I've been researching plein air easels for a while, and I found this forum. I looked at the Take It Easel
, and the Beauport Easel. The Beauport Easel is an overseas knock-off of the Take It Easel, right down to the language in the brochure, and is a fraction of the price...so i bought one!
What a bummer. As you might expect, the cost was directly proportional to the quality, a complete piece of junk. After dropping 2 sets of pastels in the sand, i decided to call Take It Easel to find out what the difference was, and why the price difference.
I spoke to Tobin Nadeau, who hand builds the Take It Easel in Vermont. If you check out the Take It Easel website, and read the history, you'll find that his mother bought the last Gloucester Easel built roughly 30 years ago, and that the Take It Easel is his family's revival of the Gloucester Easel. As you might guess, it's more expensive and labor intensive to build an easel by hand than to have junky ones mass-produced overseas. Tobin's heard this story so many times before, that he actually offers a refund/rebate of $50 off a new Take It Easel if you ship him your used Beauport (he pays for shipping, and the condition of your Beauport doesn't matter). This made it easier for me to stomach the waste of $$ that I spent on the Beauport.
I took him up on this offer, and it was the best decision I could have made. The Take It Easel is clearly of superior quality...seems like it will last forever! Now that I have the real thing, I can tell how many things were screwed up in the factory overseas where the Beauport is mass-produced.
DON'T buy a Beauport. You'll make up for the price difference by not needing a lifetime supply of Advil for the headaches the Beauport will certainly cause you, and by not having to replace the oils or pastels you lose in the sand!