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My easel clamps stretched canvas from the inside of the stretcher bars and doesn't have a place to prop a mahlstick.  I made a mahlstick prop from 1/8" hardboard, drilling 1/2" diameter holes spaced 1" apart along one edge and sawing cuts in the hardboard on 45-degree tangents to each hole, which I can clamp onto a stretcher bar anywhere I need it with two small adjustable clamps (see the attached).  For a mahlstick,  I use a 36" length of 3/8" brass tubing (with a wall thickness of 0.017") spray-painted black; I found that wooden dowels and aluminum tubing were too flexible in the thickness I like.

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