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One of the first major additions to the $10 easel, several years ago, was a retractable platform that serves as a step when the easel is used for a tall painting, and as a bench when we need more seating in the studio.
The platform rests on the top of the foot at the base of each side of the easel. The top of the track for the platform consists of a 2x2 (labeled "top of runner track" in the foregoing photograph). Note that the runner track shown, here, only allows the platform to be pulled out about 18 in., and that great care must be taken to ensure--before stepping onto the platform--that the back of each runner is inside the top of the track; otherwise, the platform gives way. Longer 2x2s would allow more of the platform to be exposed, but we chose not to install them.
In the foregoing photograph, the "platform ledge" is used only to hold the bottom of particularly tall paintings that are also narrow enough to fit inside the width of the platform runners. Most paintings can rest on a ledge clamped to the face of the easel.
The following photograph shows a little more detail from a side view of the platform.
The next photograph shows the extended platform from the top. The "horizontal runner brace (2x4) is the back of the platform. The "horizontal runner brace (2x6) near the middle of the platform is the cross-member to which the "platform ledge" is attached.
The last photograph shows the back of the platform from inside the easel.
Grabbers were used as fasteners. Furniture wax greatly enhances the action of the platform.