Sunday, 7 June 2009

Product Review: Blacks Compact Stool (for sketching)

Product: Blacks Compact Stool (£9.99)
Manufacturer / Distributor: Blacks - retail stores and online
Technical Details: Very sturdy steel frame and polyester fabric seat. Tripod base which enables it to fold into a long column. Velcro strap at top to keep folded stool secure. Comes with its own carry bag with handle. Weight 750g. (Product code 096194)
Summary: A robust but light folding stool which is very easy to carry by hand or in a backpack.
Who should buy this?: Artists working plein air - even larger ladies like me!
Who should not buy this? Artists who only work in their studios and/or only want to work standing up
  • very robust (I'm not a lightweight!)
  • very well designed from a practical perspective
  • easy to fold
  • light and easy to carry
  • extremely good value for money
Think Again?
  • You can have it any colour so long as you like black! ;)
Suppliers: Available only from Blacks

I've always resisted using the sorts of stools I see most artists sitting on.

First because they're not easy to carry and second because I'm never too convinced about how strong they really are. As somebody who has put on quite a bit of weight since my instep snapped and I started to develop mobility problems the latter is of some importance. Plus I need to try and be hands free if I can to make sure I stay safe and avoid affecting my balance.

Which is why I'm so very pleased with my new Blacks compact stool which I'm using for sketchercise. I've now given it three outings and I've been very pleased on each occasion.

Normally I take a folding chair with me when I'm sketching but I don't tend to walk any great distance with this as it can be a bit of a hassle if I'm walking any distance although it is possible to sling it over my shoulder to carry.

The big advantage of the Blacks stool is that it is very light and is based on a tripod so that it can be folded up, popped back into its bag (which comes with a carry handle) and can then be put into in my back pack where it sits quite happily.

Also being a tripod it doesn't throw "a wobbly" if put down on uneven earth and seems to be very good at being very stable.

All in all I feel very safe sitting on it and can highly recommend it to all those who experience 'posterior challenge' and are looking to lose some weight!

My one tip is to remember to put the carry case somewhere safe as it's very light when empty. Some very nice Japanese tourists at Wisley brought mine back to me last Sunday after it had blown away!

[Update: see also Roz Stendhal's review here Minnesota State Fair Prep—Part 1: The Heavy Equipment where she identifies an identical stool - except for different colour fabric for seat and cover. Hers is called the The REI folding tri-pod stool]


Lorna said...

These stools are fine if you are on a firm level service but with my weight on soft ground they tend to sink. The seat is v uncomfortable after half and hour. I wish I could find a shorter stool on the lines of the ones you see in museums.

Making A Mark said...

Lorna - I should imagine any stool will sink on soft ground!

I have to say I disgaree with your assessment as I've sat on this one for an hour and more on more than one occasion and have had no problem with it at all.

Was it this particular stool or another tripod stype stool that you've used?

This particular one has a seat which is rather like a very large cycling seat - which I think explains why I found it OK

suessketchblog said...

I have one from Eurohike which looks identical to this - I'm sure it is the same one. It is very sturdy but light and easy to carry, but I find it makes my back ache after a while - I prefer something with a back support, but then you sacrifice lightness and potrability.

Making A Mark said...

I absolutely agree - that's the trade off!

I'm doing a review of my chair today.

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