Monday, May 11, 2009

My Take on Building a Pochade or Cigar Box

Following numerous requests from readers, I have put together a detailed plan for building a beautiful pochade box. The plan will guide you to build a 15.5”x12.5”x2.5” pochade and an accompanying wet panel carrier – The pochade can carry a single 11”x14” wet panel.

I plan to add dividers shortly, to allow you to carry several size panels and not be limited to 11”x14” size. The dividers will be for the pochade and the wet panel carriers and will allow you to carry 5”x7”, 6”x8” and 8”x10” panels. If there is a need for 9”x11” dividers or any other size, I can make that as well. Please let me know. I can also scale the size down if there is a desire. I just need to hear your feedback.

What is really nice about this plan is that it utilizes off-the-shelf items from your hardware store and the minimum of tools to build. You do not need to be good at carpentry to finish this versatile and professional looking pochade.

The main reason that I built mine and why I am making the plans available is that I am a heavy user of my pochade. I can’t think of spending over $500 on one and use and abuse it as I do. I want one that is rugged and slick at the same time; one that can withstand my abuse without looking like a tank.

I have been building and planning pochades for over 7 years now. They have become successively more versatile and easier to build. This one is the best. I hope you will agree.

I was meaning to build a full tutorial on how to build a pochade box. I may still do that, but in the meantime this should be a good short tutorial that some will find useful. Please share your thoughts here or on YouTube.

See next video installment on this topic here:


  1. This video ROCKS! Thanks for taking the time to show the different pochade boxes you have.

  2. Thanks Liz. I hope it helps.

  3. Hi Fawzan,
    great video!! I love making up ways to carry my painting supplies, and they HAVE to be lightweight. I'm so glad you showed close ups of the hardware, I'm handy and now I know what to look for. It'd be great if you could show more detail about the last box, how you put that peice of masonite over the top to make a compartment.
    I do field sketching with watercolors a lot, so usually I carry my things in a small bag over my shoulder. The oils I may have trouble setting up this way because I'm tall, not sure the canvas would come up to where I'd like it. Thanks again!

  4. bravo! very nice and clear and an interesting solution for plein air or even just portable art. Useful for travel and the rest. I like that and some of the ideas are useful to adapt to the strange empty wooden boxes some art sets arrive in. Thanks

  5. Mary and Fraces, Thank you very much for your comments. Mary I need to make another Pochade box soon so I will make sure to do a step by step video as I build it. It will be one with all the moving parts like the last one in the video but larger a bit.

    Frances, those boxes you are talking about are great except that their base needs to be re-enforced if they are to be put on a tripod otherwise the thin board may break. But otherwise, ya!

  6. I got this email and thought the question and ifo was important to share here as well:

    Q: Fawzan,

    I viewed your YourTube video about making a pochade box. I've seen several videos on the subject, but yours is by far the best. I'm going to be going shopping for a cigar box over the next few days. What cigars come in the box that you show on your YouTube video. I'm most interested in the box that you held up to the camera with the T-nut or tripod whole on the bottom where the palette would sit. That seems like a good all around size. I think one of the boxes is an Aston Corona, but the one I'm interested in had a inscription on the inside of the lid which was not readable in the video. Would you kindly pass along the name of the cigars (box) so that I can begin my pochade construction.

    Thank you so much for the valueable information. I got alot out of your video.

    A: Thank you for your email. The first box that I show in the video was built over 12yrs ago. I am not sure where I got it from. The box has Maximillian engraved on the front if that helps. The second one was built from scratch and the third is a Cohiba box. I hope all this helps. When you get a box make sure you re-enforce the base (bottom) with a piece of plywood if you are going to use a T-nut in it. Some of these boxes have flimsy bases and you will need to have a stronger base if you are going to tie them to a tripod other wise they may break.

  7. I have been using a modified cigar box but having trouble with keeping the lid stationary. I've looked all over for your 'box lid holder' and can't find it. Any suggestions?

  8. You can find the box lid holders in almost all hardware stores. Just ask for them by name. Take a picture with you if needed. These usually come in pairs and have a sort of attachement to them. I take the attachment out and that is the hole that I use to thread through the bottom link to the base.

  9. PS: Stanley makes them so you could go on their site and see where they can be found in your area.

  10. Faz, what a well-made video! I may not be a plein air artist, but I can appreciate the many tips in this video. Your wonderful instructions could be converted to other needs like, believe it or not, camping.

    I look forward to future videos.

    (P.S. Hello to Rima and girls.)

  11. Very, very nice Fawzan! Yes, I am still alive...he he.

  12. Glenn4:42 pm

    how do all people do things like that. i also have many boxes but all are use less. please elaborate you technique. we just buy cigars and put them in these boxes. no use of them.


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