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Old 06-03-2013, 02:04 PM
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timonsloane timonsloane is offline
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Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

My soltek was starting to have problems with the legs. I had heard lots of warning about this problem and I've always tried to keep the clean. But the very nature of plein air painting has me out in the dirt and sand.

I searched for some recommendations and didn't find much. All I really found were lots of mentions of people sending their soltek back in for service.

Finally I send an email to solkek and got a helpful response (see below). I soaked the leg tips in water and worked the release lots of time while underwater and it seems to have helped.

Any other experiences or recommendations on how to clean out the legs and correct the sticky leg problem before it completely seizes up?

---------------------
Email from soltek:
Hello,
You can run water up inside the legs, and you could also use compressed air. You definitely do not want to use any sort of libricant though. Thanks,
Todd
Soltek Easel
On 6/1/2013 11:06 AM, Timon Sloane wrote:
The legs are starting to get sticky on my soltek.

I’m wondering if I can clean them out before they get entirely stuck. Can I:
  • Immerse the leg tips in water?
  • Spray in a lubricant (maybe a graphite oil free type)?
  • Blow in compressed air?

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks,
Timon
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Old 06-03-2013, 03:05 PM
Cherylal7 Cherylal7 is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

timonsloane,
I'm having a similar problem with my easel. But it seems to be when sliding the lower leg into the higher leg. It acts as though the lower leg has swollen and is to large to slide into the upper. It cannot swell though, it's metal.
I thought about some WD-40, but perhaps not after reading the reply you received.

I think I'll try some water then perhaps some air.
Cherylal7
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:55 PM
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timonsloane timonsloane is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

Cherylal7 - let us know if it works.

Anyone have any ideas about putting some sort of protection around the leg tips? I've heard of people using paper cups when they setup, but I want something that can be part of the easel and doesn't require bringing something extra along with me.

I just wrapped the leg tips in plastic secured with rubber bands. Not sure if it's a great solution yet, I'll have to report back. I'm a bit worried that the extra plastic above the rubber band might actually work as a funnel collecting dust just above the locking mechanism.

Would love to find some sort of soft rubber cover/dome that could be glued above the lock. It would have to remain soft enough so I could activate the unlock mechanism through the cover.
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Old 06-04-2013, 02:16 PM
crafor crafor is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

I don't know what you're talking about, so this is a wild thought, brainstorming, you know! How about really wide, low-tack painter's tape? Taping it around the mechanism--even 2 rows if needed, when you arrive, removed when packing up.
Ella
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Old 06-04-2013, 03:53 PM
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

Ella - good thought. I could see using tape to protect it while in use.

Ideally I'd like to find a solution that I can leave on all the time, and that still allows the locking levers to be manipulated through the protective barrier. Something soft and pliable.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:49 PM
crafor crafor is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

Would a sturdy child's balloon. preferably a round one probably, with two ends cut off, slid onto the area and taped work? Mayby even just tied tightly? The looseness of the balloon may allow the needed room for play, and may be sturdy enough for several trips. Or something like a piece of ripstop nylon, (from a fabaric store) sewed to the size and shape needed, and either the whole leg can stay in it, or again, just taped to the desired area. Or in a pinch, a paper towel or a rubber glove taped on might do it once for you.
Ella
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:46 AM
Cherylal7 Cherylal7 is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

All, I finally got around to trying to correct my issue with "sticky easel legs" on my non-Soltek metal easel by putting it in the bathtub with 'hot' water and some dish soap. I had examined it and found that there was a fair amount of paint on all extensions of the legs, which of course, gets pushed up into the higher leg. So I tried cleaning it with a baby wipe before putting it in the tub.
The tub may have helped a little but not much, the water here does not get very hot. I may try again and boil some water to mix with tub water. But I think that from now on I will wipe down the legs with a baby wipe after each use. I do get paint everywhere. And BTW, the baby wipes work great for removing paint from me, from the easel, from the car (big baby blue spot on the bumper!), and sometimes from my clothes.

