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Old 08-10-2006, 10:26 PM   #1
Simon Bland Simon Bland is offline
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Easel insanity - build your own




I'm about to start a large painting and realized that the studio easels I had couldn't give me enough stability to handle the painting.

I was rather put off at the idea of shelling out big bucks for a professional easel so I decided to build my own.

I had some cherry wood lying around in the garage which I was itching to get used up - just enough to make the easel. It had been a gift from an old neighbour who moved away and didn't want to take it with him.

The finished easel is 48" wide and just less than7' tall at the lowest setting. The tray is counterbalanced with 17.5lbs and after a bit of fiddling operates smoothly. Needless to say it's very stable !

The easel cost $30 to build - the price of the fittings - and one enormous splinter in my thumb. It took one weekend to make.

I'm posting this as encouragement to any amateur woodworkers or anyone whose other half has a garage-full of tools. Nothing beats being able to paint on an easel you've had made to fit your own needs.

Simon
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:27 AM   #2
Jeff Fuchs Jeff Fuchs is offline
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That's a fine looking easel. I've been planning a similar one for myself with a pile of walnut I've been hanging on to for a while.

I see you have some extra eye bolts. Are you experimenting with different pulley configurations?
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Old 08-11-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
Simon Bland Simon Bland is offline
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Jeff,

You have a good eye ! I originally rigged it with an extra set of pulleys in the center to eliminate or at least reduce the degree of the "V" but I found them to be unnecessary in practice.

Simon
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Old 08-11-2006, 01:27 PM   #4
Garth Herrick Garth Herrick is offline
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That's fabulous, Simon!

Is your's like the Hughes/Sorg easels, in that you can freely slide it up and down? Also, is there a securing clamp at the top to hold a canvas support in place when you position your easel at a more vertical angle?

As another fellow occasional custom easel builder, I am very impressed! (I built a colossal easel once that now serves as a computer desk, using scrap lumber from Home Depot, and heavy duty hardware. 24 years ago I could not afford a French Easel, so I made a variant of my own, I still use, costing $80.00 in mahogany and brass.)

Garth
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:17 PM   #5
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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I'll join the club. This easel was made in Norway in 1971.
The only one that is bought is my dear French Easel that I got for Christmas many ears ago. I guess that I always have been a poor artist, or maybe it is because I like to tinker?
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:07 PM   #6
Simon Bland Simon Bland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garth Herrick

Is your's like the Hughes/Sorg easels, in that you can freely slide it up and down? Also, is there a securing clamp at the top to hold a canvas support in place when you position your easel at a more vertical angle?
Garth,

Thanks ! Yes, it slides freely up and down. I did not include a securing clamp because I prefer not to work at a very steep angle (and they get in the way). I think I will see if I can come up with something that secures the picture from behind.

Simon
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:11 PM   #7
Simon Bland Simon Bland is offline
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Allan,

Your easel looks very solid.

I can't believe your studio is so tidy !

Simon
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Old 08-11-2006, 05:37 PM   #8
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Bland
Allan,

I can't believe your studio is so tidy !

Simon
Hi Simon,
I have a wife. she taught me how !
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Last edited by Allan Rahbek; 08-11-2006 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:17 PM   #9
Garth Herrick Garth Herrick is offline
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The "French" Easel

Simon and Allan,

Here's my 1982 model self-built and designed portable field easel of mahogany (not such a great choice of wood, but hey, it still works). While it has some disadvantages, the one advantage it has is the adaptability of up to a 54 inch/ 135 mm canvas size. Most of my clients reckon it is some sort of antique now! Obviously it is well used and minimally maintained. Originally it had a tin liner inside, giving this "portable" easel an empty weight of 18 pounds (one of the disadvantages). It's still one of a kind.

Garth
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:07 PM   #10
Allan Rahbek Allan Rahbek is offline
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Hi Garth,
It's quite a furniture with those tenons and the very decorative brass work. Is the finishing date July, four 1982 ?
I have made a working board for watercolor, very lightweight, to fasten on a photo tripod. I will take a photo and post it tomorrow.
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