Using easels for large prints >11x14

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by BetterSense, Apr 26, 2011.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have an 11x14 easel, but I want to try making some bigger prints. 16x20 and larger easels get expensive fast, and are rarer on the used market. Do you prefer using a proper easel for large prints, or do you have some other method of holding the paper flat? The roll paper I will be using is very curly so I'm wondering if an easel will be better or will actually hurt compared to something more homebrew, like foamcore and gaffer's tape.
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could use a flat piece of metal and some magnetic strips to hold fiber paper flat. It is a PITA, but it works.

    For RC (i.e. color in my case, as I don't print large b/w that often), I just use the baseboard, with stacks of masking tape to make two edges.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,514
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When in graduate school I got a single-sized 16x20 easel. It was about 1/4 the price of a 4 blade easel. Another option is a large 2 blade easel, those tend to be pretty inexpensive on the used market.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,126
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've cut mount card to make easels for larger sized prints, I used a black marker pen to blacken the cut edges and remarkably the first is still OK 17 yeras on. I've some strips of metal that hold it flat in use.

    Ian
     
  5. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

    Messages:
    3,126
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The thing that concerns me is that I'm using cut-down 40" RC roll paper which is very curly. I suppose a vacuum easel would be the best possible thing.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,464
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you weren't so far away I'd tell you to come over and pick up my 18x24 vacuum easel. You can have it if you want to pay shipping for the monster, comes with vac, hose, and foot switch.
     
  7. tim k

    tim k Member

    Messages:
    237
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You could build a vacuum easel for about 20 bucks. I just finished one up with junk laying around the shop. Works fantastic. I covered mine with formica, cause thats what was laying around the shop, but you wouldn't have to. I could get up off my lazy butt and get a picture if you like.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,264
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2003
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The magnetic strips and metal plate works really well, because it's flat. Most easels aren't flat.

    You may find you like it so much that you continue to use it for all your work. Just mark it up according to the size you want to print, focus on the metal plate (painted, of course), slap the paper on, and add the magnetic strips where the 'borders' are.

    It's a fairly inexpensive solution.

    - Thomas
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,547
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    vacuum easel is probably the best bet if you are cutting from rolls.
    I think that with patience you can find them on the used market or if you are
    ambitious making them yourself is not impossible.

     
  10. mwdake

    mwdake Member

    Messages:
    616
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    FL, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I too found the price of 16 x 20 easels beyond my reach.

    I managed to snag a brand new 16 x 20 borderless easel for $35.
    Then I made a wood frame 1 1/2 inch wide to fit inside of it.
    Now I can print my 16 x 20 prints with perfect fixed borders.
    I may make frames of other sizes for different border widths.

    It worked out way cheaper than a 4 blade easel.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In lieu of a vaccum easel, I use a few long strips of double-sided masking tape on my 4-bladed easel whenever I print fiber. I "prime" it with lint to reduce the tackiness. Before printing, I place the paper as normal on the easel, then I press the print onto the tape with a cotton cloth. Then I blow off the print with compressed air that I have piped throughout the basement/garage area where my darkroom is. You must take care when "peeling" the print off, so you don't kink the paper, and it may take a few prints until the tape gets to the right balance between too sticky and not sticky enough. But I have found that doing this has eliminated any problems I was having with uneven sharpness corner to corner, especially when using older paper.
     
  12. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Location:
    London, Engl
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have previously posted on this and still swear by this method for RC paper. I don't use FB so am not sure it would hold curly heavy weight paper. Incidentally the great advantage is the very narrow half inch selvage. When you get up to 20 x 16, easels with wide borders are fouling the enlarger column. See http://www.apug.org/forums/forum43/74927-borderless-easels-2.html[/URL] and here http://www.apug.org/forums/forum41/6...nlarger-3.html
    Richard
     
  13. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    $35 was approximately what I paid for a perfect 20x24 2-bladed RRB/Beard. Just keep looking.
     
  14. mwdake

    mwdake Member

    Messages:
    616
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    FL, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have been looking for 2 years and I am still looking; maybe I will get lucky like you did.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,185
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The person I bought my Omega D6 enlarger from threw in a two bladed, 20x24 easel for free :smile:
     
  16. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    You can buy an inexpensive Saunders 16x20 easel. The border is thin which will be a disadvantage with curly paper.

    One option is a sheet of metal, or perhaps a magnetic greaseboard lying flat. Then use metal strips that are heavy enough to hold the paper flat for the borders. The problem with that is trying to make a run of prints with identical boarders.

    Another alternative would be to make a jig out of mat board, basically a window mount with a full sized sheet on the bottom and a masking window on top for the borders. You would need to use metal strips or magnets to hold the window flat on top of the curly papers. I would try this way first.