What is a Palette/Panel Holder?

The Palette/Panel Holder was originally developed by Mike Maier sometime around 1987.  All of our products and accessories are based around this handy little device...

click here to read more about our Palette/Panel Holders....

What is a Pochade Box?

Pochade is a French word that means “small painting” box. At OPEN BOX M a pochade box is the entire package: the palette/panel holder, wet-panel storage unit and the outer case.

Why do you call it an 8x10 pochade box when the box dimensions are larger?

The 8x10 denotes the maximum size panel you can store in the wet-panel storage unit which is found in the lid of your pochade box. This concept applies to all pochade boxes and lightweight kits.

Where is this equipment made?

We handcraft all of our boxes here in our shop in Cody, Wyoming. We are a small shop that has dedicated itself to build the quality of equipment that a Plein Air artist can rely on and respect.   Our reliable customer service to artists around the world has given us a strong reputation in the Plein Air community for almost 25 years.

What are your office hours?

Our hours of operation are 9 AM - 4 PM US Mountain Time, Monday thru Friday.  Emails can be sent to openboxm@openboxm.com.  Appointments must be made in advance if you would like to visit our shop. 

Why does my Order Status read "Awaiting Fulfillment" after I have placed my order?

Your Order Status will remain "Awaiting Fulfillment" until we have your order ready for shipment. Once we have your order completed and packaged, your Order Status will be changed to "Shipped" and Open Box M will notify you of the tracking information.  Please expect 1 - 4 weeks until we have your order ready for shipment.


Do I have my palette/panel holder set up correctly?

Just click on Set Up Instructions for a step-by-step walk through.

Why does my palette/panel holder feel unstable?

Many times people forget to slide the aluminum arm(s) out to form the rear triangle(s) that give you stability. Loosen the thumbscrews and wing nuts on each slide-arm assembly and slide the aluminum piece to the back of your palette/panel holder. Position the unit how you like it and then re-tighten the screws and wing nuts. To see proper set-up, please go to Set Up Instructions for step-by-step instruction.

How do I put my panel in the panel holder?

Loosen the wing nuts on the back of your panel holder and slide the brass arms out to the width of your panel. Next, bring them in a little smaller, about 1/4" LESS THAN your panel width and tighten. Then you put the panel into the spring-loaded side first...push it out a little and drop the other side into the other arm. 

See also Set Up Instructions.

How do I care for my box?

Your Palette/Panel holder is made from Black Walnut and Baltic Birch woods.  All of the wood is hand rubbed with Danish Oil (natural color).  The oil has a light Polyurethane base which gives adequate protection to the elements.  If you feel it necessary to reapply oil to the Palette/Panel Holder, sand with 200 grit sandpaper and then apply the oil.  Make sure to wipe excess oils before they are allowed to dry.   

All of the hardware is solid brass except the aluminum support arm(s) and the stainless steel spring that is part of the panel holding assembly. The parts we make here (such as the adjustable sliding arm assembly, brass carrier assembly arms and clips) are all polished but not lacquered. You may maintain this look yourself with a brass polishing substance.  We feel it is nice to get an aged look to the brass along with an aged look to the palette.

Do I need to do anything to my palette before I put paint on it?

No, just lay out your palette and paint!  Some artists like to have a piece of glass specially cut to put in the palette area rather than using the Baltic Birch as a mixing surface.  If you choose to do this, a bead of silicone in each corner of the palette area should be sufficient for holding the glass in place.

How do I care for my palette?

After a painting outing and before closing your palette, scrape off excess paint in the mixing area with a palette knife or flat razor blade (going left to right, with the grain of the wood) and then wipe it down with turpentine or other  brush washing solvent.  Paint will begin to absorb into the grain of the wood and eventually a nice patina will build up on your palette area.  The most important thing to remember is to not allow excess paint to dry in the palette mixing area.  Some artists have a piece of glass cut that will take up the inside of the palette area.  If you choose to do this, a dab of silicone in each corner will be sufficient in holding the glass down.  Some artists feel it necessary to add more protectant to the palette area.  If you do this, lightly sand the palette area and then apply the substance and follow the directions for applying whatever substance is being used. 

What kind of tripod can I use?

Any sturdy 35 mm camera tripod will work.  We recommend a tripod that has at least a 10 lb. load capacity to the ball head and also a quick release plate.  We currently supply only one model of tripod.  The Manfrotto MT190XRO3 tripod with the Manfrotto 496 Ball head and quick release plate can be found here.

Do you sell in stores?

No. We have deliberately chosen to sell directly to our customers so we can provide quality products and customer service to help ensure that our customers are satisfied for as long as they own our products.  We believe that the artist deserves a lifetime of support for the quality of equipment that they use.  We will repair MOST used Open Box M products FREE OF CHARGE for the lifetime of the product.  We simply ask our customers to pay the original shipping fee to get it to us.  The fix and return is FREE!!!  Just contact us before sending in your equipment for refurbishing and make sure that you include the return shipping information inside of the package so that we can get it back to you within a reasonable amount of time.

How do you ship and what are your shipping rates?

We ship UPS Ground or USPS.  You may contact Open Box M to make other arrangements.  For more details and to also view our shipping and handling rates for both Domestic and International orders, please visit our Shipping and Returnspage.

How long does it take to get my order?

Generally, anywhere from 1 - 5 weeks.  We are a small company that produces handcrafted equipment.  Feel free to contact us for expected delivery times.


How many 37ml tubes of paint will fit in my box?

Standard Pelican pochade box:

8x10=approximately 30 tubes

10x12=approximately 36 tubes

11x14=approximately 40 tubes

Special Pelican pochade box:

8x10=approximately 8 tubes

10x12=approximately 12 tubes

11x14=approximately 8 tubes

What sizes can I paint with each box?

The smallest width panel any of our panel holders will hold is 5".

Palette/Panel Holders accomodate:
8x10 - maximum width panel 16"
10x12 - maximum width panel 18"
11x14 - maximum width panel 20"
12x16 - maximum width panel 24"

Do you sell panels?

No, but we highly recommend you contact the professionals at SourceTek for quality, made in USA panels.