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smithdoor
23-Jan-2014, 13:44
Enlarging Easel what is the best one to use
Beseler Universal 4-Blade and 2-Blade types or the Ganz Speed EZ-EL
Or other types not list here.

Dave

Pawlowski6132
23-Jan-2014, 13:45
I don't like the bladed easels and don't understand why people use them. I use the fixed, one size easels.

Michael Graves
23-Jan-2014, 14:00
Enlarging Easel what is the best one to use
Beseler Universal 4-Blade and 2-Blade types or the Ganz Speed EZ-EL

Dave

I had a Beseler for a while, but was not fond of it. The blades were not truly square and it was very hard to adjust them smoothly. And I bought it new!! I bought two Saunders easels, one 14x17 four blade and one 16x20 four blade and have been very happy. The 14x17 is typically listed as an 11x14 because with the blades in place, that is the largest print size to be made. But you can take the blades out and use the easel as a single-size 14x17 easel.

Heroique
23-Jan-2014, 14:06
Whichever bladed easel you choose, don’t scrimp! You might spend into the hundreds of dollars, but investing in a superior darkroom easel like investing in a superior tripod – the results convince you not to feel so bad about spending a lot.

Saunders, for example, made no better 4-bladed easels than their VT2000 (16x20 easel – w/ four guide slots for 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 paper) and VT1400 (11x14 easel – w/ three guide slots for 5x7, 8x10 and 11x14 paper).

I don't think they're made anymore, so you may have to search the used market, but they appear often enough.

I have the VT1400 – it’s the first thing I’d try to save in a house fire. Forget the negatives. Forget the cameras & lenses. Forget the pets. Come to think of it, even if you tossed it out the top-floor window, you might damage the sidewalk – but not this tank-tough, high-precision easel.

-----
BTW, one should not confuse the Saunders high-end “VT” models with their “Slimtrack” or “Universal” models – which are capable 4-bladed easels too, even if not built to the same standards.

Jon Shiu
23-Jan-2014, 14:18
I like the Saunders Slimtrack 11x14 and find it excellent to use. It is more compact easy to move around without running into the column. However the masking blades are not as wide. Excellent quality.

Jon

Regular Rod
23-Jan-2014, 15:04
Beard are pretty good.

RR

Randy Moe
23-Jan-2014, 15:21
I like peed easels for sizes up to 8x10, after that the Saunders VT's are great.

I have a 16x120 speed easel, but never use it.

The speed easels are easily bent, but you bend them right back.

I guess I slow way down after 8x10 paper.

Randy Moe
23-Jan-2014, 15:26
In a house fire, don't save anything but the people.

I just lost 2 old friends in a fire, they wasted time calling in the fire and never got out alive of a small house. Smoke got them. Funeral Tuesday.



Whichever bladed easel you choose, don’t scrimp! You might spend into the hundreds of dollars, but investing in a superior darkroom easel like investing in a superior tripod – the results convince you not to feel so bad about spending a lot.

Saunders, for example, made no better 4-bladed easels than their VT2000 (16x20 easel – w/ four guide slots for 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 paper) and VT1400 (11x14 easel – w/ three guide slots for 5x7, 8x10 and 11x14 paper).

I don't think they're made anymore, so you may have to search the used market, but they appear often enough.

I have the VT1400 – it’s the first thing I’d try to save in a house fire. Forget the negatives. Forget the cameras & lenses. Forget the pets. Come to think of it, even if you tossed it out the top-floor window, you might damage the sidewalk – but not this tank-tough, high-precision easel.

-----
BTW, one should not confuse the Saunders high-end “VT” models with their “Slimtrack” or “Universal” models – which are capable 4-bladed easels too, even if not built to the same standards.

jeroldharter
23-Jan-2014, 16:44
I am in the process of selling a bunch of gear here, so consider me biased. These are my thoughts.


