Sunday, August 12, 2012

Harsh Easel Project part 3

When it comes to paint I usually skip it on my own personal projects. I think its because I want to start using the machine or device right away and the time it takes to prep, paint and wait is just not worth the bother. It always seems to cost more than I'm willing to pay which adds to my list of reasons to go naked with most of the things that stay in my shop. For customers that's different. Paint gives it the "yes I'm finished" look and as a visual value added is pretty powerful. Needless to say Bills easel was getting painted. The conundrum was what color? Keep in mind this is an fine arts oil painter well versed in color theory. Cruising through the aisles at Home Depot I found some hammer tone silver that looked pretty good on the can. I bought some and tried it out on a scrap piece to see how it went down and how it looked after it dried. Results looked good and my wife gave her artist input approval. If I decide to paint something for myself the default paint I use is Steel It This is a polyurethane coating with stainless steel metal in the paint itself. I leaned about it many years ago when we rebuilt bleach filling machines. This stuff would go on plain steel and hold up to splattered bleach for years. Its a bit expensive, but the really good things usually are.
 Here is a closeup of some of the hammer tone paint. The dark bar in the middle is the guide rail and is hard anodized aluminum.
Paint was a problem for the expanding side frames. These telescoped inside the main frame on custom Delrin bushings. Since I couldn't have paint on these sliding parts I made the frames out of stainless square tubing and got them electropolished. The brass bar you see is an anti cocking guide for the extension frames.
Delivery day finally. Getting it out of the truck was the easy part. His studio was up on the second floor up a flight of rickety stairs. I totally forgot about getting it up the stairs until the day it was delivered. The whole thing weighs a couple hundred pounds and I wasn't in the mood to kill myself or do any tricky rigging job.
Whenever I have to go into the field on an installation or setup I always have my portable tool kit. We took the easel apart into some manageable chunks that Bill and me could schlep up to the second floor.
I think Bill is thinking what the heck have I asked for. How am I ever going to get this thing back out of here.
A few final adjustments and were almost ready for a test drive.The turnbuckle with the special knob is to adjust the vertical angle of the work surface. It has the ability to adjust both positive and negative angles. Something I learned was that artist sometimes want a negative angle depending on ambient light in the room or shadows cast on the work surface. I never would have caught that without Bills input into the design process.
In this shot you can see his old wood easel on the left.The new one is steel, stainless steel, Delrin, and aluminum. Why use one material when you can use them all.
A fun project with a good outcome. Bill was very happy and continues to use the easel at present. I made one repair a couple of years ago when the cable jumped out of the centering block I mentioned earlier. I added a cover plate and the easel seems to be holding up nicely.

Additional shots showing some of the other design features. The top picture shows the carriage lock mechanism. This has a right hand left hand screw assembly that clamps the frame to the  guide rail. The hinges are simple flexures made from spring stainless sheet. Another thing I learned about oil painters is they scrape the canvas pretty aggressively. Without a brake or lock of some sort the force from the scraping would have moved the thing up and down.For this same reason the casters on the easel lock both the rolling and the swivel action. This provides the most stable setup you can have with four swivel casters.

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