Jullian Easel review
I've owned an original Jullian full-box easel since the mid 90's and it's performed with no issue. I recently decided to buy the half-box version (easel addiction) and wanted to give my thoughts - primarily because the change from French to Chinese labor is usually mentioned with concern every time the topic comes up.
Note that both easels are the "original" top-of-the-line versions and not the cheaper models that Jullian offers.
Overall, the build quality of the new half-box seems to be right on par with the 90's, French built, full-box. The beechwood and hardware seems just as robust. The easel is very stable when set-up and the fit and finish are on par as well.
The only area that seems to have declined is the palette. It is now appears to be a particle board core rather than the solid mahogany on my original. Functionally, it gets the job done just as well but just doesn't have quite the same look and feel.
The storage space was surprisingly small. I carry very little (6 tubes, 6 brushes, 2 knives and some brush soap and that's really all that could fit in the divided drawer. You really have to go light with the half-box.
Overall, I'd probably recommend the full-size box as going to the only slightly smaller half-box costs you dearly in internal storage space.
If you outfit the full box with backpack straps the weight really becomes a non-issue. Plus, the full box does a better job of "protecting" a larger, wet canvas when carrying it back home after painting since the panel can face towards the box without touching it. The half box leaves a lot of of exposed painting surface to the left and right since it's so vertically slender.