Moulding Newsletter December 2010

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  • July 9, 2015

The Importance Of Keyed-Out Stretcher Sets

When working in an art-related business, sooner or later a request will come up as to whether or not you are able to stretch a canvas. Some simply use strainer bars to accomplish this task, however, strainers are not considered acceptable for stretching fine art because of their inability to expand.

A more professional and functional instrument to use (especially when dealing with larger sized paintings) would be stretcher bars with keyed-out corners (and keyed-out sides if including cross bars). Keyed-out stretcher sets have been used for centuries, and for those who truly understand the characteristics and properties of how canvas behaves, it is clear that ordering these types of bar sets are, without a doubt, the only way to go.

Let’s talk for a brief moment about canvas, while considering temperature and moisture changes in the air. Canvas is constantly moving as a result of increases and decreases in temperature, as well as humidity and dryness fluctuations – increased humidity alters the canvas by loosening the tension and the canvas becomes slack

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allow one to adjust and stretch the framework, ultimately helping to keep the canvas looking top-notch and taut.

Keep in mind there are certain factors to consider regarding stretching canvas and using stretcher keys, as well as when and how to make necessary adjustments. Needless to say, education on proper use and guidelines for alterations are advised to ensure each individual canvas is being handled properly.

Foster is very passionate about quality and tradition, so it is very natural how we came to craft and offer these types of stretchers to the public, along with our stock and specialized moulding. If you have not yet tried our custom keyed-out bar sets, it may just be time, as we know you will be impressed.

Ordering Foster Canvas Stretcher Bars

Our keyed-out stretchers come in three different sizes

2″ Regular Stretcher Bar: 3/4″ x

1-11/16″
3″ Large Stretcher Bar: 1-1/16″ x 2-3/8″
3″ Bar with 1-3/4″ Cap: 1-3/4″ x 2-7/8″ (gallery wrap style)

Simply call with the dimensions of the artwork you are planning to stretch, along with the stretcher bar size you would like to use. Tongue and groove corners will be created for easy joining, along with appropriate sized keys.

Stretcher bar sets will arrive disassembled for easy shipping. (Barstock is also available by the lineal foot for those who want to create their own stretcher sets. Note: when ordering barstock, tongue and groove corners, as well as keys, will not be included).

We encourage and wish you luck with your projects!

Profile spotlight 3″ keyed stretcher bar set & a visit with a local restoration specialist

With dimensions 1-1/16″ x 2-3/8″, this highly demanded stretcher bar size can be found on the backside of our price list.

A recent visit to Aleksei Tivetsky’s Art Restoration and Conservation studio in Los Angeles, CA was very enlightening, as being a restorer & senior conservator for museums (amongst many other titles), Aleksei is accustomed to working with canvas and stretchers from various time periods. He has even worked with archeological pieces dating back to 4th Century BC.

Aleksei explained that stretchers with keyed-out sides and corners are the only choice – this style has been used as a standard in Europe for centuries, up until present day.

He offered the tip that when working with period stretchers, he stains the bar set with either an oil or water-based product, as this makes the bar set look older, helping to match the period the artwork stemmed from. When working with modern pieces, he leaves the wood on the bar set plain (unstained).

An outside look at how stretcher

keys fit inside the created slots

Example of a 17th Century European keyed-out stretcher (crossbar side)
Our mailing address is:

Foster Planing Mill
1258 W. 58th St. Los Angeles, CA 90037

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