Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review of Santa Fe II Easel

Ah-inspiring way to begin the New Year! 

Yippee my new easel arrived Jan 2nd!!! (and just ahead of a big snow storm)

I was bestowed this incredible gift by my husband!
Yes I'm a lucky girl & very grateful!
I told him, he should make this my Birthday, Valentines, Christmas & all forthcoming 2014 gifts because it's so incredible!

This easel is Made in American by the Jack Richeson Co. AKA "BEST" out of Wisconsin,
It's so special it had to come via a freight truck company to arrive at my home in Colorado.
Too large for Mail, FedEx, UPS or any regular carrier services _ so yes it's a little pricey to ship!

It's made from Oak Wood & comes with a Lifetime Warranty, but only on the Oak version. An important thing to know, The Lyptus Wood version only comes with a 3 month warranty! Which is really too bad, because the Luptus tree is a renewable fast growing tree unlike the Oak Tree

After shopping many stores that carried this easel, my husband said Cheap Joe's had the best price. They were also very helpful & knowledgeable over the phone! He also had a coupon for an additional -15% off on Cheap Joe's already heavily discounted pricing. The shipping was $190, as much as this shipping cost seems high, that shipping fee was actually a good deal too.

I can certainly tell you this easel is very well made & a very nice looking piece of furniture too,  much nicer than the photos reflect.
I proudly give it 2 thumbs up & a 5 star rating!

Let me introduce my "Classic Santa Fe ll Easel"

it handles all sizes, from the tiniest canvas up to 106 inch, 300 lb. canvas. That's huge!
I love the Marin Wench System, so fun to use. This easel sits on rollers and uses a small footprint of space inside my studio!  I love that too! So easy to push around and adjusts to various position heights, angles & slants. 

This is a non paid endorsement of a product I simply love!
Here it comes, all 98 lb.
Such a big truck & it arrives just ahead of a big snow storm!
Made in the USA & comes with a Lifelong Warranty

Even the pets were curious waiting for me to open it!
They really know how to pack this baby !

Actually I was surprised 
how much of this easel was already put together!
It took me about 45 minutes to assemble & it was easy!

Going to have some fun with this baby!
It handles the tiny-tiniest canvas 
all the way up to 106 inches / 300 lb. canvas
Love the Marin Wench System and the rollers!
Best of all, it takes up a small footprint inside my studio!

Happy Studio Cat!


  1. I am so happy that you reviewed this easel. I can see it does not take up that much space. I have been looking at the Santa Fe II and the III single Mass but now I think I will go with the double.
    Seems it would be better for really wide work.
    Does the tray in the front get in the way? Do you have to lean forward a bit, because that would kill my lower back.
    I guess I could always remove it though that seems a shame to have to do. Did it come with the casters?

    1. Hi NAABR, Thanks for checking out my review. The tray dose not get in my way. You are right that you can always take it off if you need. Another cool feature about this easel is it can adjusted to tilt forward (towards you) as well as tilt back. Many adjustment make this one a winner! No need to suffer any back or neck discomfort. Yes, it came with nice solid casters.

  2. Well, it has been a year how are you loving your Santa Fe ll? I am trying to decide between this one and the Best Manhattan...any words of wisdom? I love, love, love your blog and your studio. One thing I like about the Best Manhattan is being able to put my paints on the tray ( a little more room than the Santa Fe, it seems)? Where do you put your paints as you are working? Flynn Gentry-taylor...I only have Anonymous as I don't have all the other

    1. Hi Flynn,
      Thanks so much!
      I don't think you can go wrong with either decision, both are fantastic Easels! I took a look at the "Best Manhattan Easel" and you are right, it does give you more working space for paint. But for me, neither painting spaces would be enough space. Instead, I use 2 side tables, that have a sheet of plexi-glass to mix lots of paint onto. I move my palette tables around while painting too. Lately, I'm painting on large canvases using some huge palette knifes with both oil & acrylic paint. Maybe this is why I'm using a larger working space. Actually, I've always liked to spread out in my space, even when using a small canvas. Still everything is within arms reach.

      As for the easel, I still Լ☮ƔЄ IƬ
      At first, I tried to keep it nice & clean.
      Well, it no longer looks clean_now I have lots of paint all over it _ but totally cool looking.
      I did have one mishap when I move the easel while the wheels where in the locked position. One rolling caster wheel cracked and completly fell off. I called the Best Company and they sent me a new caster. It was no big deal to replace. Lesson learned, don’t move easel while the wheels are locked!

      Thanks for checking out my blog & stooping by.
      Happy Painting ❀◕‿◕❀

    2. Hey again Laurie...well I decided to go ahead with the Santa Fe ll easel, after thinking about everything. I have an Icarus Board which I can use with this much easier than with the Manhattan. I decided with everything, this will be a more versatile choice, from portraits to tiny piece. Did you have any problems assembling the wench??? That scares me, but if you put it together maybe I can also! Getting it to the second floor is going to be my problem. Thanks for your review! Flynn aka..Anonymous..

