Mahl stick

Below is an adjustable mahl stick that I just came up with.  The blue side struts are attached to the bottom of the easel with screws.  I constructed a “U” shaped channel at the top of the struts to allow the easel to be adjusted up and down.



  • My easel clamps stretched canvas from the inside of the stretcher bars and doesn't have a place to prop a mahlstick.  So 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.  For a mahlstick,  I use a 36" length of 3/8" brass tubing (wall thickness 0.017") spray-painted black; wooden dowels and aluminum tubing were too flexible in the thickness I like.

  • NashvilleArtist

    Looks good.

    What about a piece of curtain track fixed to the top horizontal bar above the canvas.
    A length of dowel with a screw hook runs/swivels to position and out of the way, or detached when not needed.

  • Thank you. 

    I am unclear as to what purpose the curtain track would provide. 
  • NashvilleArtist

    A simple, surer means of support for a mahlstick.


  • edited April 2020
    Which is more artistic, the subjective engineering or the subjective influence on the canvas. I like the juxtaposition in the the original painting!
  • Actually the horizontal bar, which is affixed to the blue tracks, slides up and down the tracks. This provides a secure rest area for my hand. I’ll post some additional photos which will clarify what I mean. 
  • I had to redo my mahlsick and prop (described in the April 2020 Comments:
    --  the paint kept chipping off of the brass mahlstick
    --  I couldn't hold the left side of the mahlstick steady enough with my left hand
    --  when moving between palette to canvas, I kept bumping into a bar clamp holding the prop in place
    --  the prop cast a shadow on the edge of the canvas
    --  it was difficult to paint next to the prop
    --  I sanded off the paint from the mahlstick and darkened the brass chemically
    --  I am now using props on both sides of the canvas
    --  I switched from bar clamps to spring clamps
    --  I added 1" wide by 3/4" deep spacers at the back of the props (leaving gaps large enough for the spring clamps) with 3/4" x 1/8" hardboard clamping strips on top, thereby eliminating the shadow and making it easier to paint to the edge of the canvas,

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