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Thread: Easel Opinions

  1. #1

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    Easel Opinions

    I am thinking that I want a masking easel. Max print size would be 11x14. Space is limited, funds are limited. I was hoping to find an off brand item that would do the job.

    But, then, I thought that I ought to ask opinions. Do I really need a 4 blade masking easel? Would a cheap 2 blade do? My enlarger only goes to 6x6, so 6x6 and 35mm would be what I was enlarging (unfortunately, while I have a Crown Graphic that I love, space and money mean I have to do hybrid prints with it).

    One of the thoughts, that say I need a 4 blade easel is that I do like square images. I do have one of those old Saunders Multi-Easels that make package prints on 8x10, left over from a previous life, I kind of doubt anyone would want it in this digital age. Anyway, my price limit is $100, but half that would be more comfortable. Any suggestions?

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    I recently purchased Saunders 11x14 4 blade easel here on APUG for $50 + shipping. I gave away my 2 blade one to a local college student.

    One of the very annoying thing with my version of 11x14 2 blade easel was that it was very difficult to place the paper on baseboard (of the easel) at correct angle so that paper sits parallel to the edge. In other words, if I put the paper crooked, I won't know it until I expose and process the paper - then find out my borders are not even.

    It's very easy on (at least my version of) 4 blade easel. Stick it into a slot and that's it.

    I know above discussion has nothing to do with number of blades but paper stop in the blade - nevertheless it was very important for me to successfully and consistently use easel and make good borders.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    I've used an Omega four blade easel for about a hundred years and couldn't imagine using a two blade easel.
    If you want to make any size print with any size paper, you can center the image if you wish to.
    With a two blade easel,the paper is always placed in the same upper left hand corner so the initial border on two sides are set.
    You can make a set of masks but unless you mark the easel or tape the mask in place, it's just constant fiddling about.
    The Saunders can be had for less than $100 and if patient, near $50. I found one at a Goodwill store for $8.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    You may be able to find a 2 bladed easel for something close to free - I see 8x10 versions regularly on Craigslist.

    Keep your eye out for a really cheap bargain, and in the meantime you can be patient while you wait for a 4 bladed easel.

    FWIW, I use my Saunders 11x14 4 bladed easel for 90+% of my prints - it came as a part of one of those entire darkroom purchases.

    I have three 2 bladed easels - the 8x10 version works great with postcards, the 11x14 version is new and unused in the box and the 20x24 version is available for larger prints.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
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    I got a Saunders 11x14 from a fellow APUG member, but I haven't used it yet. I got it because the 8x10 two-bladed easel was giving me the same problems as tkamiya - I wasn't getting consistently straight borders. In fact, they're straight maybe 20% of the time. Tey can be used to make square prints, though.
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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    Dear graywolf,

    I second the suggestion of watching Craig's List. 11x14 easels are common and cheap if you don't have to pay shipping.

    Neal Wydra

  7. #7

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    Unfortunately, I live in a small town, not much of interest on the local Craigs List.

  8. #8
    DAP
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    For $100 you should easily be able to pick up a really nice 4 blade if you go the ebay route. 11x14 saunders w/ the crank knobs or the sliders are very common (there are usually several on ebay at any given moment - I would go for the knob/crank model). The V-track would be the next step up but you will have to be lucky to get one for $100. If you are not in a hurry you could keep a look out for a Nikor 5 blade easel (The much ballyhooed 5 blade salthill easel is basically a rip-off of the nikor) - the nikors show up on the bay a couple of times a year and go for reasonable amounts. Kostiner easels also seem to be popular (never used one) and go for under $100.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
    Unfortunately, I live in a small town, not much of interest on the local Craigs List.
    I see one for $50 on the Seattle Craigs List. About as far from here as you can get.

  10. #10

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    They also show up on APUG classified fairly often....
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

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