Do any of you have experience making canvas stretcher bars?

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Forum topic by jcn posted 06-17-2010 07:19 PM 7411 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 3085 days

06-17-2010 07:19 PM

In case you don’t know what a canvas stretcher bar is (I didn’t until just a few weeks ago) they’re wooden slats that are cut a certain way so they easily lock into 90 degree joints for the purpose of making frames that a painter will stretch canvas over. They’re made in a particular way so they fit together nice and tight. It’s pretty clever, and just looking at them it looks like they’d be very easy to make. But I’m not really confident enough to just go for it, I’d like to have some idea what the series of cuts is.

Several of my friends are painters, and they complain about how expensive the prefab bars are, and how they are generally cheap and flimsy. It would be cool (and maybe profitable) if I were to start making a few out of sturdy wood.

This is what they look like:

4 replies so far

View lew's profile


12329 posts in 3904 days

#1 posted 06-17-2010 07:41 PM

I would think that with a table saw, router and a couple of dedicated jigs you could easily make production runs of these.

Maybe something similar to a picture frame spline jig and a 45 degree miter jig. I think I would do the cuts that are parallel to the stock length first the the 45 degree cuts across the grain next. Just my thoughts.

Here are a couple of examples:

EDIT: you’ll probably have to rip off a section of the stock to provide the material to form the “rounded lip”. I think the rounded lip could be created with a beading bit.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View a1Jim's profile


117242 posts in 3726 days

#2 posted 06-17-2010 07:47 PM

Lew’s suggestions will work and you could also just use a standard tenoning jig and miter each side in your miter gauge on the table saw.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3395 days

#3 posted 06-17-2010 07:53 PM

I’ve made them out of popular brick molding. Didn’t bother with the whole tenon miter thing. Just mitered them and ran a dowel through the joint to reinforce it. Quick, easy, cheap and it works. The premade ones are cheap pine and don’t hold up very well, as your friends have told you.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View lew's profile


12329 posts in 3904 days

#4 posted 06-18-2010 03:52 AM

Jim’s answer is better. I always tend to over-engineer everything, making life more difficult than it has to be.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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