Every field easel has it’s own non-interchangeable palette size, it turns out, and they are not easily found after market. I don’t like the one that came with the Soltek easel — it’s lightweight plastic that warped — but I couldn’t find one with the same dimensions in wood to replace it. Drew generously brought out the table saw over the weekend and cut two palettes to exact size (bottom of top photo). Out, out, damn plastic.
The palette at the top of the stack (top photo) is from a french easel. It’s wider and longer than the Soltek. It used to look like the paint box palette beneath it, similarly coated with layers of paint and oil but scarred with deep gouges. Drew’s sanding revealed beautiful mahogany. He filled the holes with bondo, then sanded them smooth. With a few coats of oil it will be ready for another twenty-five years, this time with the sense not to carve into it with mixing knives.
I put a second coat of Gamblin oil ground onto 3/4 inch maple plywood panels and stretched linens (bottom photo). These will be ready to use in about a week.