Have a good weekend,
Cherylal7
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:36 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

People I know with Solteks usually use Baggies or the generic equivalent as "boots" for the legs. But this is a problem with any collapsing leg easel, I think. I paint in sand a lot, and have had grit get up into the mechanism of my Sienna tripod. Although it didn't affect the collapsing, it did hamper the ability to lock the legs. I had to unscrew the locks to free them, work the legs back and forth, and then re-tighten.
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:38 PM
Saint Ragdoll Saint Ragdoll is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

My problem with Soltek legs is right ow it's set up in my studio with a WIP on it...And the single leg (back or front, depending how you look at it) just mysertiously collapsing on its own! Nothing touchingbit, no vibration from a passing grain, just the leg retracting for no apparent reason that I can find.
It is just last 2 segments of that front leg that is retracting....(which causes the easel to lean backward and the painting and all my gear falls off.) and to drive me even crazier, it doesnt do the collapsing/retracting all the time, every time. I just have been pulling the darn leg back out and not putting anything on the easel that is gonna cause a problem if it falls off in my studio. In the field, I wont be just parking it and ignoring it, I will be right there using it so if it does retract/collaps I will notice it in time to fix it before a disaster.

I bought the easel second hand, off ebay, got a little better price than buying from what ever art materiel supplier is selling them now and even got the canvas cover/backpack too but no palette.

(I appologise for the spelling and typos, I'm using an Ipad and it has a problem inserting stuff I dont type.)
Teresa
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Old 06-22-2013, 02:22 PM
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

One of my legs also started to 'creep'. It would slowly collapse under load. Cleaning out the latch mechanism on the leg tip fixed my problem. I cleaned it as described above by putting the whole leg tip underwater and working the mechanism repeatedly.

Hope this works for you. Let us know.
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Old 05-30-2014, 04:15 PM
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

UPDATE ONE YEAR LATER

To give everyone an update, I've been having good luck cleaning out the feet with plain water whenever they start to get sticky or gritty.

I got a great idea from a friend - using a bicycle inner tube to make foot shields for the legs. With a little duct tape you can make a big long covering that is quite durable.

I do now have a NEW ISSUE - one of my legs is getting wobbly. The joints seem to have gotten loose. Anyone have this problem before? I think I'll probably need to send it back to get this fixed.

All-in-all I've gotten a ton of mileage out of the easel and I really do like it - especially for painting larger.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:40 PM
**Kathryn** **Kathryn** is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

Yes, the legs do have issues and I found it happens at the worst time - packing up to leave. Even the smallest bit of dirt can cause the lower leg to stick.

I created some covers which fit over the legs; they're perfect and easy to put on, secure and take off. Someone who also owns a Soltek told me that I should patent them or sell them to Soltek. Personally, I don't have the time to bother. I find that they help me paint on all grounds, even in sand and solves much of the retraction problem. There is still the challenge of wind blowing dirt/sand onto the easel and legs. ...and remembering to use them all the time. Unfortunately, I think there is dirt that's been stuck in the legs the entire time I've owned the easel. It's best to wipe the legs down before retracting. ---I'll consider posting the items on my blog or contacting Soltek --- maybe--- since lots of people have this problem.

Last edited by **Kathryn** : 06-04-2014 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:00 PM
**Kathryn** **Kathryn** is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

"To give everyone an update, I've been having good luck cleaning out the feet with plain water whenever they start to get sticky or gritty."

Thanks, I'll try this.
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Old 11-10-2017, 07:07 AM
Moises Menendez Moises Menendez is online now
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

Hello,
I have a question about the Soltek easel before I purchase one. I am attending a landscape workshop in town, and the artist has the Soltek easel, and he is happy with it, since is very handy and easy to carry. However, I have seen a negative review in the Internet so I need further information about this easel. Is it worth to spend money on this easel? This easel is somehow expensive.
Thank you.
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Old 11-10-2017, 02:44 PM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Fixing sticky Soltek Easel legs

It is expensive, but so far I'm very happy with my Soltek, which I bought (new) this summer. I like that the legs form such a big sturdy tripod base; the easel has never once toppled over in wind, as happens frequently with smaller pochade boxes. I also like all the mixing space on the palette, and I like the clips that hold the painting in place. Yes, the legs are a little tricky at first, but now that I understand how they work, I've had no problem with them. So I recommend the easel, but I caution buyers to read the instructions carefully, especially about how to use and care for the legs.

Incidentally, my leg-protection solution: the balloon-like rubber mittens that pet stores sell for dogs. I got a pack of about a dozen for $15 or so from my local pet shop. I keep the balloons on the leg ends all the time, even when the easel is stored. So far they've kept them clean.
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