I had attempted to make the easel part a couple other times, but the issue always was how to attach it to the tripod. I knew what I needed, but I hated to order a 79 cent part online. Finally I found what I needed at Menards - 1/4"-20 x 1/4" Brad Hole Tee Nuts. I've used these in a couple of my other pochade hacks earlier this year/late last year. When my friend Julie was emailing me about the easel she was constructing I had to get mine finished too.
I created mine with parts I already had and only had to buy the threaded tee nut. I have several of these inexpensive wooden table easels:
Here you can see the 1 1/2" screws in black which go through the back block, the spacers and into the bottom ledge. The bottom ledge is one half of the folding lower ledge of the original easel. The knurled brass nut is the original nut to secure the sliding upper bracket bar.
I love to make my own version of the more expensive plein air gear I see online. I figure, it's just going to get messy and covered with paint, so why pay the big bucks?