View Full Version : Big enlarger easel advice, please

jose angel
1-Apr-2005, 11:36
Hi all. At present I use a very old 3-bladed 11x14" Ahel together with a 2-bladed 16x20" LPL that I swap between two enlargers in my darkroom. It is an awkward situation, specially because they need a different alignment for each enlarger.

My intention is to change my annoying 2-bladed LPL with a highest quality 4-bladed 16x20" or better with a 20x24" one, in order to be left under the big enlarger permanently. Room is not an issue. I like double weight fb paper (with that rigid bended contour like MGIVFB) up to the 16x20" size, probably because I have not a good bigger easel.

I have found in the archives that the most advisable are the Saunders brand. As you know, the "Universal" is made in 16x20" and 20x24", but the "V-Track" only in 16x20" size. I canīt decide because there is no way of checking any easel in person. I have two doubts;

1. Is it a difference that makes it worth to buy the V-Track over the Universal? (there is no problem, I can continue taping that few bigger sheets to the table as usual).

2. Could be a great drop in confort the use of a 20x24" easel over a 16x20" one when using small sized paper like 5x7" or 8x10"? (... That is the reason because presently I swap between easels when printing smaller or bigger than 11x14"... ).

Your experience will be useful to me, as always. I will be grateful with any comment or suggerence,

Larry Gebhardt
1-Apr-2005, 12:37
If you prefer borderless there have been a few 20x24 vacuum easels on ebay recently. I picked one up but haven't used it yet.

I bought a whole darkroom and I got a 20x24, a16x20, and two 11x14 Saunders easels. The 20x24 is huge and doesn't fit well on my baseboard. It is well made, but I wouldn't use it as my primary easel for 11x14 and smaller. I can't help you on the Vtrack as I have never used one. The universal one work fine for me.

Gem Singer
1-Apr-2005, 12:58
Hi Jose,

If you plan on making 20X24 enlargements on regular basis, by all means get a 20X24 easel. However, unless you have a lot of work space and a large baseboard for your enlarger, it probably will not be comfortable to use a 20X24 easel when you are doing 5X7 or 8X10 prints. 20X24 easels are very large and extremely heavy to move around.

I have worked with Saunders easels for many years. I usually make 16X20 prints. Two of my old Saunders easels are presently stored in my garage. They have been replaced by a Beseler 16X20 Universal 4-bladed easel, which I enjoy using a lot more, especially on those rare occasions when I am making 11X14 or 8X10 prints.

John D Gerndt
1-Apr-2005, 15:22
I use a piece of ž” glass in a wooden frame for 20x24. I aligned it to the enlarger. I simply put any smaller easels on top of that for smaller prints. Smaller easels are just made parallel (correct) by tape on the feet. They are all pretty close to being correct anyway. In effect the 20x24 glass serves as a corrected baseboard most of the time.


jose angel
4-Apr-2005, 09:41
Perhaps the rational choice would be the 16x20". Eugene, Iīm not sure about Beseler or Saunders. I have seen on the web a consensus about the Saunders wonders, but there are some people like you who use Beseler. There are different models (currently I have seen up to three different 4-bladed Saunders on the web); the state of the art looks to be in the V-Track (curiously it looks near to the Beseler). Thank you very much for your ideas.

Gem Singer
5-Apr-2005, 13:28

What I like the most about the Beseler 16X20 easel are the spring loaded hinges that hold the top frame in the open position while I am loading the paper into the easel. They hold the top frame in any position I place them, quickly and effortlessly.