I just returned from a workshop in Paris, KY and had another opportunity to use my Open Box M easel. I'm very pleased with my setup and needless to say it gives me everything I could wish for in an easel.
I don't always clean the mixing area after every use, which I think I should be doing. I usually just scrape that area with a razor scraper, which gives me a very smooth surface but I find it somewhat distracting. I think if I clean the wet paint off the day I use it, the end result will be a grayed patina, smooth as glass.
I decided I wanted to start again so I removed all wet paint from the tray and sanded it down with some course sandpaper and a green scotch brite pad. I neglected to take a before picture, but here is my end result.