Posted by: Dave
A year ago we purchased an Open Box M for my wife. Amazing craftsmanship and a great product, it came in at around 300 dollars, so I decided to build my own version for myself. Most of the ideas for this design came from my friend Matthew Mancini, but since he doesn't have blog, I am going to pretend I thought of everything myself. Below are the details.
The tools needed are a drill, a sponge brush, a metal file, a table saw (not pictured), and a power sander (not pictured). Ok, so you don't really need a chainsaw but I wanted to show off the fact that I have one. I really just use it for hunting bears and juggling.
I started by picking up two cradled birch panels from the art store. The dimensions are up to the individual, though 12 x 16 inches seems to be a nice medium size. These were stained with 2 coats of Minwax and sealed with 3 layers of Varathane. Don't forget to sand the panels before beginning.
The first thing I did was to create two slots in the upper part of one of the panels. These will be for the locking mechanisms that hold the panel in place later. I left just a little under 5 inches in the space between them. This was all done on a circular saw, though it could also be achieved with a router.
The first thing that I attached were the two brass hinges on the back. Make sure that each panel is facing the correct direction before assembly.
The next thing I assembled was the hinge system on the sides. The curved metal brass piece and the piece on the upper right corner of the above pic is part of a box lid support. Sometimes they come with an extra unnecessary piece of metal that has to be filed off. Other than that, everything can be found at Rona or Home Depot. Make sure that everything is properly spaced and the box opens and closes smoothly before sinking in all the screws. The wing-nuts and bolts will allow you to lock the box in place to keep it open during painting. The brass handle is simply mounted on the front with 2 screws.
The last thing I attached was the T-nut, which will act as the connection point for a tripod. Make sure to drill a pilot hole before hammering it in.
I fabricated two sliding/locking mechanisms for the canvas panel using two one inch by one inch pieces of wood. I used a power sander to give them a 45 degree angle on one side and drilled a hole for the bolt to go through. I used the same sized wing-nuts, washers, and bolts that I used on the hinges.
Behold my Pochade box in all its glory. The only thing that I didn't get around to attaching are the two catches that go on the front to hold the box shut in transit.
Some of our readers have expressed concerns about what to do in case of a bear attack while painting. With a few easy modifications to your Pochade box, you will be good to go. For close bear combat, the box can now be used in a stabbing motion to ward off bears or thrown like a short-range spear. For long range bear combat; use the attached hunting bow. Painting can be fun, but studio safety is no laughing matter.
There is another version of how to build your own Pochade Box on Mark Reeders blog (http://markreeder.blogspot.com/)