By Chad Eichler from Little Rock, Arkansas
Added on December 22, 2010
This year I decided on building a large H-Frame painting easel as a surprise gift for my mom for Christmas. She is a wonderful artist who conducts art classes both at her home studio as well as on Mission trips to Hondurus. Lately she?s been working with large canvas paintings and I felt she needed something that would be much sturdier to work on than her existing easel collection. Plus it would give me a good excuse to tryout a handful of the techniques I’ve learned from the Wood Whisperer website. The main feature of the easel will include a sliding frame so she can move the canvas and taboret table up and down easily while it’s being supported by a counterweight system in the back.
After getting introduced to SketchUp from your videos, I downloaded it and incorporated an easel plan I found on the internet into a 3D model that I could modify and use for initial measurements. After playing around with the material selection in SketchUp and knowing I wanted to try to create some plugs to serve as screw-head covers, I decided on using Walnut for the main body and frame while dressing it up some with birdseye maple and gaboon ebony for the plugs and trim. I thought the ebony would help complement the black star adjustment knobs I was getting from Rockler. At least it looked good to me in SketchUp.
I actually started jointing and planing the wood this summer and soon realized this project was going to take a lot longer than originally thought. Six months later and about an 80 degree drop in temperature, I’ve finally put my last coat of finish on and took some initial photos of the easel last night. What I initially intended to serve as a workhorse easel for my mom?s everyday use, turned out to almost be a work of art itself. I really enjoyed the process of making the ebony plugs and think they turned out better than I originally thought. I can’t wait to try it again on a more G&G styled furniture piece.
We will be visiting my parents for Christmas and I can’t tell you how excited I am to wheel it out for my mom on Christmas morning. I’ve been able to keep it a secret from everyone except my wife whom I?d like to thank for letting me take over her parking spot during the build. Her projects are next on my list.
I followed the process outlined in the Simple Varnish DVD and chose to finish the easel with 3 full coats of Arm-R-Seal gloss, 1 full coat of Arm-R-Seal Satin, and one final coat of Satin thinned down with Naptha. Before finishing the birdseye maple, I first applied some shellac with a few drops of Brown Mahogany TransTint in an attempt to pop the grain a bit prior to applying the Arm-R-Seal.