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  1. #1

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    Recommended easels

    As my printing improves I'm finding the cheap Meopta 16x12 easel that I bought to get me started to be more and more of a drag. The blades don't sit at right angles and I have to hold down one corner to keep the paper flat!

    What easels do people recommend? Is a four blade easel a useful investment or of limited use? Are Beard easels worth the extra cost or will an LPL serve me well?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Barry

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Beard and Saunders V-Track are first rate easels. The next step after that is a vacuum easel. If you can afford one, you'll only have to buy it once, and then you won't have to worry about it.

    I find it very useful to have a 4-blade easel, since I print from a variety of formats, and I'm not dogmatic about using the full frame.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    I would definitely get a 4-bladed easel, probably one size larger than you expect to print. I would get a Saunders 4-blade (I have the 16 x 20 and the 20 x 24). I only use the 20 x 24 for 20 x 24 prints and use the 16 x 20 for everything else. I have never used a V-track but I like the geared knobs on the regular Saunders. Very precise.

    I also have an 11 x 14 Saunders but that feels flimsy to me and is easily nudged on the baseboard.
    Jerold Harter MD

  4. #4

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    Saunders 14X17 works well, four blades for up to 11 X 14 and the masking assembly is removable for 14 X 17's.
    Solid foam base so it can hang over the edge of the base board if need be.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    Saunders 14X17 works well, four blades for up to 11 X 14 and the masking assembly is removable for 14 X 17's.
    LPL makes one and supplies to Saunders also, I believe. I don't know the price of it in other parts of the world, but mine was about 150 USD when I bought it new. It's not fancy or anything, but it's just what it is and does what it does.

  6. #6

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    I have used a Saunders Universal and a Saunders V-track. Both are great, but the V-track is the best hands down. It's big and sturdy and the blades stay straight once they are set. When I got it one of the blades must have been banged out in shipping but 1 minute with an allen key and it was gravy. Look for one on ebay- I got an 11X14 for something like $100 shipped.

  7. #7

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    The Dunco 4-bladed easels could be a solution or when you have only two formats (or so) you could decided for the Versamask (TM) system from Zöpfl. The guy died last year (cancer) but Heiland and Phototec have overtaken the production of the idea. We have it also in our program.

    http://www.versamask.de/
    All masks are laser cut and very precise.

    Best regards,

    Robert

  8. #8
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    You are right when you say that using a cheap easel is a drag, I guess most of us have several that we have accumulated, and now avoid using, generally for the reasons you describe. Here in England the Dunco, and Kaiser 4 blade units are available from Silverprint (and possibly others) and are of good build quality. The R&B units are available second-hand from time to time, and whilst of good quality, are primitive to set-up, and therefore generally overpriced, which is why I use a old Dunco model.
    I guess the best reason for going to a 4 blade unit is that the easel remains in the centre of the baseboard for all paper sizes, whereas with the 2 blade unit it has to be moved, and, if it’s one of the larger sizes, can end up over hanging the baseboard; which those of us with expanded waistlines can find a nuisance. There are various fixed aperture units, such as those mentioned by Fotohuis that may be useful if you regularly print to a fixed size, I also have a Quadro 14/11 easel that was designed on this basis that works very well indeed, but are now rarer than a concrete cows scrotum.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  9. #9

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    cheap easels are often not square once well used either!

    I have a photon beard 2 blade and love it. The next stage would be a Dunco 20x28 4 blade. My enlargers have huge baseboards so moving a 2 blade about it not an issue. My only criticism of my 2 blade is that the scale is off by about 3mm. Does not sounds like much but if you want to make a print a certain size to fit an existing mount it can result in a bit of swearing. I have to remind myself of the +/- error every now and again to get prints of exact dimensions when I need a border around the image itself.

  10. #10
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Following my earlier post I notice that the Secondhand Darkroom have a plethora of 4 blade easels in stock: :o

    http://www.secondhanddarkroom.co.uk/...?p=2&cat=16408
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


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