Artist Easel - Art Nouveau & Charles Rohlfs Inspired

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Project by Woodbridge posted 06-26-2013 12:52 AM 7424 views 20 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Chair making has been postponed for a few weeks. My son and his long-time girlfriend are artists building their portfolios of work. When my son was in university, l built him a basic easel from plans I found somewhere in the internet. He mentioned that his girlfriend was not happy with the easel she had and since her birthday was coming up asked if I would build one for her: “a bit fancier than the one I built for him”. So here it is.

I wanted it to have a bit of an art nouveau feel. The curves are inspired by various shapes and curves from some of Charles Rohlfs furniture. The bottom is inspired from a Rohlfs andiron design. Also, since I plan to build Rohlfs swivel desk as part of my Rohlfs collection I included the flame finial motif which tops his swivel desk as a way to get some practice carving this shape.

The curved bottom has a couple cross grain weak spots. I drilled and inserted dowels perpendicular to the grain to provide additional strength.

The easel is 6 feet 6 inches high and 24 inches wide at the bottom. I can accommodate a canvas up to 57 inches high. The various parts are joined together with dowels and screws. The two knobs are purchased.

The easel is made from oak with a couple coats of shellac finish.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

20 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8474 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 06-26-2013 01:03 AM

Now you have to build a better one for him? LOL! Function, form and elegance!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View CC's profile


17 posts in 1761 days

#2 posted 06-26-2013 01:17 AM

Fantastic. Great design. She’s going to love it. It’ll be a tears moment.

-- CC, Richmond Hill, Ontario

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14171 posts in 3912 days

#3 posted 06-26-2013 02:06 AM

this is cool

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View a1Jim's profile


117028 posts in 3506 days

#4 posted 06-26-2013 02:23 AM

Unique design and super work.

-- wood crafting & classes

View MichaelA's profile


778 posts in 2817 days

#5 posted 06-26-2013 03:14 AM

Now that is a elegant easle Peter. wonderful lines and finish!!!!

-- The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. "Helen Keller"

View Mathew Nedeljko's profile

Mathew Nedeljko

715 posts in 3759 days

#6 posted 06-26-2013 04:03 AM

Very nice work Peter, looks very clean and professional. I’m sure she will love it.

-- Aim high. Ride easy. Trust God. Neale Donald Walsch

View George Coles's profile

George Coles

183 posts in 2374 days

#7 posted 06-26-2013 07:11 AM

Great piece. She will probably leave your son and want to marry you now. (-:

-- George Coles,

View deon's profile


2522 posts in 2955 days

#8 posted 06-26-2013 07:54 AM

Elegant piece, great work!

-- Dreaming patterns

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1798 days

#9 posted 06-26-2013 10:32 AM

Agree with all the above. Beautiful easel.

I did wonder about some of the weak points in the grain. It was very clever to use dowels for additional strength. I can see how that could open up many new design possibilities.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 1753 days

#10 posted 06-26-2013 10:40 AM

Beautiful Artists Easel and beautiful work…well done.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View YoungWilly's profile


101 posts in 1998 days

#11 posted 06-26-2013 11:40 AM

Beautiful easel! Great work, and such a nice gesture to boot! She’ll love it, and love you for it :)

-- -- Measure twice, cut once; why, did the wood grow?

View Woodbridge's profile


3534 posts in 2347 days

#12 posted 06-26-2013 01:25 PM

Thanks everyone for the comments.

Buckethead: I can absolutely confirm that the bottom leg would fail at the weak point where you have a very thin cross section due to the curved shape and cross grain. when my shop gets cluttered (most of the time) I have a tendency to drop things (onto the concrete floor). Well I had just finished drilling the holes, freshly glued and inserted the support dowels, then dropped the piece on the floor. !.. Sure enough it broke right where I thought it would. A quick re glue job was required. Once the glue set the dowels do provide the support needed. Four of them are inserted in the bottom leg where the curved shape results in a small area of cross grain. You can see two of them in photo five looking down from the top of the bottom leg.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View revwarguy's profile


130 posts in 1831 days

#13 posted 06-26-2013 04:31 PM

Very Cool! I’ve made some easels as well, but they were only functional. This is quite wonderful.

-- "72.6 per cent of all statistics are made up on the spot." - Steven Wright

View Woodbridge's profile


3534 posts in 2347 days

#14 posted 06-26-2013 06:45 PM

Revwarguy: thanks, your easel looks real nice, I like that you can adjust the slope and keep the painting near vertical if you want.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View Woodwrecker's profile


4128 posts in 3505 days

#15 posted 06-26-2013 11:20 PM

I would say that this is a little more than a “bit” fancier…lol
Nice work Peter.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

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