Make a picture easel with hand tools.


It’s very unusual to get any heavy rain this early in the year, but last weekend we had a downpour. It was like January weather. I was staying warm and dry indoors when we suddenly had a power outage. It always takes a power outage to remind me how dependent I am on electricity. Typically, I spend  the first few minutes wandering around the house wondering, “Now what am I going to do?”

I find myself performing absentminded things like flipping the light switch as I enter the bathroom. After a while, I begin to wonder how long the outage will last. Do I need to find candles? What about the food in the fridge? What about my cold beer!

I went out to my shop and puttered around when an novel idea struck me: why not try some woodworking? I’ve heard it said that there was once a time when guys made stuff without electricity. Madness.

So I made this simple little picture easel. The strangest part? I enjoyed it. Here’s my video confession.

Here are the two pieces if you would like to try your own. Simple project.


  1. Hello Steve; thanks for this video. I must say that I admire your ideas, which are sometimes very simple but still very interesting.
    I have a big sentiment to hand tools ; especially I like to use hand planes. I am not one of these magicians who can do everything with the hand tools and do it correctly, but still I like to use them. For a few years I didn’t have any power saw, so I was using only hand saws. But now I am using mostly power tools. Anyway, thanks for this project – I am pretty sure I will make similar easel; I have a lot of pictures in my house and this is good way to exhibit them. Best regards from Poland

  2. @krzysztof It’s a strange thing. We get dependent on our power tools and can’t imagine working wood without them. I can really understand the simple enjoyment of using hand tools. But it’s still a lot of work that I could do a lot quicker with power tools! I mean, this is not really a project I would shoot a video of with power tools. But a nice exercise with hand tools.

  3. Good job, Steve. Forward….into the past. Actually, I’ve been thinking about making something to display my turned platters at shows and with a minor modification or two this might just fit the bill. T’anks fer da idee!

  4. simple and slick little project.

    i had a similar idea when i was finishing up some shelf mounts.. they are 2 triangles that have a half circle cut out of the middle of the outside edge (the edge that is viewable under the shelf).
    So, if the 2 halves were put together, it would be a square with a circle cut out of the middle.
    And when they were turned onto their backs and placed in a certain way, it made a perfect easel. All that would be needed was a couple small hinges to fasten it together.

    i didn’t mean to poke around your shop, but…
    I see in the background of this video, on your bench, a globe stand, what are your plans for that? you gonna make a wooden sphere for it? 😛

    Also.. i see a bunch of drawings, are those from you? i don’t draw as much as i should.. it’s good creative practice..

  5. When the power goes out here I go to sleep. After a couple of days though I suppose one has to do something. By then that something is usually survival being as my house is 100% electric. If I really need to wood work I have a lot of cordless tools. I should probably get a generator as well. Your “easel” reminds me of these:

  6. Hey Steve, I just found your video on Youtube, but had a question -what type of wood did you use for this? I was looking to make an easel so not exactly a woodworker! Thanks!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here