Curving Hardboard

PLEASE NOTE:  This is historical information as the railroad has been torn down and no longer exists.


I  recently added curved (coved) corners in the train room addition using the “brute force” method. I took flat hardboard 4′ x 8′ x 3/16″ panels and forced them into the corner. This was an extremely difficult and frustrating method.

I’m getting ready to cove a corner in the expansion area and decided to use a curving method that I had used previously on some fascia board they worked very well. Here are the steps (refer to the picture below):

1.) Clamp boards on the edges using C-clamps evenly spaced (spring clamps will NOT work for this).
2.) Tie a rope to one of the end C-clamps and thread it through the other clamps going back and forth from side to side.
3.) Push on the face of the hardboard to start the curve and then tie off the other end of the rope.
4.) Wet the back (unfinished side) of the hardboard – I used a pump up sprayer because of the size of the panel. You just need to wet the back – don’t soak it.
5.) Wait for awhile (I never looked at the clock) for the hardboard to “relax” a little.
6.) After waiting push down on the long edge “just enough” (I don’t know what that is, but I do know what “too much” is!) and tighten up the rope. Take your time so you don’t break it!
7.) Repeat steps 4 – 6 as many times as necessary to get the curve that you want. NOTE: the board will relax quite a bit back to its original shape when the rope is released so you will need to curve more than the final curve. If you’re looking for a 90 degree curve you will need to curve is 110 degrees or more.
8.) After the back of the hardboard is COMPLETELY dry seal it with a good grade sealer. NOTE: latex paint is not a sealer.

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