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Canvas Stretching

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by David Hewitt, Feb 15, 2019.

  1. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Looking for a video on canvas stretching. A theory on how to stretch canvas, starting from the ends and working to the center, rather than starting at the centers and working out to the ends.
    It was offered by a fine art conservancy.
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  2. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I understand what you are asking; however, there is less propensity to have puckering if you start from the center. If you are stretching inkjet prints there might even be more puckering with the method you want to use (stretchy fabric).
  3. MnSue

    MnSue SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Midwest conservation center teaches..
    center out
    they have repaired so many over pulled centered on oils and acrylics.
    so again it is about WHAT you are stretching, sometimes more that how to do it...
  4. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Tack centers & then corners.
  5. echavez123

    echavez123 MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Been starting from the corners for the last 12 years. Prior to that, I was starting from center. Find your own method and stick to it.
    alacrity8 and tedh like this.
  6. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Thanks to all of you for your responses.
    I personally do it both ways myself, depending
    on the material being used.
    But in the video that I am looking for, they gave the specific reasoning behind the method, it's the facts of that reasoning or theory that I am looking for.
    As I recall it had a lot to do with stress factors introduced to the entirety of the material.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  7. Rob Markoff

    Rob Markoff PFG, Picture Framing God

    shayla and David Hewitt like this.
  8. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I have been stretching canvases for 50 years now.
    One of my earliest jobs in Chicago in 1969 was stretching piles of Mexican canvases all day.

    I stretch them all by hand.
    I can feel the tension and I have done so many that I just know how to do it.
    We have a canvas stretching machine but nobody uses it.

    We just got in about 10 huge canvases to stretch...
    And then there's this problem....:confused:
    Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 7.12.04 PM.png Screen Shot 2019-02-15 at 7.12.36 PM.png IMG_7549.JPG

    Just kidding...:p
    We stretch the big ones in our back shop building which used to be an auto shop and there are large garage doors to move out the big stuff.
    The back shop building still has the 3 hydraulic auto lifts on the floor but they are under the work tables now.
    It also has a giant compressor in a back room (so we don't have to hear it run if we're working back there).

    When we took over this auto shop behind our frameshop, I wanted to actually build the work tables on top of the Hydraulic lifts so we could raise or lower them if needed, but we just built tables over the top of them.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    prospero likes this.
  9. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Thank You Rob, thats who I was looking for. I have taken many of your classes, (THANK YOU for that) that is where I must have been introduced to Mr. Bernstein.
    Best to you and Barb.
    shayla likes this.
  10. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ah, those cheap Balinese canvases which were painted out of square... Fond memories of my worst one ever:rolleyes:

    It was on thin fabric, definitely not art canvas and was a series of painted masks in very thick impasto laid out in a grid pattern and it was out of square by a good 3". When I had positioned it as best as I could I called the customer and told him the problem and his immediate response was "It wasn't out of square when we brought it in..."

    Long story short there was enough spare fabric so they ended up having it wrapped instead of framing it so that the crookedness was a bit less noticeable.
    neilframer likes this.
  11. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    Actually, this canvas was painted "almost square".
    But, it wouldn't fit out the regular door...:eek:

    Except that we have bigger garage doors to get it out.
    Now, if the customer just has a regular size door at their house, good luck to them...:p
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  12. luna

    luna Grumbler in Training

    This is the article I was thinking of! I only stretch canvases using this method. Primed, unprimed, linen, cotton - tack starting center out, then stretch starting corners in. Never had a problem with puckering, and the fact that this way the warp and weft threads are kept more perpendicular makes a much nicer drum sound when I tap the finished canvas.

  13. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I guess an old dog, me, can learn some new tricks.
  14. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The term 'stretching' is misleading. On a painted canvas you really should avoid stretching as far as possible.
    The ideal is to get it flat enough so it doesn't flap about but not under huge tension.

    Different matter with unpainted canvas. That's when you need the pliers. o_O
    shayla likes this.
  15. Frances M.

