Back in my youth, when it was against the law to paint in a classical manner, anyone using a hand-held wooden palette would be banished from the studio. As decades passed and I became frustrated with the usual table tops, pieces of glass, old dinnerware and metal trays, I turned in desperation to an old-fashioned wood palette, my first being the palette that came with my French portable easel. I soon found it to be superior in almost every way. Since the early 1980ís, Iíve used a great many wood palettes, some purchased and some I made myself.
Iíve carried a grudge against my junior high school shop teacher ever since I was banned from the drill press due to incompetence. Iíve been attempting to prove myself ever since by making or finishing the occasional wood palette. I suggest serious painters make their own. If I can do it, anybody can. It doesnít have to be large and should be as light as possible.
Iím posting a few step-by-step pictures (with occasional misspellings) to show how simple it is. The first seven pictures show me finishing a small commercially made palette purchased at my local art supply store. The last two shots show palettes Iíve designed and made from scratch using thin sheets of Baltic birch plywood and a little help from a friend with a jigsaw.
If you design and make your own, I suggest you make a dummy out of cardboard first. Once you feel you have it right, then trace it onto the wood and go at it!