Best 4 Blade Money Can Buy

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by dancqu, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I've been using single size easels. Most though use 4 blade
    easels. I think I might be missing something so have
    started shopping. The Beseler looks good but I'm
    open to suggestions. Only top notch. Dan
     
  2. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I have a Saunders 11x14 and love it!
    Built like a tank and it even survived being shipped from the US to AUS via both postal services.
    Can't think of ever living without it - 2 blades just don't so it for me any more. :smile:
     
  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'll second the Saunders. I bought mine used and I've had it for close to 20 years now.

    Dan
     
  4. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    Saunders are excellent.
     
  5. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Saunders. The 11x14 is my standard easel. I kept bidding for Saunders 16x20 and 20x24 - and losing. Ended up getting a Kostiner 16x20, (actually I think it's 20x20) which is fine.......but it's no Saunders.

    Bob H
     
  6. john taylor

    john taylor Member

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    I agree with other posters. I've used Saunders and have a Beseler 11x14. Both are excellent. However, my 5-blade SaltHill 16x20 beats them both. Only problem is it's so big I don't use it much.

    John

    Tacoma, WA
    jtay66@gmail.com
     
  7. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    Saunders V Track...Evan Clarke
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I don't have a 4 blade easel but use Beard 2 blade easels. If their 4 blade easels are of the same standard, and I don't doubt that they are, then they will be superb.
     
  9. grompirx

    grompirx Member

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    I've used a standard 11x14 saunders 4 bladed easel and it was so so.
    The V-track model is the one to get. It is a precision device, but it is huge, and unusable for 8x10 prints on a straight column LPL enlarger I have. Works great under my omega D.
     
  10. shotgun1a

    shotgun1a Member

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    So what can you do with 4 blades that you can't do with 2?
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll also recommend the Saunders V-Track among easels I've owned and used. Beard and Saltzman are also considered to be excellent easels.

    A 4-blade easel gives you some more flexibility and control for smaller prints without the easel hanging off the baseboard (depending of course on the size of the easel and the baseboard), unusual formats and wide borders.

    The disadvantages are that it takes a bit longer to set it up so the borders are even, and you've got four--sometimes five (in the case of easels that have a blade for positioning the paper)--blades that can go out of alignment, which is maddening, and cost.

    The design of the V-Track allows for quick and accurate setup, and they tend not to have alignment problems.
     
  12. Martin Reed

    Martin Reed Advertiser Advertiser

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  13. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    A vote for Saunders.

    Also a vote against Kostiner. I found one cheap but it was too flimsy. In the end I threw it away rather than trying to resell it.

    The Dunco looks great but I have never laid hands on one.
     
  14. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Position the image anywhere on the paper.
     
  15. PeteZ8

    PeteZ8 Member

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    Position the image anywhere on the paper as already mentioned.

    Create any size border you want, or almost no border (two blade easels typicly have a fixed border on the top and left). Also, you can center or crop an image to any size which is real handy depending on how the image will be framed.
     
  16. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Care to be Specific?

    Many mentions of Saunders but only a few are specific.
    I find 4 models available; VT - Slimtrack - Universal -
    Clutch Drive.

    I bought a used 14x17 Universal and thought the blades
    to be flimsy. I've an 11x14 in mind. That Clutch Drive
    looks interesting.

    IIRC the Beseler has Steel blades. No Beselers
    out there? Dan
     
  17. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I have an 11 x 14 Saunder V-Track. Love it. Best easel I've ever used.
     
  18. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Saunders V-Track is the one you want.

    The Slimtrack and Universal are lighter easels. The clutch drive is an older design. I had a Honeywell-Nikor 4-blade of similar design to the Saunders Clutch Drive (similar enough that I wonder if Saunders bought out Honeywell-Nikor at some point), and while it was finely adjustable, it eventually developed alignment problems that seemed too difficult to fix, so when I got a good deal on a V-Track, I tossed it.
     
  19. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Mine is the Saunders V-Track 16x20. Bought it new on clearance after manufacturing ceased. Worth every penny. Big and heavy, but as the man said, "Best easel I've ever used." Easy to adjust, smooth and accurate. Heavy blades provide good hold-down pressure for sometimes curled DW fiber papers.

    During my research I noted with dismay the number of negative reports from disappointed users of the Beseler models. Many had happily moved on to Saunders. The most common complaint seemed to be poor alignment, meaning the blades were no longer square. Or not square to begin with. The product photos all make the units appear to be quite sturdy, so I was surprised by this. I don't believe I ever read a single positive review. Strange.

    But it should also be noted that I've never seen or used one directly, so who knows? I'd enjoy hearing from anyone who uses one and just loves it. I'd really like to be proven wrong on this.

    Ken
     
  20. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Martin,

    Could you comment on the Dunco unit compared to the Kaiser 4 blade models?

    Tom
     
  21. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    Now I Find Out

    Saunders is out of the easel business.
    Used is the best I can do. Is Saunders
    busy at any thing?

    Warped paper has me looking still at
    the Beseler; steel blades. Several outlets
    are selling it. Hard to believe Beseler would
    lend it's name to any thing less than very
    good. Dan
     
  22. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I have an 11x14 Beseler, one of the older all black ones, and a Saunders 16x20, and I've used the Saunders 11x14 model.
    The Beseler is quite good, and much heavier than the Saunders models.
    The downside is that they are a little fussier to use, some paper sizes are held at the top of the paper, some at the bottom. On mine, the scales aren't accurately placed, and my Saunders is better in that respect.
    I never have worked out the best way to get the frame, blades, and base all square to each other. The Saunders seems less prone for the frame to be out of square, but I've not had it very long so my evaluation might change. OTH the frame of the Beseler is much stiffer.

    If you're are concerned about a getting a used, possibly tweeked Saunders, the Beseler is a good choice.
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Dunco has recently been acquired by a neighbouring mechanical company. Which took over the product range as well as part of the Dunco employees!