Heartland Artists Easel

!cid_AF90A996-EA94-4155-8D34-2503195D929C@PK5001ZYou never know what kind of call you will get around here.  Diane Osborn called around the first of August and asked if we could build a 12′ tall artist easel for Heartland Artists to use  for sign displays during the Blueberry Festival.  That’s not exactly something we get asked every day…  We did a little research to try and determine what standard dimensions for an artist easel are.  It didn’t take too long to figure out that there aren’t really any standards.  We eventually found one that we liked and we went about modifying it to increase dimensions and make it collapsable.

We started with three 12′ 2 x 4’s for legs, joined at the top with bolts and nuts.  The front legs are the outer legs and these were beveled to allow them to come in against the back leg when  spread.  A fourth 12′ 2 x 4 was cut in half for two 6′ lengths.  One of those pieces was ripped in half again.  One of the ripped pieces was joined to the full piece in an “L” shape to create the tray to hold the display.  This would be where the canvas would sit on a normal easel.

We loosely bolted the “L” piece to one front leg.  At the other front leg, we placed the bolt through and inch lower, leaving it stick out slightly longer.  We then notched the “L” to rest on this bolt and lock it in place.  This allowed the whole thing to fold up as one linear stack when not in use and without disassembling the parts.  When completed, we had things set up so that it could be assembled without tools and could stand with the nuts and bolts just finger tight.  We considered adding chains from the front legs to the back leg to set the open distance, but decided this would limit the flexibility of use and would impede how it folded up.

Easel in use at the 2014 Blueberry Festival

Easel in use at the 2014 Blueberry Festival

The final touch was to drill holes in the bottoms of the legs for anchoring.  These were drilled horizontally through the legs to allow attachment to stakes if the placement was on earth or other mechanical fasteners if the placement was on pavement.  At 12′ high with the potential for more than 32 square feet of signage, we were concerned that it would become a big sail and blow over in the wind.  (Live & Learn.  This was a problem with the film reel we made several years ago and that was a lot heavier and less top heavy!)

Thanks to Bob Cooper and Mugurel Stefan here at Easterday Construction for finding the parts from stock and assembling the structure.  Shelley Heiden with Heartland Artists sent us the pictures which are greatly appreciated.  Best wishes to Heartland Artists for many years of use.

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