, and edge to mark cut lines. Use at least two spring clamps or C-clamps to hold the board in position.
When you cut with a handsaw, the teeth rip the underside of the hardboard. Therefore, the addition of particle board underneath can reduce splintering.
Clamp Cut Line Lumber
Clamp some scrap lumber along your cut line to get a straight cut. Unless you are experienced with a hand saw, it’s challenging to cut a straight line for so long on hardboard sheeting.
Hold the saw blade at a 45-degree angle. Make a small notch with two upward strokes.
Cut with a steady, even rhythm. Keep going until you finish your cut without removing the saw from the cut line.
A smooth cut still leaves rough edges on your hardboard. Smooth them using medium-grit sandpaper and then fine-grit sandpaper if required.
Is Hardboard Safe To Cut?
Hardboard may be cut with a variety of tools. There are some hand tools and power saws for this operation.
1. Cutting Hardboard with Circular Saw
A circular saw can make straight cuts in hardboard if you need to cut a lot. The circular saw is, a quick tool to use if you have a lot of hardboard to cut.
A circular saw can also do rip cuts and crosscuts. A circular saw is an excellent tool to use for straight cuts, especially if you require a tool that you can transport from job site to job site.
2. Cutting Hardboard with Table Saw
Large table saws are ideal for large crosscuts and rip cuts on hardwoods. In addition, a table saw is perfect for cutting large pieces of hardboard since it can handle enormous sections.
Of course, a table saw is still only used for straight cuts, not curved ones, but it is perfectly adequate for straight cuts. Remember that the table saw is not very portable, so use it at home or shop.
3. Cutting Hardboard with Jigsaw
A jigsaw is best for curving cuts and cutting designs into hardboard. The jigsaw is the only tool available for cutting curves and patterns. (Learn How To Cut Siding)
4. Cutting Hardboard with Miter Saw
Miter saws are ideal for making crosscuts and miter cuts. The miter saw is your only alternative to perform miter cuts, angled cross cuts, or rip cuts.
Cutting Tempered Hardboard
Here’s the best way to cut hardboard.
- Install an alternate-top-bevel carbide saw blade.
- Decide on the fence height and desired measurement.
- Place the tempered brown hardboard face up.
- Turn on the saw and move the hardboard over the saw blade carefully.
- A carpenter’s pencil and a tape measure make two marks on the unfinished side of the tempered hardboard.
- Align a drywall square’s long blade with the pencil marks drawn on the tempered hardboard.
- When using a circular saw, always use eye protection.
- Lay the hardboard on top of a piece of plywood and secure it to keep it from moving while you cut it.
- If you purchased it at your local Home Depot, cut the hardboard to smaller sizes before you leave.
You can shape the hardboard into curves, but as it needs to be completely wet and then allowed to dry in the new shape, cutting would need to be done before or after it has thoroughly dried.