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  #1  
Old 28th October 2019, 04:14 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Default Which easel to use for smaller prints?

I was in the darkroom again yesterday, and it reminded me once more, how I struggle on each occasion, to get matching straight borders around my smaller prints. My latest efforts have quite irregular borders and I'm not happy about sending them out and trimming them of the borders would make them too small to send.

I today returned to the darkroom to oversee what I have available to me, to work with Ilford's 6" x 4" RC paper.

I have two solid Beard easels, at 12" x 10" and 12" x 16", which are a bit cumbersome for such small prints.

I unwrapped a Paterson two armed easel, but the arms were easy to put at an angle, so not giving straight margins.

I tried an Speed - Ez - El easel yesterday, but the paper often failed to line up with the two bumps, which are supposed to make the paper true.

I've looked on ebay at a selection of easels for sale, and I am wondering on getting a 10" x 8" from there, or maybe splash out on a new one?

I am also wondering whether to make a custom one, out of black card, of which I have used before to make film holders for my enlarger. As I would only use it occasionally, I'm beginning to wonder if this is the best bet? It would definitely be cheaper than buying another easel, from where ever, only to find it, again unsuitable.

Please give me your thoughts and tell me what you all use for printing smaller prints.

Many thanks,

Terry S
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Old 28th October 2019, 04:21 PM
Anon01 Anon01 is offline
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Are you talking about a "masking frame" .......... easel ?, never heard them called that but you learn every day.

When I started off 40 years ago I had a Paterson one, knew nothing else, when I came back I bought a superb one, the quality and finish and especially the weight are superb, 100% straight borders and heavy(ish) no movement


Also try this

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ilford-Mu...YAAOSwJkNdWv2M



.
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Old 28th October 2019, 05:08 PM
alexmuir alexmuir is offline
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I find the same problem, Terry. I bought some old easels in smaller sizes that were ok. No particular makes to recommend, but heavy frames are better for FB papers. A home made easel might be your best option. RC paper, even in small sizes doesn’t need much persuasion to lie flat. A card frame may be all you need.
Alex


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Old 28th October 2019, 06:02 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is online now
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Terry, I had the same problem a few years ago when I needed to make a series of small prints, I got hold of one of the Paterson 10/8 fixed size frames for a song and made a masking frame to fit out of some thin card, stuck down, and all I needed to do was to slip the sheets of RC paper in, very easy
Richard
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Old 28th October 2019, 06:15 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Terry I think that the suggestions you have may be the best bet. Unfortunately it seems that Paterson never made a 6x4 fixed easel which is the ideal solution or if it ever did then I have never seen one advertised. A pity given that it sold a lot of the 5x7 easels which are very accurate.

The other possibility is buying a cheap 8x10 easel and then fix both blades at an exact right angle permanently such that it can only ever be a 6x4 mask for all time to come.

Mike
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Old 28th October 2019, 08:37 PM
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MartyNL MartyNL is offline
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This is where 4 blade easels really come into their own.
The big one is a Saunders and the small one is a Leitz.
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Old 29th October 2019, 12:52 PM
Terry S Terry S is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

I've done a good search, including secondhanddarkroom. They had a couple of really suitable ones listed yesterday, including a 7" x 5" adjustable one. Clicked on it to find it not in stock!

Today I've done another all round search, and finally bought a cheap, but well looked after, small easel. Hopefully this will do the business for me. If not, it's deffo going to be a homemade one out of black card as I won't be buying anymore...

As for buying new, well I looked at all of our sponsors as well, but all the easels that they stocked were all on the massive size and WOW!!! the price of them is way out of my budget, even if they were the right size.

Terry S
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Old 29th October 2019, 01:30 PM
Anon01 Anon01 is offline
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It is amazing just how expensive "new" gear is, I assume because it is rarely bought, with what is available on Ebay why pay more.

From a shop !!! USED M305 Durst colour £185, Ebay £50 no contest

Anyway why buy new, when taking time you get as new on ebay, my almost mint Gnome easel was £15, boxed, not a mark on it, of course I could have got a new one for £50+, no brainer



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Last edited by Anon01; 29th October 2019 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 29th October 2019, 03:45 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Making a mask out of black card sounds like a cheap and simple solution but my concern would be how cut the mask accurately and dead straight to get the borders sharp and small.

I may be seeing a bigger problem than exists here but I am presuming that the black card's open section is only about 1/8th less than the 6x4 postcard this a mask with very small black sides which in card are easily damaged. One solution is a cut-out about the same 1/8th less than 6x4 postcard all round but with much bigger borders. This makes it stronger but how then do you ensure that the postcard is positioned so that the borders are even all round?

As I say there may be an easy way round this that I just haven't thought of

Mike
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  #10  
Old 29th October 2019, 04:21 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Masking frame

I have had an LPL 10x8 frame for more years than I care to admit and there is nowt wrong with them for small prints. They are stable and accurate but the internal margins are none adjustable.

Expect to pay about £15 for an unmarked one
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