The Frankenstein Palette Table I designed

8May 2012

I like to design things that I need for my studio.  I think it is a waste of money to go out and buy something that you can make yourself.  Besides, when you create your tools for a direct purpose they are exactly how you need them to be.  I would rather use a tool that functions as I intended and need it, rather than buying something that almost meets my needs and has to be altered later and will never be what I really needed.
I call this Frankenstein furniture because I cannibalized older useless dead furniture, bringing it back to life.

I needed a larger painting table, and a larger palette surface to work on so I decided to Frankenstein a painting table together with some furniture I dug up.
The base is from a kitchen table I rescued from a street corner.
I adjusted it to the perfect height.
The top is two parts glued and wood screwed together for strength.
The palette is a 3-inch thick bar table top that I stripped and recoated with linseed oil rubbed into the wood with a rag.  A circular palette makes it easy for me to organize and mix my color selections.  I like to lay my colors out in a circle like the color wheel and this oak table top was perfect. Wood is the absolute best surface for an oil painting palette.
The wide top is 48 inches x  36 inches.  It is a piece of 3/4-inch thick oak plywood.  I shaped the corners with a round to just give it a bit of style.  I can lay my brushes and paint tubes out on this larger surface.
I then drilled holes the same size as the tops of mason jars into the wood with a circle maker.

Then I epoxied the lids into the holes, using 4 grooved braid nails on the inside of each top to add the their stability to compensate for the torque when turning the jars out.  You can see the braids from the underside of the table.
Canning jars are the best for oil painting.  The lids are two part, the rim that screws onto the jar, and a disk lid that fits between the two to seal it when you need to keep solvents or pigments fresh.  The canning jars I used are common and easily replaceable.  There are 6 jars (I found a box of them needing resurrection in my garage), each had its propose.
A little sanding, a splash of paint, and its a perfect painting table. I used it for a time, and then I passed it on to my buddy Philip while we shared a studio.  We both liked working on it.
In retrospect there is one thing I would have engineered differently.  The circular palette top- I would have liked it to spin so access to each oil color would be easier.
There you have it, my Frankenstein painting table.
Too bad this can’t come to Maui with me…
…but I will be painting there.