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stapleless canvas art stretching?

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by FM Framer, May 10, 2017.

  1. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I know there are "gadgets" out there for canvases - none of which I have used........so I'll ask here.

    I have a very good customer that only has originals framed. He called and left a message asking if if there is a way to stretch a 72" x 96" piece without using staples or other metallic / non metallic fasteners that would pierce the canvas.

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  2. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I've seen stretched canvases that have a slit/groove on the back of the stretcher and the canvas is held in place with a piping cord. No idea where to get them though.
  3. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I've seen them but like you, have no idea where they are from.......
  4. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Sounds like a door/window screen...

    But it's still going to permanently alter the canvas. If you use that method, and take the canvas off a hundred years from now I will guarantee (no money back though) that the canvas will have been physically altered as much as if it had been stapled. Maybe even worse, because of the severity of the bends from the piping being inserted into the groove.

    Why does this guy not want any penetrating fasteners?
    Jim Miller likes this.
  5. tedh

    tedh PFG, Picture Framing God

    Artex Picture Frame manufacturers in Carlsbad Springs, just east of Ottawa, shut down maybe 12 years ago, and put their efforts into a design of just that.

    Here's a link: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/8413356.html

    I have no idea what became of them.
  6. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Probably something he read on the internet.....
    David - would you mind answering a wood question that is not frame related?
  7. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The piping/groove method is one I have seen, but I think it requires a dedicated machine.
    Don't think you can do it do it easily by hand.
  8. Andrew Lenz Jr.

    Andrew Lenz Jr. MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    No, it doesn't require a special machine. It just requires a blunt chisel and a mallet to hammer the rubber strip into the groove in the wood. I've seen videos filmed in Southeast Asia. Some cheaper brands of commercial artist canvas are done that way overseas, though some of those brands have moved away from that since it's harder for a customer to re-stretch should the canvas be removed from the bars.

  9. CB Art & Framing

    CB Art & Framing SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The "splined" canvases I've seen also have some staples.
    I'm pretty sure the Mona Lisa has some type of nails or staples:)
    How about stainless steel staples along very edges?
    How did the artist attch the canvas e when painting?
    aangles likes this.
  10. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes. You could do it. I've done it. It helps if you have five arms. :confused: Doing an eight-foot canvas this way would be a .....eerrrrrr, 'challenge'. :confused:

    The trad way is copper tacks. Staples are easier but not as 'arty'.

    I'd say that 99.99999% of all the stretched canvases in history have some sort of penetrating fixing. It's a time-honored
    tried and tested method so why worry? :D

    btw. The Mona Lisa is on a wooden panel, so no tacks. It might have a few nails around the back though. o_O

    MATTHEW HALE CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    That's a silkscreen frame - not sure who started using them for artist canvas but I've seen a lot of inexpensive mass-produced canvases done that way. You could do it using the same tools used for installing window screen but i'd hate to try to do that on an 8' canvas. I'm curious why the client doesn't want staples or tacks. Like others have mentioned here, about a gazillion canvases have been done that way throughout the course of history.
  12. BlackSquirrel

    BlackSquirrel Grumbler

  13. aangles

    aangles CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    72 x 96"??? That's YUGE to mount WITH staples or tacks, let alone without. Maybe they should just hang it like a tapestry....or paper the wall with it. :D
    prospero likes this.
  14. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I've done larger 72 x 160 ish with no issues

    Black Squirrel - I've seen those clip/clamp style aluminum frames in a few places - mainly promotional firms that also do vehicle wraps. but that would never fly for this client unless I custom milled a giant cap to cover the metal.......
    aangles likes this.
  15. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    He said he will drop by later next week with his piece and I will update this post.
  16. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I don't mind trying.
  17. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    If it's a case of the customer not wanting to see staples/tacks along the sides, you could always
    staple into the back. A bit more awkward than fixing to the sides but if you have a helper (or two)
    it's a perfectly sound method.
  18. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    The groove and spline method comes from the furniture industry, chair rattan caning.

    The real question is the lifecycle and reversibility of any procedure. Will rubber/plastic last 100 years? Probably not. What damage might be done during the replacement process? What damage might be done as the spline deteriorates?

    Stainless steel and copper fasteners are a known factor.
    This is another situation where a little knowledge by a client can be dangerous to their wishes.
    Scott Danger and Rick Granick like this.
  19. Scott Danger

    Scott Danger Grumbler

    Splined canvases are a neater looking way to stretch, but they have a hidden flaw that isn't obvious at first.