2 blade easels are awful. I used to have one. You can't center an image on the paper. The borders on the 2 fixed sides are non-adjustable and two narrow for thick or curled paper. I hated those.
The Saunders universal easels (i.e. their cheaper ones) are OK but they are too light and easy to bump out of place which is a nuisance if you are doing a run of several identical prints.
Kostiner easels are crap. I had one and threw it away rather than try to sell it.
Borderless easels are OK for RC paper but I would not want one for fiber.
Fixed size easels are nice and simple. The down side is that they are still too light for my taste. Also, the border around the edge is narrow so the rectangular bar that sits atop the paper is a bit light and will sometimes not sufficiently flatten fiber paper. Of course, there are workarounds.
The Saunders 4-blade easels are excellent, either the V-track or the regular professional models with geared knobs. They are much heavier, you can center prints, work well with fiber. The blades however sometimes don't hold down curled fiber paper sufficiently. A simple fix is to wrap 4 neodymium magnets (smaller than the size of a quarter or they are too strong) individually in some gaffer tape and sit one on each blade once the paper is inserted. That puts some pressure on the blades to flatten the paper and the gaffer tape assists in pulling off the magnets.



FYI, I have listed for sale a Saunders 4 blades easel (11x14 and 16x20). I also have a complete set of fixed size easels, I believe from 5x7 to 16x20 that I have not put up for sale but will be.

Rafal Lukawiecki
23-Jan-2014, 17:00
Dunco are OK. Well designed.

Drew Wiley
23-Jan-2014, 17:15
I have a strong preference for the Saunders pro easels. Expensive, even used, but durable and easy to adjust. The masking blade tend to stay square. Were made up to 20x24. Anything bigger I make myself.

John Kasaian
23-Jan-2014, 18:23
Another vote for Saunders pros and the Leitz as well. I have both. I used to have an array of Ganz but I found a double weight paper that refused to slide in---Slavich or Emaks, IIRC (it's really discouraging when you're read to expose the paper and you end up having to mess around with the easel instead. Grrrr!) The Saunders I got used from a lab that went digital and the Leitz came off eBay. They're out there--you just have to hunt for 'em.

Randy Moe
23-Jan-2014, 18:40
I do want to find the correct and original easels for my Leitz V35 and Leitz Valloy slotted baseboard. But those are very low priority.


Another vote for Saunders pros and the Leitz as well. I have both. I used to have an array of Ganz but I found a double weight paper that refused to slide in---Slavich or Emaks, IIRC (it's really discouraging when you're read to expose the paper and you end up having to mess around with the easel instead. Grrrr!) The Saunders I got used from a lab that went digital and the Leitz came off eBay. They're out there--you just have to hunt for 'em.

Robert Bowring
24-Jan-2014, 07:31
Another vote for the Saunders 4 blade easel. I used an 11x14 for years and it has never let me down.

Greg Davis
24-Jan-2014, 08:11
I, too, have the Saunders Universal Pro 4 blade easels. I have both the 11x14 and 20x24 models. Heavy, durable, and well made. They handle years of pro use.

jeroldharter
24-Jan-2014, 13:07
I noticed a Salthill easel for sale on this forum also. I have never used (or seen) one but they are supposed to be excellent.

Arne Croell
25-Jan-2014, 02:01
The "best"? Of the bladed easels still being made, a good candidate would be the Easels made by Kienzle: http://www.kienzle-phototechnik.de/Vergrosserungsrahmen/vergrosserungsrahmen.html
(they also have an English web site, just click on the UK flag, but it has less information and fewer pictures than the German page)

Darin Boville
25-Jan-2014, 18:29
In a house fire, don't save anything but the people.
I just lost 2 old friends in a fire, they wasted time calling in the fire and never got out alive of a small house. Smoke got them. Funeral Tuesday.

Sorry to hear about the tragedy. But your post reminded me to review with the kids what to do in case of fire (including, "Don't call from the house")--haven't talked about fire procedures in years, so thanks.

--Darin

Randy Moe
25-Jan-2014, 19:07
Good. I am glad to hear that, we so often forget we do need to train for emergencies, they do happen!

I have been finding and editing images of the deceased. I made several medium size prints for the funeral. The best quality, focus, framing was a 40 year old color Polaroid.

Gives me something to do.


Sorry to hear about the tragedy. But your post reminded me to review with the kids what to do in case of fire (including, "Don't call from the house")--haven't talked about fire procedures in years, so thanks.

