I have made a prototype out of mdf, just drilled some small holes here and there, with a hollow base, and run a tube to a vacuum cleaner in another room and it worked just great. Couldnt have been simpler.
I found a brand new 16x20 borderless easel for $30 then made some square frames out of hardwood to fit inside the guides when set for 16x20.
Now I just set the 16x20 paper in the easel then place of of my home made frames on top of the paper. I made a 3/4 border an a 1 1/2 inch border and I get nice straight edges. Making the frames out of differing widths of wood will give you different border sizes. You could even make different sides different widths.
I would prefer to have a good 16x20 Saunders adjustable easel but they are just too pricey for me so my borderless easel and home made frames suit my needs.
I like that solution mwdake. I cut a window to fit my chosen format size out of 8-ply museum board and hinged it on 16x20 plexi. But doing it that way I have to weight it down to flatten the paper. You don't have to do that with wooden frames. What kills me is that I like to leave a black pin border from my full frame images and it's too precise for that method.
I probably wouldn't try to make an adjustable easel, I would prefer to make one for a single size of paper.
In fact, I already have!
A couple of years ago I made something to take Ilford's postcard paper. It was in two pieces and consisted of a heavy base with rubber feet and a couple of 1/4" pins and a removable part which locates on the pins and is in the form of a rigid envelope with a rectangular window cut out of the front.
The envelope part is placed on the base and it is moved to the correct place for the desired composition then the image is focused on the back surface which has some lines laser etched in the thirds positions as a guide for horizons and verticals, etc.
The envelope is then taken off of the pins, paper is loaded then it is replaced on the pins and the exposure is made.
This gives a repeatable result with even borders.
I have not tried to make one for anything larger than the Ilford postcard paper yet but I may have a go at one for 8" x 10"
I will post some pictures if I can find them. EDIT: I have found some of the top part.
Last edited by Steve Smith; 11-04-2010 at 11:08 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Didn't think about formica John. I'm looking into cutting sheet stainless steel in strips and powder coating them semi-matte. Hopefully that would make them tweak-proof like the Saunders blades. Funny, my darkroom table tops are made from stainless steel by a HVAC guy. They cut them to spec and they drop into the steel frames we welded. They are basically drip pans but they are easy to take out and clean thoroughly and they look great. Thanks, I'll check out the formica.
What kills me is that I like to leave a black pin border from my full frame images and it's too precise for that method.
I recently saw a method to that; so I am going to try it soon.
The method I saw was having a piece of rigid black material, plastic or steel. The piece was about 1/8 inch smaller all around than the easel opening. The idea is to make the exposure as normal then place the piece of black plastic on top of the print being sure to center it evenly all around; then exposure again for long enough to give a black border.