Art Crating offers three stretcher designs that are the most common high quality stretchers used by painters and conservators today.
Our Fixed Stretchers, Professional Expansion Stretchers, and Tenon & Joint Stretchers are constructed in basswood, employing quality expansion hardware and aluminum angle mending plates for applicable stretchers.
Our stretchers are exclusively made of basswood for its unique properties. Basswood has a straight grain that is notably stable when dry, making it less susceptible to changing shape. It does not commonly have knots or other deformities, and its uniform texture and density make it an excellent wood for shaping and finishing. It is also a medium density wood, making it light and easy to handle even in large format. For these reasons, basswood is a preferred wood for building musical instruments and our choice for high quality stretchers.
This is an excellent all-around stretcher for stretching both canvas and linen. With a tongue and groove joined, two-part opposing grain frame and reinforcing crossbars, this native American basswood stretcher offers both structural integrity and economy. This stretcher can also be made in sections that are joined by aluminum angle mending plates for convenience in moving.
This is an excellent stretcher for large format paintings and allows painters to adjust the tension of the surface without having to take out staples and restretch. It is also a good stretcher for existing paintings, which may have delicate surfaces or uneven registration, as it allows for fine adjustments without overstretching. With the same strong opposing grain frame as the fixed stretcher, the PES can be expanded after stretching with the simple twist of a ball joint, located in each mitered corner and where all crossbars meet the frame. This stretcher can be taken completely apart in lengths or divided by a joint, and can also be made in sections with aluminum angle mending plates.
A favorite with conservators who are replacing old stretchers, this stretcher can be adjusted without any staple removal as the keys are easily accessible from the back and can be tapped in with a mallet or hammer to expand the stretcher and add tension to the surface area of the painting. As with the Professional Expansion Stretcher, the Tenon & Key is recommended for delicate and difficult to stretch paintings. Tenon joints are utilized in every joint of this L-shaped stretcher with wooden keys at each joint for expansion. It can also be taken apart completely and made in sections that are joined with aluminum angle mending plates.