I don't know about you, but when I go out to paint on location I am all about putting paint down as soon as possible. When a scene calls out to be painted, setting up your gear needs to be quick and streamline. When equipment has more that 4 steps to setting up, it gets nerve-racking. This could include setting up the tripod and attaching the box to a tripod, squeezing out the pigment, and setting out the brushes and turp, The sun is your clock in plein air, and so a simple and speedy set-up is important.
Many plein air boxes on the market are clam-shell design, and in my opinion are the most efficient type of pochade box available. The clam shell box I like most is the bomb proof Open Box M. I love it's simple design, but over the years have despised it's fussy hinge system that seems to get caught up in my backpack, and it takes 6 wingnut twists to adjust into position. If I could eliminate 6 twists down to a one-knobbed twist, then I could eliminate a bit of fussiness and frustration as well as a quicker set up. It may seem nerdy to have to go through the trouble of changing out the hinge system, but I am all about simplification here.
Here is what I did to ease the set up of my already well used box:
The Open Box M with the hinge system. Each side has 3 wing nuts to adjust. As you can see, the wing nuts stick out on the sides of the box and they often get caught up onto other equipment.
All the fussy hardware was impractical, so I removed the hardware and replaced with the two piece system that I picked up from Judson's.
Guerrilla Painter Replacement Lid Bracket for 102 Series Boxes can be found in the Do It Yourself section HERE. Measures 3 1/2" long, 7/8" wide, 1/4" thick.
Your local hardware store can help if you don't have the tools or the know-how with woodworking and set-up. Most times I have found that the guys in the hardware store love problem solving and this one proved to have a few challenging sessions. One of the challenges was to allow room for the black knob to clear the glass on the inside of the wood wall. In order to do that, we had to completely replace the old glass mixing surface and install a new piece with a cut-out clearance area for the knob. Use a dremmel tool to cut a notch out for the knob. Finally, we attached the hinge system and now it opens and closes with just one twist.
Have you ever adapted or streamlined your equipment to aid in your production? If so, please share.