I need a new easel
So I bought a Saunders VT-1400 easel about 6 months ago, and then scored a new-in-the-box Beseler 23CII-XL. I know I've read that the VT-1400 is a big easel, but DAMN. I can't even use it for 5x7's because of the way the 23C's head rides on the track. I think I can use it for 8x10's and 11x14's are fine.
I'm currently not actually printing 11x14 because my bathroom isn't quite set up yet for 3 trays of the necessary size. Ditto for 8x10. So I'm actually only printing 4x6 and 5x7 for the time being. I really like the build of the VT-1400. Is there a comparably built easel for 8x10? Or a smaller 11x14?
To further complicate matters, I just started printing 6x6. As I don't have a 6x6 carrier yet (looking), I've been using my glass 6x9 carrier. So I do kind of need some kind of masking - my speed easels aren't quite cutting it.
I like the Saunders Slimtrack, more compact, although the blades are a little bit narrower.
Can you wall mount the enlarger? Why not make your own negative carrier out of blalck matte board? My wife made me one so I could make full frame prints as a birthday present. works great.
You need a longer lens (105mm?) for the enlarger. You will then be raising the enlarger head higher, and the image will be farther out from the supports.
Have no idea how it compares quality-wise, but last year I picked up an LPL 8x10 two blade easel via ePrey. I wasn't running into the column with my larger ones, but I got tired of reaching under the big mask frame, having it flap around while I was loading to make 5x5 inch test prints. I paid the handsome sum of $15 for it, although the shipping was a bit high. The small sizes are more common and pretty reasonable, the big ones, especially four-blade types, even used are a bit sobering unless one gets lucky.
Wall mount - no I'm in the bathroom on a cart for now.
Lens - looking for a new lens already. I will look into 105mm ones
LPL - its an idea. I've used the regular run-of-the-mill Saunders easels. They are ok. The ones I used were in a school lab, which might have something to do with it, but they were just kind of ok - not straight blades, etc.