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  1. #1

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    Can anyone tell me about this Saunders 20 X24 easel?

    Some 25 years ago I purchased an Air Force surplus Saunders 20 x 24 adjustable easel. Not being set up to use it, I never opened it. As I unpack a lot of darkroom gear to get it ready to dispose of, I finally opened the easel.

    It's the standard Saunders 20 x 24 easel, the one with two adjustment knobs on the side and two on the bottom. But one thing is unusual. The base has a black vinyl surface laminated to it. In other words, the easel is totally black except the standard Saunders yellow is visible in the paper load slots.

    Does anybody know what I have and why is was made black for the military?

  2. #2
    MurrayMinchin's Avatar
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    I have no idea, but welcome aboard APUG

    Murray
    _________________________________________
    Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.

  3. #3
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    As far as I can remember, when I was in the AF, we used many types of easels, but the Saunders that I can remember were yellow. At least that is the best I can do remembering that far back.

    I have met Mr Saunders while at Kodak, and have used some special order easels. They were all yellow with black felt or rubber padding and some, such as a 4 way easel had a black crackle finish case.

    The 4 way easel allowed 4 4x5 prints on 1 8x10 sheet of paper with no movement of the easel.

    I can imagine such an easel being made for color work, but we did color work with the yellow backed easel on paper with no problem.

    PE

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
    Some 25 years ago I purchased an Air Force surplus Saunders 20 x 24 adjustable easel. Not being set up to use it, I never opened it. As I unpack a lot of darkroom gear to get it ready to dispose of, I finally opened the easel.

    It's the standard Saunders 20 x 24 easel, the one with two adjustment knobs on the side and two on the bottom. But one thing is unusual. The base has a black vinyl surface laminated to it. In other words, the easel is totally black except the standard Saunders yellow is visible in the paper load slots.

    Does anybody know what I have and why is was made black for the military?
    It is the Saunders Stealth model - also absorbs radars as well as light

    Apart from the silly humor - have no idea whatsoever

    Mike

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
    Some 25 years ago I purchased an Air Force surplus Saunders 20 x 24 adjustable easel. Not being set up to use it, I never opened it. As I unpack a lot of darkroom gear to get it ready to dispose of, I finally opened the easel.

    It's the standard Saunders 20 x 24 easel, the one with two adjustment knobs on the side and two on the bottom. But one thing is unusual. The base has a black vinyl surface laminated to it. In other words, the easel is totally black except the standard Saunders yellow is visible in the paper load slots.

    Does anybody know what I have and why is was made black for the military?
    The reason they would put black down on the base is to prevent light from striking the base of the easel and reflecting back up thru the support\base and into the emulsion again. This is usually a concern when projecting onto ortho film. It is likely this easel was use for enlaring paper as well as onto ortho film. The black base would be necessary with the ortho film to prefent the reflection. Most contact printing frames have black bases for this reason.

    -R

  6. #6
    jp80874's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
    In other words, the easel is totally black except the standard Saunders yellow is visible in the paper load slots.

    Does anybody know what I have and why is was made black for the military?

    Deane,

    Some time ago I was expanding to 20x24 prints. I bought several large old darkroom items, stainless trays and easel, from a Chicago based corporate darkroom that was going over to digital. Included was a 20x24 Saunders easel exactly as you describe. Is it possible that this was simply an early generation Saunders easel, not just made for the govt., but simply an older model?

    When I bought Michael Mutmansky's 8x10 enlarger, he was kind enough to come over, a six hour drive, and set it up. When laser aligning the enlarger he discovered this easel, was warped. He solved the problem with cork pads on the base. Some thing to keep in mind if you use this one or if you sell it to a friend.

    Shameless plug for a friend, Michael has a newer, little used yellow one for sale on the LF Forum now.

    John Powers

  7. #7

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    I suspect the reason may have been projecting onto Ortho film as described above. While I don't have any knowledge of the subject, it seems possible that Air Force reconnaissance would possibly have such a procedure.

    I'm sure it was Air Force surplus. It was advertised that way. It has an additional sticker on it with government type ID data.

    I suppose this black base renders the easel of little value. While it's fully usable by simply putting a piece of blank paper in to compose on, most won't want to go to that additional step.

    I appreciate the replies.

  8. #8
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    The Navy ordered a few custom 20X24 easels from Saunders made from stainless steel to stop rusting. By Navy thinking stainless steel is to be unpainted so they got bright and shiny stainless easels. Needless to say they were worthless. Even after spray painting they didn't work well. They were replaced with off the shelf easels later. What the photo techs wanted were normal painted easels but made of stainless instead of mild steel.

    Who knows what yours were intended for. They custom ordered a lot of strange stuff.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
    While it's fully usable by simply putting a piece of blank paper in to compose on, most won't want to go to that additional step.

    I appreciate the replies.
    Deane,

    You should focus on a sheet of the paper you will be using, especially double weight. If you focus on the base you will be a tiny bit out of focus on the paper.

    John Powers

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deane Johnson View Post
    I suppose this black base renders the easel of little value. While it's fully usable by simply putting a piece of blank paper in to compose on, most won't want to go to that additional step.
    I appreciate the replies.
    1) Are you planning on selling it? These routinely fetch $450 on eBay for ones in good+ condition. They are quite valuable, but you have to be careful with the shipping. A proper sized box will cost about $10 new, which is what you should use, not some crappy used box.

    2) Almost all good printers focus on a sheet of paper that has been fixed out. They DO NOT focus on the easel base. Therefore, the color of the base is not important in this sense. I paid about $450 for a real nice one a few months ago on eBay and believe, a black base would have been an attraction to me since I use ortho film a lot. I would have paid more for it.

    3) You seem to think the black base detracts from the easel. Just the opposite. If you sell it, this is a FEATURE that you stress is there in case they want to enlarge onto ortho film. Many ULF photographers that make internegatives will be attracted to this, even if they lay down black backing paper over the easel anyway.

    These 20x24 easels are valuable, highly sought after and you should be glad you own it. If you want to keep it, you have a real nice piece of equipment there to use for yourself. Just learn to put white paper down to focus on when you enlarge, that is what you should be doing anyway. If you want to sell it, remember you have a unique easel there and you'll probably get an extra $50 or so because of it.

    Good luck whatever you plan on doing with it. Or you could sell it to me for $50<g>.

    -R

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