Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Better Stretchers

As a conscientious artist, I devote a considerable amount of time to studying all aspects of the craft. This includes trying to find ways to improve techniques that already work further. In this case, I wanted to improve the process of making stretchers.

I make most of my stretchers, and up until recently, I used the fairly common technique of glueing quarter round or base shoe stock to solid wood planks. It's simple, can be done cheaply, and does not require any special tools.

Drawbacks include stretchers that are on the thick side, making framing more difficult, and a bond between the two pieces that is weaker than an otherwise solid piece would be. The process of glueing up all of the individual pieces can be very time consuming if one plans on making a lot of stretchers.

I thought that I might improve on my stretchers by profiling a solid piece. I would need to have access to a router, table saw, and the appropriate bit to cut a rounded edge on the canvas. For the wood, I used the same quarter-sawn douglas fir that I've relied on in the past. 

To create the rounded edge, the solid wood plank is passed along a router equipped with a beading bit. I would recommend using a router table to make this cut.

Here is a cross-section of the board after the bead has been routed. This is where our canvas will wrap around the edge. A bit of a gap was cut by the tool between the inner edge of the bead and the rest of the board. This will give us space to trim off the remainder with a table saw.

The bead needs to sit proud of the rest of the stretcher, holding the canvas above it. A vertical pass on the table saw will remove the flat shelf left over and the stretcher will be complete.

The complete profile closely mirrors that of many commercially-available stretchers and takes far less time to make than the older method I was using.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Charcoal on Paper 28" x 20"
This picture is available. Contact me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Storm, Sawmill Run

Storm, Sawmill Run
Oil on Canvas 13" x 26"
This painting is available. Contact me.