Saturday, October 12, 2013

T Nuts for Pochade Boxes

A reader asked how I attached my home made pochade boxes to a tripod. I think that might be a good subject for a new post, so here it is. The little piece of hardware I use for that is called a T nut (or tee nut). Pictured below are a couple of 1/4-20 x 5/16 T nuts (US standard). 1/4" is the bolt size, 20 is the thread size (20 per inch), and 5/16" is the length. Whether the T nut has three or four prongs doesn't matter.

If you have any question about whether the T nut will fit your tripod, take it along with you to the hardware store for a test fit.

Warning: Before using any hand or power tools be sure you read and understand all directions pertaining to their safe use and maintenance. Also be sure to properly use all recommended safety equipment. Don't anybody get hurt!

To attach the T nut to your pochade box, first determine where you want the box to sit on the tripod. That point is usually halfway between the left and right sides of the box, and two or three inches or so from the back of the box. How far from the back is determined by the pochade box's balance point when the lid (which holds the painting panel) is open. On my little pochade boxes, how far from the back of the box isn't as important as it might be with larger boxes, so I stuck it right in the middle.

After marking the point for the T nut, drill a hole in the bottom of the box just big enough for the shaft of the T nut. A 5/16" bit will probably do. Hammer the T nut into the hole with the flange on the inside of the box. Some people countersink the flange, but I don't bother.

Here's a close-up:

The length of the T nut's shaft should be the same as, or slightly less than the thickness of the wood. If the shaft is too long, you can take a little off with a file or grinder. The image below is a close-up the underside of the little pochade box. You can see (I hope) the end of the T nut just shy of the surface.

There are other ways of attaching your pochade box to a tripod which probably work just as well, but I think the T nut method is the most common. There are different ways of attaching a T nut. This post shows how I do it, but here's a link to a plein air painting forum thread that shows a different method:

I hope this post is useful for you. Have fun building your pochade box and even more fun painting with it!

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