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I am a long-time user of Math SE but first time user here.

I have a small corner of my home turned into a studio where I do math tutoring via video conferencing. I have a big wall-mounted melamine panel served as my dry-erase whiteboard. Melamine panel works fine for my purpose and it costs only about $15 per 4'x 8'piece, but it gives out too much glare that lighting is always big issue. I am thinking about replacing it with a chalkboard. In the meantime I know these much about chalkboard:

(a) The best one is made of porcelain-on-steel, it is the one we usually see at school classroom. It's extremely durable (warrantied for 50 years,) makes good writing, erases cleaner but it is expensive.
(b) There are substitutes though, and the two that I know of are Masonite tempered hardboard and Dura-slate. They are non-magnetic, lighter and cheaper but won't last that long.
(c) Then there is special paint for chalkboard, but I ain't warm to the idea. First off, my wall is textured and I prefer method that does little harm to the wall. Secondly, I doubt hand-painting will produce smooth surface.
(d) Finally there is glass whiteboard, but it gives out same amount of glaring.

And here are my two questions:
(1) I think you can buy Masonite easily from Lowe's or HD. Do you know where to buy Duro-slate?
(2) Do you know of any other substitutes? I am not harboring any unrealistic expectation: As long as it is affordable, writes well with regular white chalk, erases easily with a regular eraser without having to resort to damped clothes each time, then I will be a happy camper.

Thank you for your time and help.

  • Have you tried a polarizing filter on your camera, for the glare? – tahwos Sep 7 '15 at 21:52
  • You could also try, edge lit glass on a black background, with fluorescent markers. – tahwos Sep 7 '15 at 21:55
  • Then there's always ELMO, presentation cameras. – tahwos Sep 7 '15 at 21:57
  • @tahwos : Of your 3 comments, I would like to know more about the first one. What is polarizing filter? Thanks again. – A.Magnus Sep 9 '15 at 1:35
  • A polarizing filter, can be placed over a camera lens, to reduce glare, among other thing. – tahwos Sep 10 '15 at 2:45
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Duraslate will get you a roofing system, so stick to Duroslate if you want chalkboards.

[walmart, amazon and staples all claim to have those; others do as well.]

Adjusting light positioning, type (possibly adding diffusers) and camera angle on the whiteboard might be simpler/cheaper/faster. Not to mention less dusty.

The paint works fine if done right and can be applied to a piece of hardboard or plywood or even one side of your melamine board (might need to scuff sand first) rather than to the wall. Use a roller for best results.

Surplus chalkboards are dirt-common at every school remodeling project and presumably would be found in at least some architectural reuse (or salvage) facilities.

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  • Surplus chalkboards (the slate kind) are common, but not cheap by any means. They're also very heavy and not the easiest to mount to a wall. They're in high demand as countertops. – DA01 Sep 6 '15 at 21:12
  • @DA01 : Thank you. I have been looking into that surplus sources as well, but could not find any, even from local craigslist. Do you have any info on website dedicated to furniture surpluses from business, especially from teaching institutions? Thanks again. – A.Magnus Sep 7 '15 at 10:23
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    @Ecnerwal : Thank you. Did you say in the first paragraph that Duroslate is different from Duraslate? Just a little update from yesterday. Yesterday I went to HD and found a 4'x2' whiteboard panel by Universal Forest Products, for outdoor use by restaurants. It is still whiteboard but unlike melamine panel, it is dull therefore less reflective. Costs about $9.50 apiece. I am going to use them for now and let's see what happens next. Thanks again. – A.Magnus Sep 7 '15 at 10:30
  • @Ecnerwal : Lighting is no small business, I have even bought softbox diffused lighting by LimoStudio from Amazon, but it still did not work out well. Again the problem is that melamine is way too reflective. I once read a blog by a instructional video producer in NYC, who wrote he is willing to spend $1000 to hire a lighting consultant just to get it right. Thanks again. – A.Magnus Sep 7 '15 at 11:03
  • @A.Magnus you need to find a reuse/salvage facility. These are common in large industrial areas (at least in North America) where there is a lot of construction (and, in turn, a lot of demolition to make room for the new construction). I bought some 4x4 slate chalkboards from a school being torn down and they cost about $150 each. – DA01 Sep 7 '15 at 16:50

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