--Darin

Heroique
25-Jan-2014, 23:12
This thread breaks the forum record for the quickest, most senseless, and most tragic thread drift.

Randy Moe
25-Jan-2014, 23:45
You started the drift, with your rescue thoughts, "I have the VT1400 – it’s the first thing I’d try to save in a house fire."

Sorry if I have fire on my mind.


This thread breaks the forum record for the quickest, most senseless, and most tragic thread drift.

Heroique
26-Jan-2014, 00:10
I think what you mean is that my figurative emphasis about easels motivated your irrelevant public expression of grief. I think you understand that the irrelevance doesn't take away from my sympathy for your tragic loss, nor does it change my opinion about the thread drift.

Randy Moe
26-Jan-2014, 00:15
Good.


I think what you mean is that my figurative emphasis about easels motivated your irrelevant public expression of grief. I think you understand that the irrelevance doesn't take away from my sympathy for your tragic loss, nor does it change my opinion about the thread drift.

Darin Boville
26-Jan-2014, 01:41
I think what you mean is that my figurative emphasis about easels motivated your irrelevant public expression of grief. I think you understand that the irrelevance doesn't take away from my sympathy for your tragic loss, nor does it change my opinion about the thread drift.

Moderators will not agree, but I've always thought that "threads" were really little conversations, rather than single-topic mini-seminars seminars. The best conversations seem to drift from one interesting topic to the next, circling back, and drifting again.

--Darin

jeroldharter
26-Jan-2014, 09:33
I have never seen Dunco or Keinzle easels which I think are both more common in Europe. They rarely come up for sale here used but they draw a lot of positive comments.

ic-racer
26-Jan-2014, 09:46
Enlarging Easel what is the best one to use
Beseler Universal 4-Blade and 2-Blade types or the Ganz Speed EZ-EL
Or other types not list here.

Dave

4 blade is most versatile if you want just one easel. But who has just one? :)

Brian Ellis
26-Jan-2014, 12:49
Salt Hill, if you can find one and if by best you mean sturdy, precise, solid, well-built, etc. But there are others that do just fine and that are a lot easier to find.

mike rosenlof
27-Jan-2014, 10:36
Saunders V-track for me. easy to adjust correctly, it just works. don't have to think about it.

Bob Salomon
28-Jan-2014, 03:27
The Kaiser.

alavergh
28-Jan-2014, 13:49
109385109386

This is what I use. I don't remember where I got it. Probably B&H a while ago. It's worked well for me so far. It's very similar to what I used in school so it's what I felt comfortable getting.

I can see why some people mentioned that the image might not always be square. You have to be careful with how you adjust the size, but I haven't had a problem. Just lift the blade section and THEN adjust.

It has spots for 5x7 paper all the way up to (I'll guess) 11x14, plus a weighted border so you can print a full 11x14, but not quite borderless.

Edit, actually, I think it's 14x17 max. That's probably why the model is "DX1417."

Darin Boville
28-Jan-2014, 15:46
Salt Hill, if you can find one and if by best you mean sturdy, precise, solid, well-built, etc. But there are others that do just fine and that are a lot easier to find.

There is one on the sale board now--the guy's been trying to sell it with no luck. Hard to find, I've never used one but I've heard they are built to last forever...

--Darin

Karl A
28-Jan-2014, 18:17
109385109386

Edit, actually, I think it's 14x17 max. That's probably why the model is "DX1417."

I use the same one, you can still buy it new. Yes, it can do 14x17 with a narrow border if you lift up the blades and use the fixed border. Or you can print smaller sizes up to 11x14 (minus an eighth of an inch) on 14x17 paper. It is a good solid easel for sure. I just wish there was a larger one available, I think that is the biggest model. 16x20 would be nice.

Stefaan VB
29-Jan-2014, 12:39
I use vacuum easels. I'm very happy with them. No more troubles with curling paper, adjustment is done with magnetic borders.

Drew Wiley
30-Jan-2014, 12:06
I have vac easels with Saunders pro masking blades built onto them. Big vac easels too, with precision blades, but I had to make all that kind of thing myself.
The Saunders system only went up to 20x24. My favorite vac easel for 30x40 work was cannibalized from a monstrous old process camera and is wonderfully built,
complete with retractable registration pins.

