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Old 05-14-2003, 05:50 PM   #1
Carl Toboika Carl Toboika is offline
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Joined: May 2003
Location: Kingston, NY
Posts: 132
Carl's armheld self made palette

Linda Brandon suggested I post my eccentrically self-made palette in a "tools" section. I hope this is the correct place.

The palette is made of thin Birch plywood. The thumbhole is filed to a comfortable bevel, and the edges of the palette rounded after cutting. The thumbhole is placed near the center so the palette balances well without a counter weight. The arm curve to thumb hole distance is custom measured to fit my arm just right. The grain was filled with spot putty and sanded smooth. Then it was painted with a spray can of a value #6 automotive primer. The value scale and my signature were painted on with acrylic paint. Then the whole thing was sprayed with a 2- part (paint and hardener) clear automotive urethane paint (resistant to mineral spirits, turps, alcohol, lacquer thinner). 5 coats of clear were sprayed on both sides.

The sharp curve on the left fits your arm and helps hold it steady. The somewhat gentler curve to the right of the arm curve fits on your body if you need it to help steady the palette and take some weight occasionally. The mixing areas are to the left and right of your arm. The cutout next to the thumbhole is large enough to place palette cups on the upper portion, and for your left hand to hold a mahlstick and brushes comfortably at the same time.

The only caveat is that, while you can mix paint on it fine with a steel palette knife, you cannot let paint dry for days on it. The heavy scraping required to remove many-day old paint, by a steel scraper, would damage the surface. I simply take my paint nuts off at days end, and put them on a glass surface (old paint frame with glass) for the evening, then transfer them back next day. I clean the old paint off with some spirits, or alcohol.

Someone is currently experimenting with my shape design and Lexan (the same thing of not letting paint dry for many days in a row would apply to Lexan also I would think). They are thinking of using clear Lexan and painting value scale and gray on the bottom side. I will likely experiment with that and see if it works out even better or not.

I have used this palette for some time now and find it very useful. I would think you could make your own, and take it to an auto body shop. When they spray a car with clear, it should not be a great deal extra for them to hit your palette with clear urethane at the same time. Better check how much$$$ first though. Actually the shape is nice to use, and would work with a traditionally oiled wood palette.

If I find the Lexan works, that could make this a less labor-intensive proposition than it currently is. In this wood/ urethane paint form, it is to "custom" and so time consuming a process, to economically produce for sale to anyone (as a number of people have asked).

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