26 January 2009

Build Your Own Artist's Easel

You will need:

Three 6ft boards, 1.5" x 0.75" (legs)
One 3ft board, 1.5" x 0.75" (vertical support)
One 1ft board, 2" x 0.75" (top cross bar)
One 3ft board, 2" x 0.75" (bottom cross bar/canvas support)
One 3ft board, 2.5" to 3" x .25" (front lip for canvas support bar)
One screw-in teacup hook or other small metal open hook
3 to 4 ft of small link, metal chain
Wood screws
Finish nails
Right angle, drill for pilot holes, screwdriver, pencil

Draw a vertical line down the middle of the top cross bar and mark the 6" spot (center). Draw a vertical line down the middle of the canvas support bar and mark the 18" spot (center):

See next illustration - Line up one end of the vertical support bar with the top edge of the top cross bar, centered on the 6" mark you made. Make sure the two boards are at right angles with each other. Secure with one wood screw.

Next, line up the canvas support bar with the other edge of the vertical support bar. Make sure the vertical is centered on the x you made and that both boards are at right angles with each other. Make sure both cross boards are on the same side of the vertical support bar. Secure with one wood screw:

Next, attach tops of 2 legs to the back of top cross bar. Don't go too close to the vertical bar because you want to be able to manipulate the angle of the legs. Make sure the space between each leg and the vertical bar is the same (to keep things symmetric). Start with only one screw and don't tighten it all the way in:

Next, stand the easel up and play around with the angles of the legs until you find what you like. Wider apart makes the easel lower. Closer together makes the easel stand taller. Once you find what you like and it looks pretty symmetric, use a wood screw to attach one leg to the canvas support bar.

Stand the easel back up to make sure the leg is in a good position for you. If you like what you've got, measure symmetric placement for the other leg and screw partway into place.

Again, stand your easel back up. Does it look symmetric? Is the canvas support bar level to the ground? Make necessary adjustments. Now tighten that last screw as well as the screws that are in the top bar. Add one more screw to where legs attach to both cross bars (to make a total of 2 screws at each intersection)

Lay your easel on the floor with the cross bars downward and the legs and vertical support bar on top. Time to attach the 3rd, back leg to the back of the vertical bar.

Attach the hinge to the back edge of the vertical support bar and one end of 3rd leg using wood screws:

Using finish nails, attach the front lip board to the front of the canvas support board. Make sure the sides and bottoms line up. The lip board should stand a little higher on top - this will prevent your canvas from slipping forward and off the support bar.
Next, attach the cup hook to the inside of the back leg, centered, at about 3 feet high from floor. Attach metal chain to back of canvas support bar, centered, using a wood screw. The chain will loop onto the cup hook. How much chain between the easel front and back leg will determine how tall the easel stands. At least 2 ft of slack is recommended, maybe more. You don't want your easel to be wobbly or easy to knock over.
Finally, saw off bottoms of legs to make them flush with the floor. This will also increase traction with the floor. An option is to attach rubbery gripper material. Keep in mind to ensure that the canvas support bar is parallel with the floor and level.
You can also saw off the sides of the top cross bar that stick out sideways from the leg tops. It's a matter of looks.
If you want to saw off the sides of the canvas support board that stick out sideways from the front legs, make sure you keep at least 2 feet of it. This piece needs to always be wider than your canvas.

Option - stain and seal the wood.

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