What's more enjoyable than plein air painting?... Of course! making your own gear for plein air painting! This is my newest home made pochade box. It measures 9.25x11.5" and the palette area is 1.5" deep. I went with a smaller box because I needed a box that catered to my smaller plein air pieces and takes up less space in a backpack. This box will hold, at the largest, an 8x10" horizontally, and probably a 9x12" vertically. The new feature is my hinged flip-out brush holder (the little rectangular piece of wood with holes on the left). Now, instead of having to insert my brush holder, while carrying it as a separate piece, I just open the box and flip it out.
Here is the hinged brush holder in its closed position. The lid of the box closes down while leaving a little space in case you want to keep your canvas panel attached to the pochade box lid. Because of the deepness of the box (1.5"), your wet paint remains untouched on the bottom.
In the side view, you can see what keeps the box locked in the open painting position...just a friction lid support with a threaded knob instead of the tightening screw. You can purchase these at your local hardware store for just a few dollars. The hanger that will hold my portable brush cleaner/water is a wire hanger loop that holds the wire on the back of picture frames.
Here you can see my glass palette in place. I paint on glass because it's just easier to work and clean my acrylic paints. You'll notice 2 brass shelf pins inserted in 5 mil. holes that are holding the palette down. With the deepness of the tray, I can now leave my canvas panel attached to the lid, close it, and use it as its own wet panel carrier and not be worried about the glass palette hitting my wet painting. When I'm done painting, I just remove the shelf pins, then remove the glass and wash it.
closed and locked position...ready to stuff into a backpack.
Several people have asked me about how I mount the box to my tripod. This is it. It's a wood insert nut (this one is brass which is a softer metal...I broke the first one attempting to screw it into the hard wood. I think I used a different metal on my last pochade box which has given me no trouble for the past year of use). You simply drill a hole smaller than the threads of the insert, and screw it into a .5" block of oak. This block measures 3.5x4". After you drill your hole and screw in your insert (making sure to screw it into the wood from the opposite side that you'll attach your tripod), attach the block on the underside of your box about 1" from the back and in the center of the box using wood glue, and some brads or screws, nailed or screwed from the inside of the box. It's very important that you get a good bond here.
To see more details on how to build a box like this, visit Jim Serrett's site (this box is an alteration of Jim's unique and easy to build design) or my other blogs concerning pochade boxes: Homemade Pochade Box and Pochade Box Updates.
Happy building and happy painting!