Roger Cole
31-Jan-2014, 15:29
Whichever bladed easel you choose, don’t scrimp! You might spend into the hundreds of dollars, but investing in a superior darkroom easel like investing in a superior tripod – the results convince you not to feel so bad about spending a lot.

Saunders, for example, made no better 4-bladed easels than their VT2000 (16x20 easel – w/ four guide slots for 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 paper) and VT1400 (11x14 easel – w/ three guide slots for 5x7, 8x10 and 11x14 paper).

I don't think they're made anymore, so you may have to search the used market, but they appear often enough.

I have the VT1400 – it’s the first thing I’d try to save in a house fire. Forget the negatives. Forget the cameras & lenses. Forget the pets. Come to think of it, even if you tossed it out the top-floor window, you might damage the sidewalk – but not this tank-tough, high-precision easel.

-----
BTW, one should not confuse the Saunders high-end “VT” models with their “Slimtrack” or “Universal” models – which are capable 4-bladed easels too, even if not built to the same standards.

I wouldn't go nearly so far as to say it's the first thing I'd save, but I too have a VT1400 and it's the best easel I've ever seen or used. I'd love to have a 16x20 version but when they do come up they are pricey. Well so are the 11x14s but the 16x20s more so.

Why use bladed easels? Non standard sized and/or shaped prints and crops are big reasons. You can crop with a paper cutter but not if you want borders.

ROL
31-Jan-2014, 16:21
I like peed easels for sizes up to 8x10, after that the Saunders VT's are great.

Who do you get to pee on them? Just what qualities does that confer? Is that extra? If good for 8x10, why not larger? Enquiring minds want to know.

Randy Moe
31-Jan-2014, 16:31
Speedy people.


Who do you get to pee on them? Just what qualities does that confer? Is that extra? If good for 8x10, why not larger? Enquiring minds want to know.

tgtaylor
31-Jan-2014, 16:34
Maybe the same people who pee on the Toyo holders pee on the easels.

Thomas

cjbecker
1-Feb-2014, 10:13
Speed easels for me. They solve the curly paper problem for me.

knjkrock
5-Feb-2014, 19:44
Anybody care to comment on 4 blade easels currently available new thru usual source of equipment such as Freestyle or B and H--LPL, Beseler, Kaiser?

Thanks
ken

Mark Barendt
5-Feb-2014, 19:51
I don't know about "best" but this is the one I use the most. The fancy ones are leaning against a wall serving as tripping hazards.

http://www.adorama.com/DKEB1620.html

Karl A
5-Feb-2014, 20:22
Anybody care to comment on 4 blade easels currently available new thru usual source of equipment such as Freestyle or B and H--LPL, Beseler, Kaiser?

Thanks
ken

See my earlier comment on the LPL 14x17 easel. It's available at the usual retailers. If you want bigger, then you have to look at other brands like Beseler (if you want new, that is).

PaulT
12-Feb-2014, 07:18
Saunders VT are the best IMO, tanks and adjusting the blades is smooth. I've used both Bessler and Saunders easels and the Saunders VT are far superior... As stated above the Bessler isn't smooth, also I've noticed the print
dimension is smaller with a 20x24 easel of each... I can easily print 17"x22" with the Saunders where the Bessler is around 16"x20" image size...

alavergh
2-Apr-2014, 22:55
I don't know about "best" but this is the one I use the most. The fancy ones are leaning against a wall serving as tripping hazards.

http://www.adorama.com/DKEB1620.html

Oh wow...I participated earlier in this discussion and I have a fairly decent easel. I came back because I just priced a similar 16x20 enlarger. I expected them to be more, but I didn't expect them to be just shy of 1-grand!

Has anybody else used this easel? I wouldn't necessarily need "borderless" as I would be mounting and matting the photograph.

cyrus
2-Apr-2014, 23:51
Photon Beard 4blade easels
Barring that, the Saunders V Track



But good luck trying to find them especially the Photons. You can try the UK Ebay for better luck if the seller ships intl.

