'Success? Failure?' Rating: ★★★★☆
My sister, Milly, requested an easel that: 1., she can carry around; 2., will hold all her painting paraphernalia; 3., has an adjustable rake; 4., will accommodate a decent sized canvas. I said "no worries"...
I cheated a bit to get started by purchasing an A3-paper-sized, shallow, open-topped box, made from 6mm MDF, from a local craft shop. I then routed a 3mm rabbit around the inner edge of the open side and cut a lid to fit from 4mm MDF. I also rounded all the outer box edges/corners with the router to make it look a bit more 'finished'. The exterior of the box and lid were then under-coated, given 2 coats of matte black paint and then 3 coats of polyurethane.
Before attaching the lid to the box with a pair of hinges, I made and fitted the easel part - the idea is that when the lid is open, the easel part makes up the third (front) side of a triangle. The easel foot has a pair of dowels that seat themselves into a pair of drilled rails that run on the inside of the box - changing the rail position changes the rake of the easel. To secure 'a decent sized canvas' I routed two channels into a piece of timber, fitted a pair of 6mm aluminium rods and then glued a cover strip over the top to hold the rods in place. A block is attached to the top of the rods and this piece slides up and down to accommodate a canvas taller than the easel/box. Finishing touches include a handle and elastic loops to hold the lid closed when the easel is not in use.
Pros: Lightweight/portable; looks good; highly functional as an easel.
Cons: Closure mechanism is a bit primitive.
Enhancement Suggestions: Invest in a more sophisticated method of securing the lid whilst the easel is closed up.
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