Enlarger Easel

Alan9940

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I had something like that in my very early years of printing and I didn't like it; no precision to the blade movement. I quickly moved on to this: https://www.ebay.com/i/302770816157?chn=ps and I've used it for nearly 40 years. There were even better easels made by, for example, Salthill, but they were way beyond my budget.
 

Ian-Barber

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Thanks Alan.
At this very very early darkroom stage I am at, I am on a tight budget but on the other hand I do want something which will help rather than hinder me
 

alexmuir

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The one you linked to in the first post looks ok. It’s similar to the LPL models, and they are perfectly usable. It’s one of these areas where you get what you pay for, but the best models can be very expensive, even secondhand. If it is new, or has seen little use, it should work properly. 4-blade models are good for square images, but it should be possible to make square prints with this one.
Alex


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Graham Patterson

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This design has two issues. One, the arms do not always meet at 90 degrees - there can be some cumulative slip in both. My solution was to put a set square in the junction and tape them together at the size I wanted.

The other issue is the border mask in the fixed corner. That ought to slide parallel to the mask. If it does not, you wind up squaring the border when the print is dry.

Now, a 4 blade unit like a Saunders is nice, but I did well with an 8x10 (and later an 11x14) LPL for years.
 

David M

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Getting an easel that's one size bigger than your current needs will save money when your ambitions grow. And I hope they will...
If you will be printing different sizes, it's worth making some blank sheets of (ordinary) paper with the different sizes and margins marked, to give easy repeatability.
As Graham says, you might need to check for squareness from time to time. That's not uncommon, even with expensive models.
 

Alan Clark

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Ian, I have, and use, one of these. Same size. Useful for 9.5 x 12 inch paper; and smaller sizes of course. Works fine, especially with a simple DIY modification which I can describe if you get one.
What you can't see from the photo is that the top and left side margins are adjustable for width, from about 15mm down to nothing. Useful if you like to get the top and side margins the same...

Alan
 

Ian-Barber

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Ian, I have, and use, one of these. Same size. Useful for 9.5 x 12 inch paper; and smaller sizes of course. Works fine, especially with a simple DIY modification which I can describe if you get one.
What you can't see from the photo is that the top and left side margins are adjustable for width, from about 15mm down to nothing. Useful if you like to get the top and side margins the same...

Alan
Thanks Alan, I have made an offer
 

Alan Clark

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Ian, it will be easier for you to understand when you have the easel in front of you. Will explain then, if you don't mind.

Alan
 

Ian-Barber

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Ian, I have, and use, one of these. Same size. Useful for 9.5 x 12 inch paper; and smaller sizes of course. Works fine, especially with a simple DIY modification which I can describe if you get one.
What you can't see from the photo is that the top and left side margins are adjustable for width, from about 15mm down to nothing. Useful if you like to get the top and side margins the same...

Alan
This has just arrived. Is this the one you were talking about a simple modification @Alan Clark

s-l1600-1.jpg
 

Alan Clark

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Ian, yes it looks the same as mine.
If you practice inserting paper in it with the light on you will get it right every time. But in the dark it is easy to misplace it at a slight angle because the rows of metal stops (at top left) are quite short. And sooner or later you won't lift the frame high enough and the paper will stop against the blades which it is supposed to go under, so you will end up with an almost non-existent top border. And you won't notice these mistakes when you close the easel because the bottom and right edge of the paper are hidden by the blades. They only become apparent when the image comes up in the developing tray. The odd thing is that these mistakes never occur on trial prints. They only happen when you are doing the "final masterpiece".
Fortunately there is a simple DIY solution to these problems.
1. With the lights on put a spare sheet of paper in the easel.
2. Draw round its four edges with a thin black permanent marker. Extend the bottom line to the right, and extend the right hand line downwards. This makes a sort of cross at the bottom right corner, and if the paper has been inserted correctly, it will be seen -in the light of the safe-light, to be in the correct place.
3. As an extra precaution cut two small squares of mount card and glue them as extra stops onto the base of the easel. Put one near the bottom left, and the other along the top near the right side. Use your black lines to locate them accurately. These will ensure that the paper goes in square every time.

There remains the problem of printing "a masterpiece". Can't help you there, I'm afraid!

Alan
 

Ian-Barber

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Thanks Alan, I have now done as you have suggested. I have noticed that the blades do appear to have some slight play in them so I I have been taping them together. Also, not really a big issue but ive noticed the vertical and horizontal ruler is about 1/8th of an inch out compared to my steel ruler measurement when setting a print size.
 

David M

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The scales never seem to be accurate except on the most ridiculously expensive easels. The easy solution is to mark a piece of card as a template, with the margins and sizes of your most common prints and adjust the easel to fit that. I suppose that different colours for different sizes would be nice, if you want to be fancy.
 

Alan Clark

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The scales never seem to be accurate except on the most ridiculously expensive easels. The easy solution is to mark a piece of card as a template, with the margins and sizes of your most common prints and adjust the easel to fit that. I suppose that different colours for different sizes would be nice, if you want to be fancy.
David, I just mark pairs of lines on the baseboard of the easel, measuring across and down from the from left side and the top of the rigid frame. Pencil works fine as you only use these lines in the light, to accurately position the moveable blades.

Alan
 

David M

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Yes, of course. I was thinking that sometimes we want to adjust the borders, too. Having all four edges marked makes it easier to adjust those tricky little back-stops.
 
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