Sourcing Dry-Erase Materials

      A look at product choices for making dry-erase fixtures, furniture, and accessories. April 29, 2010

We recently produced a dry-ink eraser board for a kitchen. The eraser board came from an office supply store. It had an aluminum frame that was mitered around the perimeter. We removed the aluminum frame and slipped it into the back of a wooden frame much like you would install glass into a cabinet door. In this case it was hung on the wall like a classic corkboard.

We have need now for a similar product but this time it will actually go into a door and you will see the back side. The front is for messages and the back will hold a household calendar.

The original whiteboard arrived as part of a three piece lamination. The front had some sort of porcelain finish on thin metal. The back was also thin metal but had a galvanized finish. The center was corrugated cardboard. Has anybody ever tried to saw this material to size? Would a slide table saw do this without blistering the finish or mauling the edge of the metal? Could something like this be sheared at a metal fabricating shop? Does anybody know where to order a custom cut size? I would like to stay with the porcelain type finish because it seems to take the dry ink well without leaving any ghosting when you erase it.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor D:
I recently bought a cut-to-size piece of whiteboard which was the porcelain finish on metal, as you describe. I found them on the internet with a Google search. As I recall, it was rather expensive, and if I were to do it again I think I would buy the 4 x 8 sheets that are available at Home Depot that can be cut on a tablesaw.

From the original questioner:
Was the 4x8 a porcelain finish on metal backdrop? I forgot to mention, the metal behind the porcelain does double duty as a refrigerator magnet board.

From contributor J:
There is a Formica dry erase laminate available.

From the original questioner:
How does it clean up? Does it leave ghosts after you wipe the ink off?

From contributor J:
Alcohol will remove the ghost marks. I just cleaned my schedule board (about three years worth, many ghost lines) to reflect the current work in process.

From contributor M:
You can check out Everproducts. They'll custom size and ship.

From contributor S:
I buy this stuff all the time from my laminate supplier. Formica, Wilson Art, Nevamar... all make dry erase laminate. And they make it with or without the ability to hold a magnet. You apply and cut it just like any type of laminate. It's the same stuff you overpay for at Office Depot in a frame.

The stuff at Home Depot isn't dry erase board. It's more like a thermofused paper on hardboard. It's cheap, and it won't hold up like true dry erase board.

From contributor A:
You can always buy cut-to-size or sheets and cut them yourself from Claridge.

From the original questioner:
In order to be considered magnetic these would have to be porcelain on metal, right? Can this material be cut on a table saw without blistering the porcelain at the edges? If not, can it be sheared to dimension at a sheet metal shop without damaging the porcelain?

From contributor G:
How about cutting your metal shapes then sending them out for powder coating?

From contributor L:
You might check out Marsh Industries.

From contributor R:
We used the vinyl sheets of marker board on a job. They were put on with PSA adhesive and were magnetic (not very strong though). Not sure of the company but could have been the Marsh product. We used because an architect specified. We were concerned with quality but have had no complaints on the job (over a year ago).

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