Anyone know where I can find this?

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 07-09-2013 02:25 AM 1176 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2458 days

07-09-2013 02:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am finally finishing up some projects and will be getting back to my artwork after way too long away. My easel is a bit worse for the wear and I’d like to build a new one exactly the same, HOWEVER, there is one part I can not find anywhere. Hoping someone here can help.

I’m looking for a metal ratchet strip like this

See how the ratchet strip is in the center? If I can’t find the metal ratchet I could probably fabricate one of wood kinda like this

and then laminate the 2 sides onto it. Would love to find the metal, but if I do it from wood I could live with that. The wood would have to be able to take some wear as a spring-loaded brass pin slides up it. The “steps” keep your canvas from crashing down. If you did this in wood, what kind of wood would you use? I have hard maple, oak and walnut pretty well available.

Any leads on the metal strip would be awesome though. Saves a ton of time :)

7 replies so far

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2220 days

#1 posted 07-09-2013 07:30 AM

It appears to be stamped out of thin sheet stock, probably a brass plated steel, set into a dado in the wood.

A contrasting wood piece would be nice.

I would not find it difficult to make that out of brass sheet and it would look nicer than the plated steel. It may have to be several short sections from the ~6” pure brass stuff you can buy at any hardware store. If I spent more I could get one long piece and have leftover for future projects. I may make a mandrel by clamping piece of hardwood at an angle in a vise then bend the brass strip repeatedly over the mandrel and back against itself in another vise to create the risers. If I had to peen I would try peening with a plastic mallet not ballpeen hammer or use a block of wood with a matching notch cut in it to protect the brass finish. You may be able to do the whole thing with a wooden vise doing bends. I would layout the bend locations with scribe marks on the back side to get a really consistent result because just a little variation will be noticeable.

The hardware stores also have little brass tacks you can use to tack the brass strips into the dado.

Brass works much like wood except it’s bendable. For a really professional edge find somebody with sheet metal cutter – perhaps the hardware store – to rough cut the strips.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2468 days

#2 posted 07-09-2013 11:27 AM

I would drill holes for the pin to index into. Not exactly as you want it, but ….

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4177 posts in 2406 days

#3 posted 07-09-2013 12:07 PM

Poplar is one of the most wear resistant woods. It will, in drawer applications, wear out a piece of oak without showing much wear itself. It was used a lot as a secondary drawer wood for that reason.
I think a nice wooden ratchet strip would look nice.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL Now there's a face that would stop a clock! And seriously mess with small watches.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4177 posts in 2406 days

#4 posted 07-09-2013 12:20 PM

This place has a lot of good ideas…

Can you go to the mfr of the current easel and get replacement parts? Since you’re building a new easel, salvage the metal ratchet from the old one.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL Now there's a face that would stop a clock! And seriously mess with small watches.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2458 days

#5 posted 07-09-2013 12:36 PM

It’s not uncommon… in fact I do it a lot… to raise and lower a canvas several times so that the area you’re working on is at the most convenient height. Right now I have to actuate the lock to lower it, but I can just lift to raise it and it ratchets. I thought about the holes, but I’d lose some of that function.

HOWEVER…. what if I replaced the ratchet with a T-track and put a palm-sized knob on the taboret (the “bottom shelf” that the canvas sits on) to snug it. Then set up a simple counterweight system to make the whole “canvas elevator” section feel lighter. Properly balanced, raising and lowering would be a one hand operation (the other hand has a brush and pallet in it normally) by unlocking the knob and using the knob itself like a handle to raise and lower.

Now that I think about it…. if it’s no longer ratcheting, I could go with dhazelton’s suggestion and just index the pin in holes and use the counterweight system with that. It would give you the “what if the rope breaks?” safety of not having the whole elevator section go crashing down because you forgot to tighten the t-track knob.

Guess there’s more than one way to skin this cat. I kinda like the wood ratchet idea too. The ratchet in my current easel is wood and it’s well over 30 years old…. oh well. Maybe I should just use what I have and see what I want to change. :)

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3038 days

#6 posted 07-09-2013 01:05 PM

It looks like something that you might find hidden somewhere in the catalogs of Hefele.

if link doesn’t work try pasting this:

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2458 days

#7 posted 07-10-2013 06:26 PM

Just ordered the plans to build this:

Probably going to be pine or whatever I can get locally for not-a-lot-of-money. Oak would be nice, or maple, but it’s a fixture for holding a canvas and I know I’m going to get paint on it so I’m not going to get crazy. Although I do have some walnut left over from the kitchen remodel :) Only enough for accents, but hey…. you only live once, right?

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