Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homemade Pochade Box

My Serrett Pochade Box
I've been wanting to build a pochade box much like the $300 models you can buy without spending the $300. Jim Serrett had built such a box, the Serrett Pochade Box, using simple contstruction methods and scraps of wood keeping costs down and making building the box as simple as you can get. I've got to admit the reason I kept putting this off is that I kept thinking the results would be very unprofessional and look it. I couldn't understand how the lid hinge would work without looking like some contraption from a Jules Verne novel. All of the ones I saw that were homemade really looked homemade. Jims looked pretty good so I decided to just build it and make it work but keeping it as affordable as possible.
I downloaded Jim's instructions and worked from those. I couldn't find the piano hinge he used so I used normal brass hinges. The table hinge that I bought was different and I had to cut off a bracket on mine and hammer part of the other end to make that work but it works great and looks good. Both of these parts came from Home Depot. I used a piece of hardwood (oak) for the mounting block underneath that holds the T-nut for mounting the box to the tripod. I'm not a fan of this though and if I did this again I'd probably use the Judsons mounting plate that costs around $19. It's an all-welded aluminum plate that would last longer than the box itself. I'll give the T-nut a try and see how that goes. I also added a strip of wood to accomodate my longer hinge screws for the lid. No biggie there.
The lockable hinge worked out excellent. I was worried about the single bungy cord holding the panel to the lid...looked kind of weak but it actually works great. The panel is snug against the lid and not flopping around at all. Simple and effective and the wind won't blow it loose at all.

Overall, if you want one of these types of pochade boxes and don't want to part with $300 you can build it for hardly nothing. I don't think I paid more than $20 for all of the material. I used an air powered brad nailer but you could do this with small finishing nails and a hammer. I have a table saw too but all of the wood can be cut with a hand saw. It's a great little box and can handle anything up to 9"x12" panels.


Mick Carney said...

Ron - You have a new career beckoning. It won't be long before we're all arguing on WC as to who makes the best pochade boxes and speaking of Guthrie's in the same sentence as Guerilla's. Good job.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Mick,
Hahahaha, that would be something to read but I don't think it's on the horizon. The box was easy to build and still looks good...wait till the paint starts flying! hahaha.

It was a really fun project and something I have wanted for a long time. Thanks for the good words Mick.

Jim Serrett said...

Hi Ron, Great looking pochade box, you certainly have better carpentry skills than I do.

Very nice work on your site, and I am thrilled I could, in some small way contribute to your artistic efforts.

I've recived a couple other pics and info from artists that have built their version of this box. I'm going to post them on my blog, with your permission I would like to include your kit and a link to your site.

I originally had some concerns about the strength of the T-nut also. One artist that followed these plans has had some problems too. Mainly because their base plate was a soft wood, I used a hardwood plywood and have yet to have a problem, even after spilling my box, cross my fingers.

Again thanks for the link, great looking work.

I got a real chuckle out of the term "Serrett Box", guess that's my fifteen seconds of fame.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Jim,
The fame is well worth it. Until I saw your original post building the box on your blog I wouldn't attempt one of these. You really gave me the incentive to go for it.

If you'd like to use the pics and add a link that would be cool...anything I can do to help people build your box is my thanks to you Jim.

I worked many years ago as a shipping clerk for Bell & Howell. I used T-nuts on a lot of crates for computers that we made...big ones. Most of the time they held very well but sometimes they would come loose. This was in standard fir lumber which is soft. I thought maybe a piece of hardwood like the scrap of oak I had would keep it in there longer. If I have any problems with it I'll get the plate down the line.

It's the ease of building this that makes it worth the effort. The results can be as good as the builder wants it but it is hard to go wrong in coming out with a great little painting box.

Many thanks Jim for giving me the inspiration to build my own Serrett Box!

Sheila said...

Wow! This is beautiful! So nice to be multi-talented..... Great job Ron.

Ron Guthrie said...

Hi Sheila,
I'm really happy with how this turned pride and joy right now. As soon as the studio tour is over I'll be out breaking it in. Can't wait! Thanks Sheila

Anonymous said...

Nice Job!

Ron Guthrie said...

Thanks a lot!!

Cristina Jacó said...

Hi, I want a pochade box like that. I've sent you an e-mail. I hope you can do it for me. Thanks.

Stephen Magsig said...

Hi Ron,

I just built a box and enjoyed it very much. Thanks for all the tips. Your Pochade box is really a work of art

kaustav mukherjee said...


Thanks for the guide to a simple Pochade box. I have one question regarding carrying the wet panels/canvas. Do you carry a special bag/box for these?

Kaustav Mukherjee

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