    The video makes the case for splined canvases being restretchable, contrary to popular belief. This is true, and once you've removed the cord from the spline, you can restretch using a back-stapling method, like a gallery wrapped canvas. But at 0:41 in the video, note that he cuts the corner off entirely. Splined canvas stretches do not accommodate corner folds. The flush corner is achieved by cutting and removing the canvas along the edge join and wrapping it around.
    Removing it leaves you with something akin to this along the perimeter of the canvas [ignoring section 4, and section 3 would be larger and in proportion for the purpose of my example]:
    Long story short: Splining it would mean cutting out the corners of the canvas. You also need the appropriately mitered out stretcher bars. And the staple that holds the cord in place at the bottom of the groove also penetrates the canvas, although the majority of it is a friction fit and you use a ton less staples.

    I think I've stretched close to a thousand canvases by now, and at least half were restretches. A good portion of those were originally splined, and I can say definitively that I hate splines.
    FM Framer likes this.
  20. prospero

    prospero SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    All-in-all splining is a typical case of reinventing the wheel. It works up to a point, but plastic does deteriorate.
    I'd say give it ten years and it's going to be very crumbly. Ok for for photo prints of the 'wall furniture' ilk, but for
    proper art it's not really acceptable.
    Scott Danger likes this.
  21. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Note that the perspective of this framer in the video is of a person who is a manufacturer of production art for resale. He does not handle high priced or historical items. Did you see that the face of the art was moved on the table?

    A further inspection of the YouTube site noted this other clip. This indicates that the shop is a manufacturer of unpainted canvases destined for use by artists.

    An OSHA alert..... look at the canvas spooling workers with corded name ID badges dangling from their necks.
    Last edited: May 17, 2017
    Scott Danger likes this.
  22. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Sorry for the delay - I was in Philadelphia
    My non framing wood question:
    A good friend of mine asked me if I wanted any Pecan wood from a very large tree she has to have taken down. I said yes - I'd like to have the trunk in one piece to have resawn into fairly wide thick pieces for "projects". Can you give me an idea of what the drying time would be for natural air drying of a 3" or 4" thick piece about 18"-24" wide & 110" long? I am also going to give some of the larger pieces to wood hobbyists/turners at a local makerspace.
    I cannot see having the tree removal folks turn it into firewood or landfill waster
  23. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    A 3-4" thick plank of any kind of wood will take a very long time to dry. I don't have much experience with air drying, but my guess is at least 2 years, possibly as many as 4. Part of this will be dependent on the consistency of environment. If you're going to store it in a heated/cooled living space it will be quicker than having it in a shed.

    Hickory/pecan moves a lot, so I would expect a piece that thick to twist/cup and/or split fairly significantly. I don't believe anyone commercially saws it any thicker than 2".

    One thing I would highly recommend is painting the ends to reduce moisture transfer out the end grain. This will reduce the likelihood of end splitting as the ends will dry faster than the middles if water is allowed to evaporate out the open pores. You also want to keep the drying rate as slow as possible, especially once you get near the Fiber Saturation Point (about 25% MC) to minimize the warping/cracking.
  24. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Thanks for the info!
  25. wpfay

    wpfay Angry Badger

    Also on the off track conversation.
    I had a pecan tree removed from my neighbor's yard (absentee owners and I act as part time manager) and asked the same question. I was advised that Pecan twists as it grows and does as David mentions when sawn and dried. Getting long, flat boards from it is difficult.
    David, have you used PEG to treat the end grain, or attempted any curing using PEG?
  26. David Waldmann

    David Waldmann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I have no experience with PEG. We only deal with material that has already been KD'd, or at most buy green and send to a professional kiln.

    From my limited knowledge, you would want (or maybe need) to treat the entire piece. IIRC it's a soaking process, so you would need a vat large enough to fit the entire piece in.
  27. FM Framer

    FM Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    The update:
    He came in this afternoon with his canvas - it was rolled around the outside of a 24" sonotube then covered in many layers of paper and dense bubble wrap.
    The decision is to go with a conventional gallery wrap.

    David - thanks for the pecan answer - I am dropping off a variety of the limbs with crotches per the wood turners' request for projects.
  28. NewHopePhoto

    NewHopePhoto Grumbler in Training

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