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Old 08-18-2004, 01:45 PM   #1
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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SORG Easel




Check out the easel now being offered by David SORG. Although I have not yet used one, I can certainly speak to its design.

Many artists have never had the opportunity to play with a counter-weighted (as opposed to crank-type) easel, because even the largest art supply stores don't offer them on the floor, opting instead for a range of what (to me) are very highly-priced and widely distributed easels - many of which are well over $1000.

Several years ago I had a custom easel designed and built. It, too is counterweighted. Moving the tray is truly a one-finger effort. Moreover, because the mechanism is in the center, you don't run into the jamming that can occur in trays that require two mechanisms at the sides. Unfortunately the person who built my easel is no longer available.

I will need a second studio easel in 2005, and I'm so happy to see one that looks this good. It would be great to hear from any of you who have actually used the SORG easel.

There is an excellent article on the SORG site addressing things to consider when buying an easel.

And, no, I am not getting paid for this post
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Old 08-19-2004, 07:41 AM   #2
Cindy Procious Cindy Procious is offline
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I, too, would be very interested in hearing from anyone who has a Sorg easel.

$500 plus shipping seems like a steal for something of this caliber.

I do have one question, Chris. If you can literally move the tray with the touch of a finger, is there a locking mechanism to prevent movement while you're painting?
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Old 08-19-2004, 09:26 AM   #3
Chris Saper Chris Saper is offline
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Sure, there needs to be a locking mechanism. I din't see specifics on the SORG site, but you might email David and ask him.

On my easel there is a doorknob-type lock/release mechanism in the center of the backsplash above the tray, although my easel's design isn't really salient.
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Old 08-19-2004, 08:10 PM   #4
David Sorg David Sorg is offline
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I'm not sure if you'll hear from anyone who has one of my easels on the Forum; I only made a couple of dozen of them (at $1100) before I stopped making them for a couple of reasons. One reason was that I was turning into an easel builder instead of a painter. And even at that price I wasn't making very much money, not that money was much of a motive.

But better, I'd been approached by an art supply company that loved the design and wanted to have them manufactured in quantity. That whole process took a lot longer than I would have thought, but they did a wonderful job and the price dropped by half or more. And though it's highly unlikely that I'll get rich selling them, I'm no longer sweeping sawdust out of my studio.

Finally, to answer your question, Cindy, there are two knobs on the paint tray that are used to lock in the position if you want to, though I find that I rarely do since things seem to stay put.

I'm working on getting a couple of references on the website, but privately could give you a few names...
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Old 08-19-2004, 09:46 PM   #5
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Dear David,

Thanks for coming on the Forum to talk about this easel. I'm also very interested and it looks beautifully and intelligently crafted. I have a few questions:

Does that shelf adjust (slide) up to accomodate very small paintings so that they can be worked on at eye level? Its height is independent of the utility shelf height, right?

The easel adjusts up and down but is there side to side sliding action? (Up and down is more important to me than side to side, but I thought I'd ask.)
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Old 08-19-2004, 10:23 PM   #6
David Sorg David Sorg is offline
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Hi Linda,

You're right about the canvas holders, they adjust to any height without regard to the paint tray by sliding up and down the main mast. Once the canvas or panel has been clamped at the desired location, all three pieces move up and down together as a unit. That feature is what makes it so desirable; I can start out standing, but switch to sitting if/when I get tired and just use a finger to pull the canvas back to eye level.

When I was building prototypes of the easel, I thought about adding a side to side ability, but it would have added a fair number of additional pieces and cost, as well as an opportunity for some shimmy to creep in.

For me personally, when I sit, it's on a drafting stool with wheels, and figured when I stand it's not too tough to take a step or two to one side, though I admit that on really big horizontal formats it's easier when I'm using my wooden palette in hand than the glass palette on the rolling taboret.

For anyone looking for the sideways motion as well, Hughes makes a very nice easel that has this feature. My quibble about buying one was the expense (though ultimately I probably ended up spending much more in developing mine) and the lack of a paint tray which I just find too useful to give up.
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Old 08-19-2004, 11:47 PM   #7
Linda Brandon Linda Brandon is offline
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Thank you, David, for your comments, I appreciate them.

By the way, I thought you might be interested in taking a look at Forum member Deladier Almeida's easel, located here:http://forum.portraitartist.com/showthread.php?t=1647
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:03 PM   #8
Leslie Ficcaglia Leslie Ficcaglia is offline
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I've been looking for a new easel and have been trying to contact Hughes with no luck. I do like the option of the side-to-side movement, although the Sorg easels look very nice. Do they tilt forward for use with pastels? I didn't see that mentioned.
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Old 08-24-2004, 12:54 PM   #9
David Sorg David Sorg is offline
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Hi Leslie, it does go about 5 degrees past vertical. Pastel painters obviously need it to keep the dust from falling to lower parts of their painting, but I keep mine in that position for my oils as well; it reflects most wet paint glare away from my eyes, especially on larger canvases.
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Old 08-24-2004, 01:49 PM   #10
Leslie Ficcaglia Leslie Ficcaglia is offline
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Thanks, David. Your easel has some very nice features. If I don't hear from Hughes I'll email you about prices and shipping.
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