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Cement fibre boards

Cement fibre boards

Originally made for tiling work cement fibre board is being used more and more in mosaic work. A combination of cement and reinforcing fibers they come in sheets of about 1200mm x 600mm and in thicknesses of 6mm and up. 
Mostly they can be used outside and it wet areas. Another advantage is they have a fairly smooth surface which can be easily drawn on, or you can transfer a drawing using carbon copy paper.
The disadvantages are, in large sections, the weight. Also cutting anything other than straight lines isn't that easy. If you use a power tool to cut this such as a jigsaw then you must do this outside and wear a mask as the dust can be quite nasty.
 
Brand names:
Hardibacker - not rated for outside
Marmox - can be used outside, is water resistant but if treated with SBR primer then it is waterproof. 
 
1013861_10152127809169729_1330066423_n  1. To cut the board you need to use a scoring tool, this is a short handled tool with carbide points. Once you know the line it's best to put a piece of wood against it and draw the tool toward you. 
1013200_10152127809149729_1431216583_n  2. Once the mark has been scored a couple of times you can usually remove the piece of wood and the scoring tool will follow the line. 
58986_10152127809159729_842824535_n

 

 3. Knowing how many times you have to score before you can snap it is a matter of experience. Always snap upwards to ensure you get a clean cut. 

 

 

 

11488_10152127809224729_114435714_n 4. If you want to create a 'fragment' or other shape then you can use the scoring tool to to take the main sections off then use a pair of tile nippers to trim it up. It is still quite hard, as you can see here I'm just taking small bits away at a time.

 

1653410_10152136628029729_768483128_n Carbide grit jigsaw blades. If you want to cut some shapes with the boards you need special blades on a jigsaw, ordinary blades with become blunt very quickly. These are the type you need, they have carbide grit embedded along the edge of the blade. It's still quite hard work but it will cut.
WARNING - The advice for hardiebacker boards is to avoid health problems from the dry dust you need to do this outside and be wearing a mask that is rated (in UK and the EU) FFP2/3. This is due to the crystalline sillica dust.
 
994717_10152136817194729_1294032983_n One of the real advantages of cement fibre board is that you can transfer drawings very easily using carbon copy paper.