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Old 03-02-2012, 08:27 PM
wedding painter wedding painter is offline
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Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

If you bought an authentic french beechwood full size french easel recently - have you had problems with it? I have had a catastrophe and some near catastrophe's with mine. The first time, the lid lunged forward and the back leg buckled sending the whole thing flying forward with a pint of mineral spirits and full palette of paint going on the floor and of course my painting fell off as well. This happened when I applied a heavier brush stroke and the wheels (holding the arms which hold the lid up gave way.)
The next time I tightened the wheels so tight they wouldn't come undone - but the back leg bent in the wrong way and collapsed because the flimsy piece of wood that is supposed to stop it from doing that had flown off ripping out the screws.
Has any one else had a similar experience...? I ask because most of the reviews for these boxes give them 5 stars - and if Jullian keeps getting 5 stars, they have no incentive to use the original heavier hardware and the more substantial legs. My 20 year old french easel had heavier legs, bulkier hardware: bigger wing nuts and more substantial wheel nuts. (Unfortunately the legs wore out where they fit into the notches on the sides of the box.) Are they ANY sturdy reliable french easels out there ... at any price??
thank you.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:48 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Does Jullian offer a warranty, and have you contacted them?

The wheel-like adjuster nut problem they will no doubt consider only a tightening problem, unless by "gave way" you mean that the nut or bolt broke.

But that wooden stop -- that appears to be faulty workmanship, with not enough glue having been applied. Your photo is puzzling -- it looks as though there were two sets of pilot holes for the screws. It seems to show 4 holes in the leg although there are only 2 screws in the wooden stop.

My Mabef has a plated steel stop rather than wood. Thanks to your write-up, I'm going to double-check the wood where the screws go in, as it is only the screws that keep the leg from buckling. Jullian's solution would be more secure, if they had assembled it correctly. The screws in your case would be primarily to clamp the glue joint while drying, plus a tiny bit of back-up holding power.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:22 AM
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

My own french easel is a cheep Chinese made thing, for the first few months glue joints and fittings regularly gave way. I kept repairing and modifying it. Now for the last two years it’s been reliable. One of the early modifications was to put larger washers under the thumbnut’s to give more grip. The advantage of a wooden easel is that it can always be repaired, though if you have bought an expensive one you shouldn’t have to be making repairs so soon. I’d speak with Jullian.

Dave
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:58 AM
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

So sorry to hear you have been a victim of shoddy workmanship. Seems to be a fact of life now. Nothing lasts.

I have a cheap Chinese made elm French easel that has never given me any problems in the past four years and I cart it everywhere. Seems to be bomb proof.

I also have a half sized Chinese elm and a half sized Julian beech easel - Guess which one fell apart irreparably? Yep, the Julian! It's now missing critical bits of wood such as the piece that stops the drawer from falling out when it's closed. It just fell off and I didn't notice until too late to find the piece. The lid/palette also went west at the same time. Regularly lost nuts and bolts too. The hardware is no better than the Chinese junk.

The half sized Chinese one I bought to replace the Julian, started to fall apart too, but I bought some nice, fine, brass screws and screwed everywhere that was held together with staples and brads. It's now much more robust and the legs have always been okay. I give it an awful flogging.


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Old 03-03-2012, 10:41 AM
wedding painter wedding painter is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

RE THE PHOTO OF THE BROKEN LEG BRACKET: there are four screw holes on my photo because I had to make an on the spot repair to the leg so that I could get my painting done ... had to use the same screws - which flew out again when I opened up the easel at home.

Last edited by wedding painter : 03-03-2012 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:50 AM
wedding painter wedding painter is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

RE JULLIAN WARRANTY: That's why I wanted to find out if this is a common problem. With the first easel, I have pirated hardware from older boxes - which makes them useless - and have cobbled together a box which at the moment seems sturdy.
I contacted my supplier Madison Art Shop, who sent out a replacement IMMEDIATELY and were most concerned ... but I am reluctant to open it up, because if it is made the same way at the first one, I'll be back where I started.
My understanding from several people in the art supply trade is that Jullian is not helpful or easy to deal with on quality issues... they seem to believe that everyone who has one of their easels is super 5 star happy with it, which would seem to be the case going by the customer reviews I have found on line.
Also I noticed that some of the Jullian Collectors easels are have "Made in China" printed on a piece of paper taped to the packaging box... but there is no stamp anywhere on the box itself indicating where it was manufactured.

Last edited by wedding painter : 03-03-2012 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:56 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wedding painter
....
I contacted my supplier Madison Art Shop, who sent out a replacement IMMEDIATELY and were most concerned ... but I am reluctant to open it up, because if it is made the same way at the first one, I'll be back where I started. ....
Also I noticed that some of the Jullian Collectors easels are have "Made in China" printed on a piece of paper taped to the packaging box... but there is no stamp anywhere on the box itself indicating where it was manufactured.

That's superb customer service on Madison's part.

As for "Made in China" -- Jullian prices should insulate you completely from Chinese quality.

That is most worrisome. Large companies can afford to staff and train China-based manufacturing. The most conscientious enforce ISO9000 quality environments. The most conscientious and humane, Apple NOT among them, enforce ISO9000 and further provide a human-friendly work environment with good pay.

