Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mahl stick, homemade version

Now that I am occasionally drawing and painting larger, and using an upright easel, I can see the advantages of using a mahl stick. I looked at them in the store and they are ridiculously expensive!!! As has many times been the case I thought "I can make that!"

This whole project took about 10 minutes, including sanding the dowel. OK, it was 15 if you count the time I spent gathering materials. The cost was less than $2 (I picked up the dowel at an estate sale for $1). Way better than the nearly $30 the store wanted for a mahl stick.  Sheesh!

My version of the mahl stick cannot be disassembled for easy transport, but I do not care. I took a four foot long, 3/8" oak dowel I happened to have lying around for the stick. If you don't have one lying around your house you can go to the store and get one. Even places like Michael's and Home Depot sell these, maybe not in oak though. Or you could go crazy and use walnut! Just make sure it is not all crooked and wonky. I then took a scrap of old t-shirt from my rag bag and wadded it up for the filling. I traced a circle in a scrap of leather I had lying around, cut it out, and tied it around the end using some silk fingerloop braid I wove years ago.

I thought about staining and finishing the oak, maybe putting a handle on it, and also a loop at the end so I can hang it up. Maybe I'll do those things later, or on another version. This one is fancy enough for now.

The scrap leather came from the bargain scrap bin at Tandy's. If you don't have that available there are suede-like fabrics at the fabric store, or use a scrap of cloth or something. Also it can be tied with plain twine. I just got all fancy 'cause I could, and because I like it.