What easel recommended to make up to 16x20
I want to get it right the first time with an easel. Is there a best easel to purchase that does 8x10, 11x14 and 16x20 that is solid, will last and is easy to use? Or is it wiser to have multiple easels?
I have a Leica V35 enlarger and as far as I could tell Leica never made a large easel though I might not have found it in my searches.
Elsewhere on forum, you said your darkroom space and counter spaces are limited. I think, you will need to consider the practical size you'll be able to handle in your situation. To do 16x20, you'll need at least 3 trays that size and a place to wash your paper. If you do second fix stage, that's one more. If you do fiber, you'll be adding hypo-clear-agent stage and that's 5 total. Rather than trays, you can also use vertical processors but these are pretty expensive at large size. Also, from 35mm, you'll have to have a perfect negatives to go that large as well.
As to easels, Saunders are pretty common and are very well made. I think many companies sell the exact same thing under their own brand names as well. These come up every few weeks on APUG for good prices. I just bought my 11x14 kind and I really like it.
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Thank you for your reply.
I'm thinking of the future expandability of things. The space that I have is very small but I have a good idea about how to maximize the space. I'm going to build a stair step system to handle the trays because otherwise I would only have room for 5x7's and even then it would be pretty tight. So the solution is use the upward space. I don't really need to see the prints come up, though I did enjoy it back when I did it long ago. I just know that as my skills in printing advance I will want to make 16x20's. For now I will learn with 8x10.
Also in the somewhat near future I will have a dedicated darkroom space where I will be able to design the room exactly how I want it. I have a friend who has a giant loft space and he approached me with the idea that if I rented it he would build it out to suit me and my endeavor. The location is perfect and the loft is a completely blank space.
I'd go for the 4 blade variety...great way to custom size your prints. Spend the money upfront and get a good one.
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So what's the best one? And can a 16x20 easel make smaller prints?
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I find that my Saunders 11x14 four bladed easels work well with everything between 5x7 and 11x14, but are slightly awkward with prints smaller than 5x7. I wouldn't want to do 4x6, for instance, with a 16x20 easel.
The large easels can be difficult to position if you are trying to do small prints from a smaller, non-centred portion of a negative.
Even the cheaper two bladed easels can work well for the smaller sizes of paper, so I would suggest remaining open to the idea of two different sizes of easel.
In my case, my Saunders 11x14 four bladed easels are my main easels. I have a two bladed 8x10 easel for postcard and smaller prints, and a two bladed 20x24 easel for the relatively rare 16x20 prints I do.
EDIT: I don't really need two 11x14 easels - I just happen to have a second due to a bulk darkroom purchase, and each of the two are worn in different ways.
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Good 11x14 4-bladed easels can be had for $30-50, and good 16x20 4-bladed easels can be had for $200+. I would buy the 11x14 bladed easel for now, and buy a bigger one later. You'll want to use the smaller easel most of the time anyway.
Alternately, you can get a cheap 16x20 2 bladed easel for the few times you print that big, and an 11x14 4-bladed easel for the rest of the time.
I have had an 11x14 two-blade for years, recently picked up a 4-blade 11x14. But even more recently I ended up picking up a cheap ($15) 8x10 two-blade off ePrey because doing 5x5 test prints in a large easel is a PITA.
Advice heeded. I'm going to get a four blade 11x14 Saunders, they seem to be very popular.
I purchased a Saunders four-bladed easel hears ago that still works great. This plus a Saunders 16x20 two-bladed easel is an economical combination that will satisfy my needs for all sizes up to 16x20.