Introduction: How to Make an Adjustable Mahlstick on the Cheap

Hey all, I tend to work all over my canvas and I have always had to spend a certain amount of time repairing damage I did by resting my hand on a tacky portion of the painting. (and oils can stay tacky a long time:-) So after doing this for the upteenth time, I came up with this simple (cheap) rig.

Step 1:

What you will need:

1 pvc slip t-connector or a short ridged tube that fits the dowels
rubberbands
2 round dowels
2 broom holder clips


Step 2:

Get 2 long dowels or broom handles. They need to be round so that the pvc connector can slide and rotate. I used pictured above are 4 feet long.


Mount the holder clips to the easel's top canvas support. I found these broom holder clips in the home organization section at Walmart.  Clip on one of the dowels then slide on the pvc connector.  Rubber band the second dowel at right angles.

The pvc allows you to slide the mahlstick horizontally and the rubber band allows you to slide the verticle stick up and down to adjust for different sized canvases.

If you wanted to spend more time I'm sure you could come up with something better than rubber bands, but I'd rather be painting.

Comments

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2010-02-17
Oh, ok  I was not familiar with this, so looked it up, and we refer to that as a Mahl stick in my area.   Nice work.
 
author
cvianna1 made it!(author)2010-02-20

Thanks, it works pretty well for me, I'm thinking of trying one of those long telescoping handles used for painting ceilings for a larger easel I just acquired.

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2010-02-21
Personally I am not very good with a paint brush.  My main "form" of art has been Pyrography (example linked here)
 
author
cvianna1 made it!(author)2010-02-21

That looks like an interesting medium. I'm pretty good at soldering circuit boards and laying runs, but I haven't tried using an iron to produce 2 dimensional art.

Using pigment and brushes is like using any  other tool such as wood and irons, no one starts out great, accomplishment comes with time and practice. Normally it's more what medium speaks to you, if you enjoy working with something, it makes the practice enjoyable enough to stick with it. I look forward to seeing more of your work.

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2010-02-22
I agree with you 100%.  I just remembered that, in some of my pieces I DID use oil pencils to color them a bit.....if I can find a picture of my Santa checking out his list, I will post it, because that had to be the best thing I ever did....the names on the list are very tiny (some less then a 1/4 inch long) and yet many are readable.   My eyes don't see that well anymore, and the magnifier  just gets in the way when I try anymore. *sigh*
 
author
cvianna1 made it!(author)2010-02-22

I know what you mean about seeing getting harder with age. I found a pretty cool three piece loop magnifier that clips on to eyeglass frames. I believe bouche and lomb makes it.

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2010-02-22

I have this MONSTER lighted (I need extra light too) magnifier that I was using, but it is kind of "in the way" if you know what I mean.   Even my glasses  (trifocals) don't do the job well.

author
cvianna1 made it!(author)2010-02-23

The other problem your going to run into is that a lot of the magnifiers have a short field of focus, normally about one inch. At that distance your likely to burn your nose as well as the wood...:o)

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2010-02-23
This one "would" work ok, if it wasn't so big.   I mean, it is nice that it covers a wide field and gives me about 4-5 inches to it's maximum focal length, but then this means either raising the table (work area) or hunching over.   I  might try what you suggested rigged with an super bright LED for illumination.

Oh yes, being that close to my work tends to get smoke into places it doesn't belong (lungs, EYES, etc.).  
 

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