But Jullian is small. They almost certainly are dependent on contract manufacturing facilities, and there's no way to ensure good quality there.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:48 PM
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wedding painter
RE JULLIAN WARRANTY: That's why I wanted to find out if this is a common problem. With the first easel, I have pirated hardware from older boxes - which makes them useless - and have cobbled together a box which at the moment seems sturdy.
I contacted my supplier Madison Art Shop, who sent out a replacement IMMEDIATELY and were most concerned ... but I am reluctant to open it up, because if it is made the same way at the first one, I'll be back where I started.
My understanding from several people in the art supply trade is that Jullian is not helpful or easy to deal with on quality issues... they seem to believe that everyone who has one of their easels is super 5 star happy with it, which would seem to be the case going by the customer reviews I have found on line.
Also I noticed that some of the Jullian Collectors easels are have "Made in China" printed on a piece of paper taped to the packaging box... but there is no stamp anywhere on the box itself indicating where it was manufactured.

Of course the Jullian website would only show the praise letters; you wouldn't expect them to show complaints...

Before I bought the Jullian half-easel, I had trouble with my Guerrilla pochade tripod, which wouldn't bear the weight of the box without flopping over; then found that my two other French easels either lost hardware or other parts.

I'm always had trouble with the folding leg in every French easel I've had; it never seems to fit tightly enough in the box to keep it from flopping out when I carry it.

Now I'm getting scared...I've only had my Jullian half-easel out for a few times, and it's good so far, but then I don't use very energetic brush strokes. Last spring, my plein air instructor recommended I get a Jullian after one of my former easel kept losing all it's hardware in the wilderness.

At least mine didn't say Made in China.

But I still haven't carted it over any rough terrain!
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:03 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Nancy, fellow WetCanvasite Jack Schuller has an article about modifications to his French easel. One of them is a simple metal L that keeps the leg inboard while out and about.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/39616/529/index.php

2nd row down of pictures, middle and right photo. Pix of mine below. It's a little tricky to place. You want to catch enough of the folding brace to hold it in, but not so far into it that the brace strikes the L when you're opening the leg.

[Unless you mean the far end. On my Mabef, it's held in place by a spring detent that fits into a receiver in the box.]

No idea if Jack Schuller is still active.

The detent:


My L-shaped stopper:


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Last edited by DaveGhmn : 03-03-2012 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 05:25 PM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

I've got Jullian and Mabel easels, and I think the Mabefs are better-built and with superior materials. I avoid the faux French easels that you can get for under $100; they tend to fall apart within the year. I've got a lot of easels!
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:34 PM
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NancyMP NancyMP is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Here's how my legs sit. As you can see, there's a space there that if I hold it wrong, it flops out the whole assemblage.



The hook and eye set-up for keeping the box closed gives me an idea; maybe I could put one on the bottom to lock the leg in when I'm carrying it!

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Old 03-03-2012, 07:42 PM
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MChesleyJohnson
I've got Jullian and Mabel easels, and I think the Mabefs are better-built and with superior materials. I avoid the faux French easels that you can get for under $100; they tend to fall apart within the year. I've got a lot of easels!

I paid more for mine than that, but, Michael, I take it that you're a full-time plein air painter? I often take this to my gallery to do alla prima demos, and other outdoor city plein air. Most of the time. Since I do indoor work most of the time, this seems to be okay.

But would it help to get a Mabel if I were doing more country excursions to paint? The reason I ask is that I had been thinking of combining my two first loves: painting people and painting the outdoors. It would definitely be worth it if I could find something that would last!
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:44 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Well, the French easel isn't the easiest thing to lug outdoors. Although I take mine out sometimes, it is more of a backup easel. I use a 9x12 Guerrilla Painter pochade box most of the time:

http://www.judsonsart.com/pleinair/p...p?idCategory=5

But, there are many different boxes out there. I'm sure you'll find something to suit!
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:33 AM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MChesleyJohnson
Well, the French easel isn't the easiest thing to lug outdoors....

I'm about to embark on a plein air workshop, so I purchased the Alex Hardy backpack straps for French easels. Alex somewhat loquaciously introduces you to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuI9E-GGozo The video takes a film noir approach to lighting.

(Don't miss the hilarious sequence beginning at 1:09, "Doesn't get any easier.")

Jerry's Artarama recently had it on sale at ~$10 plus S&H and I know from past posts from others here that it occasionally dips to that price on Jerry's sibling site, ASW Express.

Actually I see it's still on sale [March 4, 2012] at ~$10: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discou...back-strap.htm

Appears to be well-made. It takes me a bit of wrestling to get it on my back, but my back-pack mounting skills have always been lacking.

For the top straps, I had to put screw eyes on my Mabef, which was made before the days when pack-strap D-rings become standard on French easels.

Edit: Picking up on Alex's statement that the wing nuts can work loose and fall off, I'm going to put stop-nuts on the outboard end of the leg studs.
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Last edited by DaveGhmn : 03-04-2012 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:59 AM
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Re: Jullian Collection French Easel Serious Quality Issues.

Fun! Here's my video of how to set up a French easel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfhwuUJcb94
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