    Frances M. CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I currently have 2 paintings that were removed from stretchers for shipping and need to be re-stretched. Sides are painted and owner wants gallery wrapped - how would pinning work with that situation? Seems like pinning on painted sides would make a mess there but there won't be enough canvas to use pliers well around to the back. Suggestions?
  16. David Hewitt

    David Hewitt CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Normally you won't need pliers, pull by hand, pin on back, then staple.
    I like to work on a flat surface covered with a plastic sheet, (makes your pull smoother) lay canvas face down go from there.
    Why face down? Because you won't have to fight gravity forces, this is especially helpful on large material.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  17. Frances M.

    Frances M. CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Thanks - plastic a good idea. It's the hands which are starting to be a problem due to some tendonitis!
  18. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    I couldn't stretch well by hand. Not strong enough. Have you ever tried adding Beva strips to a canvas? Does this have any extra fabric out past the image?
  19. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've had a few 'holiday' canvases that people have un-mounted for transport. Sometimes they are
    so-called gallery wraps and they want them back as they were. I find it almost impossible, even if
    they have the original stretchers. Stapling into the back is a bit awkward too.
  20. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I learned by tacking the centers then working out from center a few staples then 180 degree rotating. My framer does it similarly but he tacks the centers, then the corners, then works out from the centers like mentioned. Seems likely to have reason to it. Also makes me wonder what those "Tensador" or other canvas stretching machines do, and if that is better or worse for original paintings.
  21. neilframer

    neilframer PFG, Picture Framing God

    I just stretched another 10 large canvases on Friday.
    6 - 36" x 48" and another 4 that were larger than that.
    I stretch by hand with stretching pliers or just my hands.

    I also start by centering and tacking the centers.
    Then I pull towards the corners and I put in temporary staples shot in on an angle so I can easily pull them out later as I get to the corners.
    Once I get the centers done and the corners pulled, I always stand the canvas up and I work on it standing up, not flat on the table.
    If you stretch the canvas while it's flat on the table, you are fighting gravity that wants the canvas to sag in the middle.

    I then stretch from the center towards the corners but always pulling on an angle towards the corners, not just a straight pull.
    I hesitate to post this because someone will post that they start from the corners and go towards the middle and someone else will post that they start halfway between the middle and the corner, etc.o_O
    I can only say that (I've been doing it for 50 years now), I and we stretch tons of large canvases all of the time and they go to the customers and they don't come back.;)
    Do whatever works for you.

    Many of these canvases are going into floater frames for hospitals and businesses.
    I try to always do gallery wraps, even if the canvas has a regular frame, I still staple on the back if there is enough canvas to do so.
    On many of the gallery wrap canvases that are getting floaters, we have to paint the sides of the gallery wraps black.
    Some of the gallery wrapped canvases have a mirror image that allows us to just wrap the mirror image over the sides.

    I've got another 10 of these canvases waiting for me at work tomorrow and they're due at the hospital for installation on Wednesday.:cool:
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  22. Frances M.

    Frances M. CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    It has plenty of canvas if I were to staple on the sides but not enough for me to get the pliers to work for stapling in the back. Unless I'm doing something wrong with the 3 different sets of pliers...
  23. shayla

    shayla WOW Framer

    If you've not checked out Beva stripping, you might want to. Rob Markoff is a guru thereof, (and it's also a good idea to use his pre-tacking idea when stretching the canvas, using metal tacks).
    To do it, you need a roll of Beva film (from Talas or Gaylord), canvas the same (ish) weight as that of the piece, and a tacking iron. It's not hard to do, and is a great help for jobs like this.
    Is this canvas wide enough that it can wrap down the side and at least a wee bit around the back?
  24. Frances M.

    Frances M. CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I took Rob's class last year. I have a pretty good amount of canvas and will be using slightly shallower stretchers so it might be ok but probably not as much as I would like for the pliers. I just don't find gallery wrapping easy unless I have enough canvas that I can brace against the inside of the stretcher and I won't have quite that much. It'll get done, one way or the other.
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