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When you’ve been painting for a long stretch of time, you realise that it’s a lot of pain to take.
When dealing with oil paints, in particular, your hands are sometimes on the verge of giving in to the pain. Hence, it’s best to give those hands a rest and go in for Mahl Sticks, which are designed to comfort and support your arms while painting.
However, with an umpteen number of such sticks on the market, it’s difficult to know which kinds of Mahl sticks to go in for when you’re new to painting.
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Today we’re going to review the best Mahl sticks on the market – and follow it up with a small buyer’s guide so you can make an informed choice while buying your own Mahl stick.
- Best Mahl Sticks
- Buyer’s Guide for the Best Mahl Sticks
Let’s begin with the reviews!
Best Mahl Sticks
If you’re on the lookout for a reliable, attractive and professional quality Mahl Stick, this is one of your best bets. With a varnished aluminum finish, this product gives you the luxurious feeling of leather, while making sure the stick does not slip from your hand. It can easily extend to up to 35.5 inches in length.
- Made of varnished aluminum, this expandable mahl...
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The stick is easy to hold and keeps hands steady even on large canvases. One problem might be that after continuous use, the stick has a tendency to unscrew. The leather covering is made from real animal hide and hence gives a rustic and antique vibe – while the aluminum material on the inside is fully modern. Overall, it’s a wonderful Mahl Stick which will last years easily.
In case you are not a fan of the leather and aluminum combination above, you may very well consider the 36-inch long hand made Mahl Stick by Handmade Treasures. Since it’s handmade, if you want any special additions for your particular drawing style, you’re free to do so. It has a relatively high value for money, considering the artisanship and quality of the stick.
The resting end of the Mahl Stick is padded so as to ensure there is no damage to the glass or canvas which is being used to create the painting. This is useful for both right and left-handed people. Users appreciate that the wood comes pre-oiled, hence lasting for a long time without any worries. The only caveat is that this stick isn’t adjustable as many other Mahl Sticks are.
If you prefer function over form, have a look at this full-aluminum Mahl Stick, which is also a standard 36” in length. Unlike many competitors, it comes with a safety cap on top which is shatter-resistant, thereby giving you an extra level of security and safety when painting. The blade is made of carbon-honed steel, and the body is aircraft-grade aluminum.
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It’s a three-piece stick, but unfortunately, it cannot be adjusted for length. All three pieces screw in together with precision and consistency. The width is enough for your arm to rest on comfortably. At the same time, the stick is light enough to not be noticed while painting. If you travel, the three pieces are very easy to carry – making it the best Mahl Stick for those on the go.
If you’re looking for a reliable plein air Mahl Stick which isn’t as long as the ones above, the Guerrilla Painter Mahl Stick might just be the thing for you. The telescoping nature of the stick means it’s heavily adjustable in length and is robust enough to be useful at any length between the minimum and the maximum. It’s made of plastic, and the back has measure rules.
The support end is made of metal and may cause some unnecessary marks on the surface of the art if you’re not careful. Besides the shortness (the other sticks are half as long at least), this product performs on all fronts. It is lightweight, sturdy, and adjustable in length up to 21 inches, though some people report 24 inches as well.
If you’re bored or get uncomfortable using Mahl Sticks, this is another product which provides comfort to your hands while painting. This is more suited towards those who work sitting down and it is meant to be rested on laterally rather than vertically. It is transparent and made of acrylic – thus it’s lightweight and sturdy enough for long work hauls.
- This transparent stable and sturdy heavyweight...
- Rest your hand on bridge, not your art
It comes in two variants, one is 24 inches and the other is 31 inches long. It also features drawing level lines to help you draw and color with charcoal, pencil colors, or pastels. This particular bridge helps you prevent smudges and blemishes from appearing on your work while making sure your hands are always comfortable even after long painting sessions.
There’s a particular sense of quality which this Mahl Stick has in spades. As most people do not prefer wood or aluminum, this Mahl Stick has been given a brushed steel and copper colored finish. It is one of the newer entrants to this space, but it brings a two-piece design and a suede leather covering for the resting end which allows you to paint without worries.
This particular stick is around 36 inches long, and the screwing process between the two pieces is smooth and holds for long hours without getting unscrewed. Bear in mind, however, that with time the threads on the screws tend to loosen up. It is a bit heavy, being around 1.3 pounds in weight. It is a value for money addition to any artist’s toolset.
Buyer’s Guide for the Best Mahl Sticks
With this, we wrap up today’s set of reviews of the best Mahl Sticks of 2020. Besides the reviews, It’s best to know which factors play an important role in deciding which Mahl Stick you should buy given that there are numerous such sticks on the market today.
Your Mahl Stick will stick with you (pun unintended) for years to come, hence it’s good to know the role the following factors play while purchasing it.
The Mahl Stick should strike a balance between cost-effectiveness and delivering a long-term reliable yet comfortable painting experience. Most Mahl Sticks are cheap, but often have quality issues – avoid these since they end up ruining your art rather than helping you create it.
Length of the stick
If you’re used to large canvases, you’ll be needing the full-length 36-inch sticks on the market. For medium and small canvases, you can look up 21 to 24 inch Mahl sticks, which are long enough to support you for long hours.
Materials of the stick
As you’ve seen, Mahl Sticks come in a variety of materials like leather, aluminum, and steel. It’s purely a personal choice here – go with the material which you feel most comfortable painting with. All have their separate benefits and disadvantages.
Bringing it all together
We now come to the end of today’s discussion about the best Mahl Sticks of 2020. Mahl Sticks are an essential part of any artist’s toolset, and following the reviews and guide above, you will easily find a Mahl stick which will serve you well for years of trouble-free use. Happy creating!