Tuesday, March 6, 2018

How to make a painter's folding desktop easel

I made this small desktop easel out of spruce. It is ideal for creating small paintings or drawings. I made it using mostly the table saw. 

I begun by making the base of the easel. Using my cross cut sled on the table saw I cut all the pieces to size. 

I then taped two pieces together and created a notch on each one using the table saw. I did that with several passes. 

I then made the two pieces that fit in the notches out of plywood. I taped them together, drilled the hole needed and shaped them on the belt sander. I then glued and screwed them in the notches. I then glued the pieces of the base. I used pocket holes to screw them together.

I then needed a vertical cut on the side pieces of the easel. I did that by making a temporary jig on the cross cut sled. 

I then screwed the pieces of the top part. I predrilled pilot holes to avoid splitting while screwing. I also used my clamps to hold the pieces for the screwing process. 

On the sides of the top I needed two long straight holes. I clamped the piece on the fence on the table saw and slowly lifted the blade of the saw until I reached the width I needed. 

I then cut, shaped, and drilled a few other similar pieces of the build.

I prepared the pieces for the place that the canvas sits on. I glued and nailed them together. I used my nail gun in this situation.

I then nailed the piece on the easel to hold it in place. I secured it with a few screws. 

I also glued, nailed and screwed the center piece in place. 

I then made the horizontal piece. In byzantine iconography this piece provides support for the hand rest used in this type of art. I used the cross cut sled on the table sew to make a notch in the center of the piece. I then drilled a hole and counter sinked it with a forstner bit.

I then marked equal distances on the center piece using the back side of my caliper. I drilled the holes. In those holes the horizontal piece is secured in place with a bolt.

Most movable pieces of the easel are joined together with screws. I cut the screw to size with a hacksaw. Using the belt sander I created a bevel in each end of the screws. This helps the nuts to be more easily screwed in place.

I then assembled all the parts together with butterfly nuts and bolts. When needed I used washers as spacers.

I sanded everything with 100grit using my random orbit sander and a sanding block.

My little easel is now ready for painting and I am really happy with the way it turned out!

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