I did have to look around a bit to get all the stuff I needed. Most items can be found at a 'home improvement' store. I used a combination of Lowe's and Menards (Menards is a local chain, I believe). A Home Depot would be simliar.

If you haven't already seen the materials list, you might want to look there first before reading further.


The casters, bolts, hex nuts, and washers were bought at the Lowe's. The other stuff, for one reason or another were bought at the local Ace Hardware. Some things just weren't available at the Lowe's, especially the square nut. Ask for a square nut at Lowe's and they don't even know what you're talking about -- 'Why won't a hex nut do?'. Only hardware stores have these weirdo items. Also the thumb screw, hinges and all-purpose screws were bought there.


I also got my wood at Lowe's. I probably should have gone to a lumber yard, but they aren't open nearly as late as Lowe's and it just didn't fit my schedule as well. At the Lowe's, you can select from different grades of lumber--you want the best grade (price difference is nominal). At the Lowe's here, you're presented with a huge pile of wood. DON'T just take 8 2x4's off the top. Hold each one out straight in front of you and evaluate the straightness of the piece. It will take a while to get 8 good straight ones. I went through about 30 before I got my 8. This goes for all the other wood, although the 2x4's are the most important structurally and the hardest to find straight. The poplar, pine and dowel came from their craft-wood section.

If you're willing to spend more money, you should of course feel free to use a hardwood, such as poplar or oak. Several people have done this from the plans. However, I suggest that you might want to build one cheap one before you break out the good wood, unless you have plenty of experience.


I won't start a war over where to buy tools (if you read rec.woodworking, you know what I'm talking about :)). My best reccommendation is to buy quality, name-brand tools when you do buy them. Cheapos break when you most need them--quality tools just do their job well.

Don't spend more than 4-5 bucks on the mitre box; you will destroy it. At least, I did. The reason is because after a few cuts, I no longer had the patience to cut 2x4's with a backsaw. It's just a long way to go so slowly. So I took my crosscut handsaw, which is thicker, and used that in the box. It screwed up the slots (widened them), but worked for the project, and, most importantly, worked much quicker. Now I keep it around for cutting 2x4's and have a new $5 one for more precise work. The chisel, square, and clamps all came from Lowe's (mainly Stanley). The power tools are all Sears Craftsmen. The drill is great and the jigsaw is pretty junky (it's their lowest-end one...see what I mean about buying quality?).

Since I first designed these plans and built an easel from them, I've greatly enhanced my tool collection from that category I was lacking in--power tools. I now have a stationary contractor's table saw (Delta), a compound mitre saw (Makita), a cordless drill, an oscillating sander and a few other odds and ends. For those who have access to these tools, you can build this easel much more quickly. I built my second easel after I got the mitre saw, and it definitely made a difference in speed. The easel is no better in construction, but it took less time to build. The one tool that I don't have that would also really help is a router. The router would make cutting the slots in the rear support very simple and accurate. I mention these things not to discourage those without them, but to encourage those with them. I especially encourage those with power tools to be creative in thinking of improvements. The gallery page mentions some ideas by others.

I suggest using a phillips bit in your drill to drill the screws into place (don't forget to drill pilot holes first!!). 3" screws are long and would take a year to screw in by hand.


All of the tools can be borrowed if you don't have them. Lots of people have them. However, if you can afford it, a drill should be the first tool you buy in my opinion--I use it more than anything else (except for maybe my cordless screwdriver). You can go for a corded or cordless. The corded will generally get you a lighter and more powerful drill for the money. However, I hardly touch my corded drill ever since I bought my cordless. I bought a Black & Decker Firestorm and it works very well.

Proceed to the plans, downloads, gallery, or faq.