This is the box my partner Paul made for me after I got home from Peter Van Dyck's workshop. I had made drawings and measurements of Peter's box, which he had designed and built. A friend in the workshop cut a bunch of palettes from a template traced off Peter's in-box palette. I have Peter's permission to publish these photos, and I thank him for sharing his ideas for tools and working practices so generously.
I have used several of the small plein air pochade boxes in the past. They are meant to be lightweight and convenient, but I found myself fumbling around with tripod, fittings, brushes and paints that didn't fit, and the tiny palette surface. This box weighs 16 lbs fully loaded, in Denali I pulled it around on a luggage wheely. I absolutely loved being able to set up my easel, open the box, and go immediately to work with a full size palette. I spent a lot less time managing my tools that way.
The little metal box is for tools like the viewfinder, pliers, etc. I have since replaced it with a larger, lighter plastic box that accommodates the palette knives. The brush compartment is divided in half so during painting you can keep the used brushes separate from the fresh ones. The cover holds a mirror, a piece of red glass for values viewing, and tools for judging angles.
You can hold the sticks up to your eye, get a measurement, and tighten the wing nut to hold it while you measure other items against the first object. You get a more accurate angle than holding your thumb up, because you are working from your exact viewpoint.
As I post photos from the Denali trip over the next week or so, you will see this in the background.