Either way, I always use strips of refrigerator door seal magnets to press down the blades and I check to mke sure the corners are square with a piece of square laser cut acrylic, because "measure twice/expose once."

A bad, cheap, lightweight easel with saggy crooked blades that moves areound everytime you open it, can make life really miserable

David A. Goldfarb
3-Apr-2014, 00:21
I'm very happy with my Saunders VT1400.

I never owned a Saltzman easel, but these were legendary, if an easel can be legendary.

Perhaps the best are vacuum easels.

jose angel
3-Apr-2014, 01:16
I don't like the bladed easels and don't understand why people use them. I use the fixed, one size easels.


Anybody care to comment on 4 blade easels currently available new thru usual source of equipment such as Freestyle or B and H--LPL, Beseler, Kaiser?
Personally, I think there are easels that work better with certain enlarger types (and not with others), and better for certain printing sizes (and not for others). Beware that not necessarily the most expensive ones have to be the most practical or better to use ones.

About four bladed, e.g., I also find the Saunders VT series to be high quality ones (I currently use a VT2000 amongst others), but they are not perfect. They are made in soft steel, so they easily bent the base. I`ve had to align mine (bought new). If you want a perfectly flat base, my experience goes for chipboard easels. The tabs to fit the papers are too coarse, it is my main issue with Saunders easels, so with double weight FB papers they are a bit of a pain for such expensive easel.
They are great as they allow to frame with the four blades, and with straight column enlargers. Same apply to most quality four blade easels (=expensive), but beware of the centering method, there are some MUCH BETTER than others.
(Never used the Kaiser, but it looks quite interesting interesting, looks like the base is chipboard and with practical centering pins. I wonder if the blades are adjustable. Beselers looks like Saunders, maybe they are the same made?).

Three bladed ones are the most practical to my taste, specially with smaller paper sizes, and with sloped column enlargers. There are very good european ones on a chipboard base, which I highly recommend. Some use to have hidden spring loaded tabs under the blades to center the papers, which is IMHO the BETTER centering system. I here like to use a 11x14" AHEL, but they are sold under many different brands.
The issue with three bladed easels is that you cannot center a wide border, cropped image on the paper (beyond to a certain limits, say around 1-2 inches). With a 4-bladed film holder, not an issue at all.

Two bladed easels are cheaper, good for budget darkrooms, but not so interesting to my taste. Also, on the ones I used to use, the blades are not great to flatten FB papers, but aided with a couple of strong magnets, they work. Good enough for RC. I`m thinking on the LPL ones and others, well made, full metal, and very cheap.

Alavergh, "borderless" easels are the cheapest and easiest if you don`t need borders, that`s all. With FB papers they could be problematic unless you waste the borders of the paper, so they "loose" the borderless "feature". Great with RC papers.
(BTW, I also have a similar magnetic "easel" made by Delta, and never use it as a priming easel, simply because I prefer any other "real" easel. The one you mention doesn't have even rulers, so it`s almost useless to my taste).

Vacuum easels are great, but maybe not interesting for most users.

Jeff Dexheimer
3-Apr-2014, 14:19
Personally, I prefer speed easels. I currently have one at 16x20 and I love it. My smaller easels are 2 blade types and I will soon replace then with speed easels. If I start printing bigger than 16x20, I will purchase larger speed easels. They are simple and easy to use.

ROL
3-Apr-2014, 17:06
Personally, I prefer speed easels. I currently have one at 16x20 and I love it. My smaller easels are 2 blade types and I will soon replace then with speed easels. If I start printing bigger than 16x20, I will purchase larger speed easels. They are simple and easy to use.

You use Speed Easels for fine prints? It doesn't matter to you that the edges of the paper are not flush against the base, and you cannot easily crop to other aspect ratios? Simple and easy yes, for beginners and proof prints, I thought. (For the uninitiated, paper slides into these contraptions.)

William Whitaker
3-Apr-2014, 18:09
I like peed easels for sizes up to 8x10...

Those must be the yellow ones.

Randy Moe
3-Apr-2014, 18:34
Lol


those must be the yellow ones.