Anyone built a blade easel?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Casey Kidwell, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    Sorry if this has been addressed before. I couldn't find a definitive answer in the search. I'm wondering if any of you industrious folks has successfully built a 4 blade easel. It seems that some other purchase always trumps this one. I love my Saunders for smaller prints but the cost of a large one makes me weep. I'm pretty sure I can channel a hardwood frame with a router and get it flush to a base. It's those darn laminated blades I cant find a replacement for. They have to be rigid and un-tweakable but flat enough for a clean edge. And tell me if this is folly. My adventures in making a printwasher ended in a lot of money wasted on lexan and industrial adhesives and cost more than the secondhand Salthill I found later. Thanks
     
  2. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I'm very happy with my store bought easel but have you checked with a machine shop to make the blades ? I've had a couple of "gagets" made at very reasonable cost.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    DIY folly? No, easels aren't exacty rocket science.
    How about harvesting blades from lesser reputation 2 blade easels, maybe something like the Bogans that seem to be pretty common?

    I've not investigated, but the blades for most easels are probably thin tempered steel so they can bend some and keep their shape.
     
  4. tim k

    tim k Member

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    How about an aluminum straight edge, like a metal yardstick?

    Oh never mind, they need to overlap.
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Casey,

    Truly add up all your material costs for a home made easel. Then compare it to the cost of a good used easel. I think you will find that the difference is small enough to warrant purchasing one.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    Neal, I generally agree with this out of past experience. And I'm not sure if I can even get the blade issue solved where they lay flat. But surely the materials wouldn't come anywhere near the average $400 price for a good used easel. The only cheaper Saunders I've seen is the one recently here on APUG and I believe it was $300. And I do enjoy making things for myself (when they function properly). And to add to that, there's some wicked-smart people here.
     
  7. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    You don't say what size easel you are looking for but I paid considerably less than $300 for a serviceable used 11x14 4 blade. I believe that I bought it here, on photonet, or rangefinderforum.
     
  8. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

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  9. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    Sorry, I have a Saunders 11x14. I'm hoping to make a 20x24 or even a 16x20. gorbas, that is such a cool easel.
     
  10. tim k

    tim k Member

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    Had you thought about building a vacuum easel? Thats always been my plan when I grow up and want something big.
     
  11. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    No, but I've used one for borderless printing on a commercial enlarger and it was outstanding.
     
  12. tim k

    tim k Member

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    I have made a prototype out of mdf, just drilled some small holes here and there, with a hollow base, and run a tube to a vacuum cleaner in another room and it worked just great. Couldnt have been simpler.
     
  13. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Not sure if this would suit, but....

    I found a brand new 16x20 borderless easel for $30 then made some square frames out of hardwood to fit inside the guides when set for 16x20.
    Now I just set the 16x20 paper in the easel then place of of my home made frames on top of the paper. I made a 3/4 border an a 1 1/2 inch border and I get nice straight edges. Making the frames out of differing widths of wood will give you different border sizes. You could even make different sides different widths.

    I would prefer to have a good 16x20 Saunders adjustable easel but they are just too pricey for me so my borderless easel and home made frames suit my needs.

    good luck
     
  14. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    I like that solution mwdake. I cut a window to fit my chosen format size out of 8-ply museum board and hinged it on 16x20 plexi. But doing it that way I have to weight it down to flatten the paper. You don't have to do that with wooden frames. What kills me is that I like to leave a black pin border from my full frame images and it's too precise for that method.
     
  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I probably wouldn't try to make an adjustable easel, I would prefer to make one for a single size of paper.

    In fact, I already have!

    A couple of years ago I made something to take Ilford's postcard paper. It was in two pieces and consisted of a heavy base with rubber feet and a couple of 1/4" pins and a removable part which locates on the pins and is in the form of a rigid envelope with a rectangular window cut out of the front.

    The envelope part is placed on the base and it is moved to the correct place for the desired composition then the image is focused on the back surface which has some lines laser etched in the thirds positions as a guide for horizons and verticals, etc.

    The envelope is then taken off of the pins, paper is loaded then it is replaced on the pins and the exposure is made.

    This gives a repeatable result with even borders.

    I have not tried to make one for anything larger than the Ilford postcard paper yet but I may have a go at one for 8" x 10"

    I will post some pictures if I can find them. EDIT: I have found some of the top part.


    Steve.
     

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  16. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Formica may work for the DIY blades. Another option would be galvanized steel used for heating/ac ducts.
     
  17. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    Didn't think about formica John. I'm looking into cutting sheet stainless steel in strips and powder coating them semi-matte. Hopefully that would make them tweak-proof like the Saunders blades. Funny, my darkroom table tops are made from stainless steel by a HVAC guy. They cut them to spec and they drop into the steel frames we welded. They are basically drip pans but they are easy to take out and clean thoroughly and they look great. Thanks, I'll check out the formica.
     
  18. tim k

    tim k Member

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    Casey, where are you located? I've got a boatload of formica scraps that you could play with.
     
  19. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I recently saw a method to that; so I am going to try it soon.
    The method I saw was having a piece of rigid black material, plastic or steel. The piece was about 1/8 inch smaller all around than the easel opening. The idea is to make the exposure as normal then place the piece of black plastic on top of the print being sure to center it evenly all around; then exposure again for long enough to give a black border.
     
  20. Casey Kidwell

    Casey Kidwell Member

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    I'm in Dallas Tim. If the steel doesn't work I might have to come pick up those scraps from you as an excuse to shoot in Arizona.
     
  21. tim k

    tim k Member

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    What ever works, it will be here busily collecting dust. However, you could do worse than Arizona for photo ops, at least the top half is pretty interesting.
     
  22. danya

    danya Member

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  23. danya

    danya Member

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    and later it was implemented as shown in pictures:
     

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  24. danya

    danya Member

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    just in case someone is interested - rullers for this easel can be printed on a self-adhesive paper from the following documents:
    :whistling: :whistling: :D :D
     

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