How to Use Timber Wedges for Canvas

Written by kim blakesley Google
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How to Use Timber Wedges for Canvas
Make slight adjustments to the tension of a canvas with timber wedges. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A tight painting canvas is desired when an artist is preparing the canvas for painting. A wedge is used to tighten the canvas on a set of stretcher bars. Wedges are made from plastic, wood and timber. The small wedges are placed along the stretcher bar edges that come in contact with the canvas. This is done from the back side of the stretched canvas. Only minimal alteration of the tension is adjusted in this manner.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Stretcher bars
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tape measure
  • Canvas
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Timber wedges
  • Tack hammer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Slide the grooves of the four corners of the stretcher bars together. Tap each 90-degree angle corner with a rubber mallet to ensure a tight fit.

  2. 2

    Measure from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. Remember the measurement. Repeat the process with the top left corner and bottom right corner. Compare measurements. Manipulate the stretcher bars until the frame has the same measurement in both directions. This ensures the squareness of the stretcher bars.

  3. 3

    Measure, mark and cut a piece of canvas that is 4 inches larger than the height and width of the stretcher bars. Place the canvas on a clean flat work surface. Center the stretcher bars on the canvas.

  4. 4

    Fold the centre top down over the stretcher bars. Staple the canvas to the back of the stretcher bar frame. Pull the centre bottom of the canvas so it is taught at the middle point. Flip the canvas up and over the stretcher bars. Staple into place. Repeat the process with the centre mark on each side.

  5. 5

    Turn the canvas so a long edge is along a horizontal axis. Alternate stapling the top edge of the canvas to the stretcher bar frame. Fold the canvas down and over the top of the stretcher bar frame. Alternate stapling the canvas to the stretcher bars from one side of the centre staple to the other. Repeat the process across the length of the frame.

  6. 6

    Staple the bottom edge of canvas to the stretcher bar frame. Pull the canvas taught below the first staple to the left of the staple in the centre. Staple the canvas into place. Pull the canvas taught below the first staple to the right of the centre staple. Repeat the process across the length of the board.

  7. 7

    Turn the canvas so a short edge is along a horizontal axis. Alternate stapling the top edge of the canvas to the stretcher bar frame. Fold the canvas down and over the top of the stretcher bar frame. Alternate stapling the canvas to the stretcher bars from one side of the centre staple to the other. Repeat the process across the length of the frame.

  8. 8

    Staple the bottom edge of canvas to the stretcher bar frame. Pull the canvas taught below the first staple to the left of the staple in the centre. Staple the canvas into place. Pull the canvas taught below the first staple to the right of the centre staple. Repeat the process across the length of the board.

  9. 9

    Slide the timber wedges between the canvas and stretcher bar at the indicated slots or approximately 1 inch in from each corner. Adjust the canvas to the desired tension by gently tapping the timber wedges with a tack hammer.

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