Field Easel

A project riddled with challenges turns out lovely.

SHOP OWNER: David Lykins
LOCATION: Marietta, GA

    I just completed this field easel for my cousin. The body of the easel is oak, which I had milled from a tree my past in-laws cut down, the black walnut is from my sister and brother-in-law's farm in Illinois, and the Jatoba knobs are from scraps given to me by a guy that made some Jatoba tables. The finish is tung oil.
Field Easel

    In order to keep the tray from sliding out when transporting it, the top has a Velcro tab that mates up against a piece of Velcro, which attaches to the oak edge of the Lexan cover/tray. The tables that slide out from underneath the easel lock in place by good old fashion kitchen cabinet claps. In order to mount the easel, the bottom of the easel has a cross section housing a threaded blind nut that accepts the threads on any standard tripod.
Field Easel

    I copied several pictures off the Internet of field easels and then essentially built from scratch. Everything seemed to go well until I mounted the hinges and clasps. The screws that mount the hinges and claps went right into the channels I had cut for the sliding Lexan cover. I had to cut eight of the screws off to get the Lexan cover to slide freely in and out of the easel. I also had to grind down the lower part of the hinges some to get them to open a tad over 90 degrees. This would allow the top to have a slight tilt to it for painting. In addition, if that wasn't entertaining enough, I had to cut the original oak frame off the top because it glued up crooked due to operator failure! I essentially shaved off the original oak frame by running it through my jointer several times on each side. I pulled all the old oak off the black walnut, made, and installed a new oak frame.
Field Easel

    The good news is that it’s completed, functional, and my cousin really likes it. Wouldn’t you know after ALL that, I finally found plans on the Internet for a field easel? I may just have to order them if I attempt another one!

. . . David Lykins



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