Easel question for 16x20 and 20x24 printers: To VACUUM EASEL or not?

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Would Like to move up in size to print some 16x20 and 20x24 size B&W prints from 4x5 portrait negatives (that I am finally nailing tack sharp thanks to advice received on this site :>)

Looking into Saunders, Cobra (vacuum), and Beseler 20x24 easels. My limited experience printing these sizes recalls me wanting for some way to insure paper was not curled or off the plane of focus on the baseboard.

Any printers out there with experienec with Cobra's vacuum easels? I am particularly interested in the following:

First, using a vacuum easel, is there any way to make prints WITH borders? I undestand that the natural print from one of these would be borderless, but as you know, many printers require the ability to make 1", 2", etc borders around their prints.

Second, is the vacuum power on say a 20x24 easel sufficiently strong to flatten even 20x24 size double weighted fibre based paper? (For the price of one~$500 incl. shipping- it should!!)

Third, what effect does running the vacuum have on possible vibrations within the apparatus? (thus unwittingly reducing print sharpness).

Finally, regarding the two non-vacuum traditional easels, Beseler and Saunders, which of those is considered the best? Sincerely Andre Noble

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@usa.net), November 03, 2000



I've made many COLOR enlargements up to 24X36 with an easel that was nothing more than a piece of plywood with a few small nails as guides.

The paper tends to be quite flat by itself, but as a further measure I spray the board lightly with artist's adhesive, which retains it's adhesive qualities for quite some time.

Try it, it works! And, it's cheap!

Barrie Smith, Missoula, Montana

-- Barrie E. Smith (barrie99@marsweb.com), November 03, 2000.

But color paper is all RC, so it's going to be flatter and easier to control than fiber-based paper.

I don't have a vacuum easel, but one way to avoid the concerns about vibration and noise from the compressor is to put it in another room and run a hose to the darkroom.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), November 03, 2000.

Can't remember exactly where, but I know I've seen plans over the years for homemade vacuum easels. Maybe a used Electrolux cannister vacuum and a little time in the workshop could give you a chance to try for yourself.

-- Steve Singleton (singleton1@bigfoot.com), November 03, 2000.

Barrie: Your answer regarding spray adhesives to hold larger size printing paper flat on the baseboard (as opposed to using suction) seems clever. I think I'll try it in the future, and go with a traditional easel. Thanks. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@usa.net), November 04, 2000.

What of the effects of the over spray, reactivity with chemicals not to mention the product on your hands, negatives etc.? I was wondering if maybe a static charge on a mylar sheet would work?? I read in some thread here where this was used to mount prints instead of using tape, sprays or dry mount.

-- Victor (victor@culturediversity.org), October 11, 2001.

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