Easel serves as a prop of icon during the painting. It allows painter most comfortable position. Painting at simple flat table would be difficult, the hand would be in a position that made the difficulties, the backbone would be in incorrect position, and the icon itself would be in vast position. You can use easels specially made for the iconography, and at other hand, you can use modified or ordinary slates.
Easels designed for iconography
Most of easels are made of heavy wood: beech, walnut or oak. If it is used cheaper and lightweight wood, easel should be made to be big, heavy and massive, because lightweight easel can be overturned under the weight of icon. Easel is made to be upright, avoiding to be tilted, because it becomes unstable. On the straight, vertical part of the easel, on the appropriate level, raises the broader shelf. It would be good for you to provide structural lifting and lowering shelves to adapt for altitude of iconographer. If you make a cheaper variant, with fixed height of shelf, its height should be determined so that the upper half of icon, during the painting, should be at eye level of iconographer (taking the average of icon height is 40 cm). Behind the shelf, which hold the icon, should be located thinner panel (hardboard, for example) which is prop of icon, and can be useful for holding templates. Below the shelf that hold the icon, you can set another shelf for the disposal of containers with paint and brushes.
small easel - technical drawing
Customizing ordinary easel
When you are buying an ordinary painting easel (slates), it must be heavy and massive, and his lower part for fastening picture must be wider, in order to fit the thickness of the icon. Between the parts for fastening images, attach a piece of hardboard appropriate size (eg 60cm x 60cm), which will serve you to hold templates and as prop for icon. There are also smaller easels that are designed for work in confined spaces, and they are placed on the table.