    3. Flynn, Congrats & you will absolutly love it!

      At first, it was kinda scary looking down at all those parts, but actually most of it is already put together for you. The wench is already put together too! You only need to string the rope through, following the diagram. It's not difficult.

      I once put a BBQ grill together, not that was a horrible experience and took me 5 hours. The Easel takes about 30-45 minutes. After my BBQ nightmare, I have always paid someone to put things together for me, including Ikea furniture. Unfortunately this Easel did not come with that option. To my total surprise, it was not too hard to put together_ You can do it!

      Another tip, put it together in the room where it will stay. It can easily roll from room to room but if stairs it takes 2 people.

      Have fun__and don't worry when you make your 1st whoops of paint on your brand new clean Easel ~

  3. Hi Laurie, I have plea on you, can you send me or publish some another photos of easel santa fe what you have. I am cg modeler, and my father start painting, and I want create for him some nice website, but on net is hard find good photos of this easel. I need some closeup details and front and side view. Thank you and happy painting.

    1. Sorry Peter I'm late with my reply, I've been out of the country over the holidays. You can click on my photos and they get bigger, but I think the best thing is to email the manufacture. They already have all of this for you;

  4. Hi Laurie, I am looking to purchase a large studio easel with a crank and my research led me to your blog. I am considering the Santa Fe but I am concerned about the winch system and how it would work for me. I live in a large urban area but none of the art stores have the Santa Fe or any other big easel with a crank, winch or counter balance system on the floor or even in stock so there is no way for me to "test drive" one before order and delivery. My main concern is the winch crank being on the side. I sit at my easel and do paintings that would cover the access to the crank being on the side. Was wondering if you found it clumsy to approach the easel from the side in order to move it up or down while working. Any input would be appreciated.Thanks!!

  5. Hi, about the Santa Fe Easel with a crank. I have been able to use the crack while sitting in front of it or from the side. It does not feel clumsy, and I like the placement being on the side_ it is easy to reach. Sometimes I sit, sometimes I stand while cracking. It would be worst if the crack was located in the back, or if in the front it would be in the way. Yes it was a gamble for me too, not being able to test drive it, but it actually worked out better than I expected. The only complaint I have, after owning this easel for 3 years so far, is the roller wheels. I have broken 2 wheels, 2 different times. They are plastic, and I had them in the lock position and when I moved the easel gently forward with a push (because I accidentally forgot to unlock) one wheel broke. It's not a problem to replace the wheels, as the company did send me a new replacement roller wheel, but it has happened 2 times now. So I must always remember to unlock, or maybe never lock them at all (this is what I do now). In conclusion, I still very much love this easel, and have yet to find one superior. Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks for getting back to me Laurie. I did order a new easel on Monday, but not the Santa Fe. The decision was very difficult. I paint very large and I thought that most likely I would have to get up and access the crank from the side. I bought an easel with a front crank.....the crank can be taken off if it gets in the way, but the way the easel is designed makes me think that it will not get in my way as I sit there. Glad you love your Santa really is beautiful. I am looking forward to the delivery of my new easel and I hope that it works out as well for me as your easel does for you. As to the wheels, I never lock the wheels on the easel I have now and never really needed to....the easel I ordered has hard rubber wheels with these screw type stops on them. I know that I never will screw the stops down.

  6. Do you have any more photos? I'd like to see it in action? Do you have trouble with the masts hitting the ceiling? I have been searching around the web for more images to see how the adjustments work. My main issue with my current easel is I can't stand up and use it because the mast hits the ceiling so I am looking for a new easel that will allow me to work large or small while standing.

  7. Hi Guenevere,
    Sorry I dont have any more pics. Maybe you shoud contact the manufacture and ask them for the specs to be safe. It really depends on how high your ceiling and your canvas is too. Somethimes I roll mine into our 12 foot ceiling room when I go really bigger, (I stand) but even then, my mast could touch the ceiling if my canvas was really massive. I paint big, but not colossal, as in over 12 foot mural/canvas. I have no problems with this mast hitting the ceing and I always paint standing up.
    Here is the Contact website & phone for this Easel manufacture;
    Customer Service Phone: 920.738.0744
    Toll Free Phone: 1.800.233.2404
    Hope this helps ❀

  8. Hi Laurie,
    Thanks for this review. I am thinking about purchasing this easel, but was wondering, does it convert to being able to work flat/horizontally also?

    1. Hey Lyn,
      This company (Jack Richeson Co. AKA "BEST") does make one that lays flat, but this one does not lay completly flat. It can be adjusted in many positions, angles & slants, but not completly flat.
      Hope this helps.
      Laurie J