7′ Easel: DIY

Before woodworking, lets get out in the yard and base a sculpture! Every winter has seen a daft lazy solution to 80mph North winds that amplify as they squeeze between the house and shop, then zoom across the back yard and topple the sculpture; this year was no different and the sculpture laid on the ground for a few weeks. No need to stand it up again if I wasn’t going to do it right this time. I had all the bits and parts around to do it, so I measured and drilled holes though the steel baseplate, hooked up the welder and zapped bolts through a steel plate, then  made a rebar cage that drops from the steel plate, connected two 12″ sonotube scraps from the trout install, dug a 24″ deep hole, seated the sonotubes, suspended & leveled the steel cage in the tube, mixed up a few hundred pounds of cement and shoveled it into the tubes/around the steel, let it cure for 24 hours, then mounted the sculpture with some help from Elizabeth. Now it will stay put.


“Chicks On Wheels” is made of old farming machinery from the ranch and three bronze quail chicks.


The bottom chick stands on a small bronze and stainless steel unicycle-ish form, this is mounted to a bearing, which is in turn mounted to an industrial spring. It is nearly a weather vane…


Behind the bottom chick are a group of feather-like forms that I forged from heavy copper wire. A few seasons of falling over has demented them from the fan shape originally intended to act as a tail and point the group into the wind. So there is still room for improvement- also I’m supposed to create an aspect that uses solar cells and lights that connects to the arm below the spring. Now that it won’t fall over, maybe I’ll futz around with it again.


The basic form of the easel is put together after a few days of knocking around. It is 7 feet tall and about 14 inches wide, with a four foot length at the base. It is collapsible, or rather, flattenable; the base can lift along the adjustable back support till it all flattens out- which is great for storage or moving it.


I found a nice little tutorial vid on youtube by Michael Schmitt, if you want to make one for yourself. Of course I had to complicate mine with hours and hours of wood prep (sanding), as mine is formed from mixed hardwood remnants. All the boards were sawmill rough on one side, and table-saw rough on the other. The long runs taper quite a bit as well, as they are the rough remains of cutting boards to true.


The angle is adjustable- tilting past 90 degrees front or back- via a sliding beam.


The wooden pegs on each side are the modular footings for the movable platform (in next picture).


This is the modular platform that paintings will stand on. It hooks over the dowel pins, and can be moved up or down along the pins. I have it glued up and clamped, and tomorrow I will hide a few screws seated at an angle from the bottom.


Watco brand Golden Oak finish seals the deal.


If I had a wood shop, I would build this out with jointery. Making it without screws, using only jointery and dowels would be a nice way to trick it out, or a great intro woodshop assignment for art majors (what artist wouldn’t want one?). Enough geeking out on tech, the focus needs to get back on what an easel is for: paintings.

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