Easels 16x20

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I am interested in purchasing an easel. Any comments on Saunders 2 blade, Jobo 2 blade, or Delta Magnetic. Easels seem to be very expensive considering what there made of, however not using one for the last month has been a royal pain. The magnetic ones appear goog and the price is reasonable, anyone have any expirience with them?


-- David Sacco (dcscc@mindspring.com), October 30, 2001


Yes, printing easels are expensive, and looking at one, it's hard to understand why they cost what they do. Nonetheless, printing with a fine easel is a joy, and printing with a poor one is extremely frustrating.

4-blade easels are far more flexible than 2-blade models, albiet, far more expensive, too. However, if you intend to use your easel over time for serious printing (as opposed to making prints for a class, at which point your printing needs will end in a few months), I strongly recommend you save your money and buy a Saunders 4-blade easel. I assure you, you will never regret it. Check ebay. Great deals on darkroom equipment abound now with many people leaving the darkroom in favor of digital reproduction.

-- Ted Kaufman (writercrmp@aol.com), October 31, 2001.

Just like spending alot on a lens, spend money on a good easel. Once you get up to speed, you will see that it is money well spent. There is nothing more frusturating than having a perfect print and having lopsided borders... Cheers

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), October 31, 2001.

I have Delta magnetic 20x24- very inconvenient, although cheap. Aside from inconvenience, it's not flat. I also have Beseler 4 bladed 16x20. Convenient, but still not flat. I am thinking about replacing the with one Saunders 4-bladed.

-- Boris Krivoruk (boris.krivoruk@kp.org), October 31, 2001.


A professional printer that I know has been using and swears by the Saunders 4 blade easel. I've been using an old no-name easel and it truly is frustating at times. Recently, I bit the bullet and purchased a 16x20 Saunders V-track and only regret that I didn't do it sooner. If you plan on printing seriously, invest in a good easel.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), October 31, 2001.


I put off buying a good easel for years, making do with a less- than-satisfactory but cheaper alternative. However, when I bought my latest enlarger I knew that I could not print to the fullest capacity of the enlarger (20x24) without having an easel that worked well and kept the paper flat. I did what Ted suggested above, and I bought a slightly used Saunders 4-blade easel on eBay. It was still expensive, but not as much as a new one. It has been well worth the money. I had always wondered why I should spend the money for a 20x24 easel when I would rarely print that size, but I'm glad I didn't buy a 16x20 and always regret not spending the extra money all at once.

-- Don Welch (donwelch@hotmail.com), October 31, 2001.

One thing to look out for in regards to used 4-bladed easels, like a Saunders, is that if the owner was careless & moved the blades while they were down, alot of times they'll get bent out of alignment...you need to adjust the easel with it lifted up. There are alot of beat up saunders easels out there that look like good deals, but they make lopsided prints. Another 4-bladed easel-- that's out of production now-- is a kostiner easel. In some ways, those are similar to some of the high-end masking easels you can get now. The one I have is a 16x20 model, that's square based with multiple slots for the paper...so if you want a vertical print, you don't have to move the easel to the side like a Saunders. I use those too, so it's no big deal really, just a small, bonus feature. The Kostiners also had different widths of masking blades, and accordion type masks for making reverse borders as well. Something like a Beard easel (?) would be close to them now. As far as 2-blade ones go, you probably can't go wrong with a Saunders product. An oldie to look out for would be a Leitz 2 blade easel, if you could find one in decent shape...these are a joy to use as well. Lastly, those single size Saunders easels are good for quickie prints, and alot better built than a speed-ez-el. The only thing that I can add is to remember the actual working space on the baseboard of your enlarger...alot of times you'll need more than opne easel for a good range of print sizes, from small to large, because you might not be able to physically get the easel in position. This is usually only a problem with smaller sizes & big easels though and depends alot on enlarger design/construction.

-- DK Thompson (kthompson@moh.dcr.state.nc.us), October 31, 2001.

I use a Dunco Professional 90/4 easel. This is a tank and saves me time and money and frustration because it doenst slip out of place or bleed on the edges, etc... It cost a bomb but was worth it. Only draw back is that it has measurements in metric. If I want to use english sizes I use a ruler and make the outline on a the piece of paper that I use to check the focus.

-- Russell Brooks (russell@ebrooks.org), October 31, 2001.

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