My wife, Nancy, is working on a big art project for our church. It's a triptych with each panel measuring three feet by two feet. Total painting area is three feet by six feet, with an additional working area to separate the panels. Nancy said she needed it at least 7 1/2 feet wide. We needed a big easel.
After several attempts to put three smaller and differing size easels together I started from scratch.
There's not much difference between 7 1/2 feet and eight feet. Eight feet means no cutting.
I used seven 1" by 2" by 8' furring strips and four 1" by 4" by 6' cedar fence slats. It's all screwed together so it can be easily taken apart and stored or re-purposed. Total cost - about $15 and a little time on the patio.