What better way to use some of the leftover pieces of Mahogany from the Armoire then to make a portable easel and palette box for Diane. I mentioned in my first blog on this project that there were many challenges to overcome and things to learn — always a good thing! This is not my original design but rather a modification of one made by an artist named James Coulter. Besides the fact that I could make this for Diane and save money, the other reason was for specific size requirements. The center area of the palette box will hold the 12″ x 16″ paper palettes she likes to use. We followed Mr. Coulters advice and ordered a Slik F740 tripod which is extremely sturdy and light weight.
In the other post I mentioned the challenge of making these types of things and there were a couple of unforeseen ones for me too. To keep things as light weight as possible I made the wood 7/16″ thick; good move right? Yes, until you try to hinge it! I wanted a piano hinge for strength but couldn’t find one narrow enough so needed to mount it on the outside of the box. Thought that was a good solution until the wings were opened, the problem was that they tilted downward which wasn’t acceptable. The wings will be used to hold turpentine which would spill and brushes that would roll off the side. How to solve this dilemma! In this photo you can see my solution, a button used to conceal screws. After carefully drilling the required 7/16″ hole the button was glued in and allowed to dry. There are two on either side which were then flattened down with a file until the wings were level with the palette portion of the box. So, let’s see what this all looks like:
You may recall the dilemma of the handle. Diane wanted an easy way to carry the palette box but if there was a briefcase style handle it would probably get in the way — besides, they’re ugly so here’s that solution:
Since Diane uses both panels and stretched canvas for her work she wanted one easel that could be used for both. The solution was to insert some round headed wood screws that can be fine tuned if needed to hold panels. For a stretched canvas, it’s simply held between the fixed bottom piece and movable top piece.
The tallest panel or canvas that the easel can hold is a 20″ and can be adjusted down to 8″. The canvas in the picture above is a 14″ x 18″. The way the easel attaches to the tripod is with the camera mounting plate included with it. In use there is no limit to how it can be angled or positioned. It can be used when standing or sitting.
This was another interesting project to build. I know that within a few sessions it will have its share of multicolored oil stains and finger prints on it but that won’t bother me — it’ll just add to the character and patina of this project!