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December 30, 2005


Buddy Paul

OK, I'll admit that my "don't drill into golf balls" fear is rooted in childhood, when I was told that golf balls had a liquid nitroglycerin centre, and that the taut rubber banding wrapping the core was all that kept it from exploding when struck.

Now that I'm older, I realize that the real problem with drilling golf balls is holding them so that they don't rotate when the bit bites into them. A vise or snug force-fit jig may be the answer here.

But I'd still check beforehand to make certain that they don't bear the legend, "Caution: Explosive nitroglycerin core is stabilized solely by rubber band wrapping; do not drill."

Or I'd use a wooden, styrofoam, silicone or cork ball instead. Just to be safe.

Brian Hunter

I fixed the hook end of a coathanger to my mahl stick and it works great because I can hang it on the canvas, easel or pochade. Inside or out I don't have to worry about it rolling away -highly recomended.
I was wondering if anyone knows of any plans or the dimensions to building a vertical canvas storage rack?

Sarah Lewis

I'm also looking for plans for a vertical canvas storage rack; anyone have any recommendations?


My worries about golf balls comes from when a classmate in grade school lost an eye to an exploding golf ball that he was playing with in his school desk.

Golf balls are made (or they used to be 30 years ago) by wrapping a hard rubber ball with a long string of rubber (like a long rubber band) and then encasing it in plastic.

My classmate had cracked the plastic casing and was attempting to pry it off in class when it gave way and the "rubber band" explosively unwound catching him in the eye.
He lost the eye.

I will admit to breaking open several golf balls myself (it was a fad to have the hard rubber ball when I was a kid). I did it with no ill effects, and never experienced anything like what happened to my classmate. However after what happened to him I quit doing it, and have absolutely no urge to tempt the fates again.

S. Alan

My favorite two Mahl Sticks:

1) I made a mahl stick from a long dowel that I purchased from a lumber store. I also purchased a 1/2 or 2/3 size tennis ball from the pet store. I cut an 'X' into the ball. I poured some "Super Goo" into the ball through the X. I then shoved the dowel into the ball, and I Super Goo'd all around the cuts and onto about one inch of the dowel. In several hours, I had a great stick. I sanded the dowel and sprayed some varnish over the wood.

2) On the top canvas holder of my easel, I attached with screws and very small "L" brackets, a 1X2" red oak board about three feet or so long. If you are looking at the easel, the board runs perpendicular to your gaze, across the top of the easel. To that, I hung a typical hooked-top wood walking cane. It's the absolute best mahl tick I've ever used. I got the idea from a Richard Schmid painting video, and I made it to work for me. It's fabulous, the cane can slide easily across most of the wood, or you can lift it to go to the other side if you need to. And your painting hand moves up and down the cane, grabbing on when you're at the exact site you want to paint at. The cane bridges itself between my new wood board, and the bottom of the canvas holder, so the stick never hits the canvas. It's absolutely perfect.

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