Inspired by the pinboard on the wall, I upgraded my drawing board by gluing a piece of pinboard on it. There will be no more bulldog clips to get in the way of the painting at this easel!
The softboard/firebreboard/whatever glues down with PVA and can be cut with a Stanley knife. I glued first, weighed it down with books overnight and trimmed it once fully dry. A quick sanding of the edges to tidy up. No more tape, blutack or bulldog clips and it’s a very nice surface under both paper and unstretched canvas. (And I can still turn it around and use the MDF side anyway.)
I’m attaching canvas or paper with the simplest dressmaking pins, like so, because I paint right in around them.