A few days ago I posted a picture of me at work, and a friend on Facebook asked if that was my "killer-sized mahl stick". Yeah, it was, and I also realized that people might be interested in the design, since it's a piece of do-it-yourself studio equipment.
For those who may not be familiar, mahl sticks are simple devices, really nothing more than a stick, often with some padding on the end of it, that allows an artist to have a stable place to hold his/her hand without letting their wrist touch the painting surface. As you can see in the photo below, my wrist is solidly resting on the stick, exactly in the position where I need it to be to do the kind of fine detailed painting I do, while there is no danger that my hand would actually touch the painting itself.
The design is as simple as could be. From my local hardware, I got a 3-foot long, 1/2 thick round oak dowel. At one end I screwed in an open eye-hook to allow me to hang it off a hook on my easel. For comfort during extended painting sessions, I sheathed the dowel in foam tube insulation, of the type used to wrap copper heating pipes. This can easily be removed if I need greater maneuverability.
It's extremely functional, strong, and durable. It's also easy to make, and I doubt if I spent $5 on the entire project.
Labels: In The Studio, Technique