Wasteboard options and options for M4 frame

So my M4 arrived over the weekend and im going to start the frame building and assembly this week.
I am looking for some input in 2 areas, if possible.

The first is wasteboard, with plywood being ridiculously expensive right now i was looking at cheaper alternatives to allow for (at the very least) the first wasteboard to be in expensive to replace after calibration and first number of potentially off cuts.
My options are osb, particle board, mdf, melamine board or ply.
Osb I dont like because manufacturers use cheap filler and glue which can dull cutters very quickly.
Ply is expensive (minimum $50 a sheet).
MDF, Melamine and Particle Board I have no idea, can anyone give any insight to the pros and cons outside of price?

Secondly, has anyone looked into a “fold away” type frame? I, like may others, dont have a lot of space to play with so looking to build a hinged frame that i can unclip and fold away. Any ideas or input would be greatly received, thanks.

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I think you’ll want to start with particleboard, which is the least bit-dulling cheap option. It is also easy to screw your material on to (unlike melamine). And it usually is pretty flat (when stored properly), unlike some ply. The downsides are the smell when cutting, and the wear: you can’t use the same screwholes multiple times.
I use old “stone pallets” as spoilboard, these are 50 mm thick pinewood panels, steel reinforced, used by brick factories. These work really well, but are very heavy. I have attached them on a hinged steel frame that I can pull to the ceiling of my shop, so I can reach the stored plywood behind it (my frame is normally almost vertical).
If you can use ground anchors (horizontal) or wall and ground anchors (vertical frame) you don’t need a large frame.
I drew up a fully collapsable frame to take with me to jobs on different locations, with storage inside it for the M4. I have not built it yet so I have no idea if it is stiff enough, but maybe this idea gets you thinking, I’ll leave a link to the post.
Good luck,


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For my Maslow1 I used OSB as a base and then attached 1/4 luan plywood (underlayment) on top of that for the spoil board. It’s worked well and is easy to change out the luan when it gets too chewed up.


I’m using OSB from my old maslow also. The luan addition is a great idea. I am going to add that to mine too; OSB is a bit harder on the bits, but I’m also not a production shop so don’t mind that too much. (also not using terribly expensive bits)

foam works as well. or a thin layer of foam over osb or other cheap stuff

First Principals

what is the spoilboard there to do.

  1. it’s there to hold your workpiece
  2. it prevents the bit from hitting the frame (which can chew up the frame
    and/or damage the bit depending on what is there (think doing this on your
    driveway, you don’t want the bit hitting the driveway :slight_smile: )
  3. be cheap to replace because it WILL get chewed up over time.

if your frame is cheap 2x4s or similar, you could mount your workpiece directly
to them and just replace them when they get too chewed up.

but in general, it’s nice to have a nice flat sheet that you can attach your
workpiece to anywhere.

David Lang


Not hinged, but it does break down - M4 'Hourglass' Frame

I used OSB for the structure, but I agree it tears up blades and bits. In my area, hardboard (Masonite) is cheapest 4x8 sheetgood. Its 1/8" thickness is a blessing and a curse- it doesn’t add much Z height, but it’s pretty easy to blow through it.

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how is it on bits?

OSB is very tough on cutting edges of any kind…

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I was meaning, how bad is the hardboard (masonite) on bits?

David Lang

Sorry- hardboard is pretty easy on bits. It’s basically very fine, dense particleboard.