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Zenica
01-24-2010, 02:17 PM
Hey guys - this is x-posted from Plein Air.

A while ago I decided to get a different setup for stretching my papers. I was tired of the old staple and tape method. So I started shopping around for a professional stretcher board. The prices were terrible so I decided "hey I'll just make one of my own". I made blueprints of what I wanted and asked my uncle if he could make it. He's a carpenter who makes cabinets and builds his own home from scratch, (he's very handy)...

My uncle created the stretcher board that uses a clamp setup to hold paper tight to the board. It has 4 bars that are exactly the same length as the board. Each bar is screwed in place - there is a groove and a lip that provide the pressure on the paper.

I decided to make it into a Easel for plein air painting.
I installed a universal tripod mount to the bottom of the board. The board also has bars on the back so that it can be used for table painting. I use this board every day. It's easy setup and it never fails - my paper always holds flat and there is no user error with it.

The pics I am posted are really poor quality - they were taken with my old cell phone camera. My regular Sony Alpha camera is still charging.

Enjoy

Zenica
01-24-2010, 02:18 PM
More Pics

dpcoffin
01-24-2010, 10:34 PM
Looks great; nice design! I hope you'll post some clearer pix when you get your other camera going. Makes me wish I had such an uncle, or access to a shop with a bench-mounted router. Those grooves and lips are both elegant and critical; I assume that's how he made them…?

I'd think that wing nuts would be faster than plain nuts. How are the bolts held from spinning when you're tightening up the nuts?

dpc

Zenica
01-24-2010, 10:54 PM
Looks great; nice design! I hope you'll post some clearer pix when you get your other camera going. Makes me wish I had such an uncle, or access to a shop with a bench-mounted router. Those grooves and lips are both elegant and critical; I assume that's how he made them…?

I'd think that wing nuts would be faster than plain nuts. How are the bolts held from spinning when you're tightening up the nuts?

dpc

Good questions;

1st Q: Yes the grooves and lips are critical and he did in fact use a bench- mounted router. The whole clamp system - the bars are each carved from cherry the base is a combination of cherry and plywood, which is sanded, glued, nailed, and sealed. The lips apply pressure to the paper and folds it into the crack of the groove. As the soaked paper dries, it shrinks and the lips prevent it from slipping - this causes the remaining top to pull tight as a drum.

2nd Q: Yes although wing nuts would be faster, they are not nearly as strong "tight". We tried a mock-up with the wing nuts and to be honest it just didn't hold as well as the regular ones. I use my little wrench and it takes maybe 20-30 seconds of work to get it super tight.

3rd Q: The bolts are glued twice - once on the inside (under the head) and once again inside the drilled hole. They will never spin. I believe he used the same glue that is used in cabinet making, either a stronger form of wood glue, or maybe even a type of epoxy.

4th Q: Yes I will go ahead and take a few more pictures with my Sony Alpha - that way you can see how beautiful the product is.

Zen

dpcoffin
01-24-2010, 11:11 PM
Sounds better and better:) Looking forward to the pix. Interesting about the wing nuts, and makes sense; stretchers seem to be a bit more tricky than one would imagine, just thinking about them. I hope your uncle liked the project, since you'll no doubt want some more in other sizes!

Thanks for posting.

dpc

Srishti
01-25-2010, 11:59 AM
Tis is great Zenica! :clap:

Zenica
01-25-2010, 07:58 PM
Sounds better and better:) Looking forward to the pix. Interesting about the wing nuts, and makes sense; stretchers seem to be a bit more tricky than one would imagine, just thinking about them. I hope your uncle liked the project, since you'll no doubt want some more in other sizes!

Thanks for posting.

dpc

Here are the pictures you requested. I tried to show the best angles without having to take the boards apart again lol. I have two current paintings that I'm working on so you can imagine why.

BTW: I do in fact have 2 different sized boards. The first one my uncle made was the full sheet stretcher, I didn't think I'd ever needed a smaller size until I tried carrying it back and forth from classes. It is very heavy, I think at least 20lbs, and its rather bulky too. The large one has a handle, the small one does not at this moment. I have a handle for it, but I haven't felt like putting it on lol. The smaller one is half sheet sized.

*keep in mind that the boards are exactly 1.5 inches smaller than the page that needs to be stretched.

My uncle really loved the fact that I asked him to help. He was working on his house when I asked, so it gave him a much needed break from the "big project". We worked out the bugs together, messed with several sheets of arches while we attempted to create the perfect one. We beat those sheets to bits trying to see how much the paper could take. Now, when the paper is dry you can actually take the whole sheet off and it retains its form. You can take it off and do little wetting without buckles.


_____________________________________________________________

Here are the Actual measurements for the larger board in case you want to attempt this design.

The size of the Full Sheet board is as follows

Length = 20.5 in. Width = 28.5 in.

Height = 5/8ths The groove is 1/4th of an inch down from the top and 1/4th an inch diameter.

Legs give the board approx. tilt of 3 inches when tilted, up to 6 inches when flat.

There are 3 screws on each of the sides and 4 screws on the top and bottom.

This will need to be less if you are trying to make the small board. the Small board has 2 on the sides and 3 on the top and bottom. I'm not sure if you needed to know that or not, but its critical that the screws are evenly spaced around the whole board.

Note*** the size of the paper for a half sheet is exactly 15 x 22in. So if you intend to create the Smaller board - you need to cut the above mentioned sizes in half. The whole board needs to be about an inch smaller than the paper you want to stretch. You Will lose appx 3/4 of an inch when stretching, but this is the same amount you would lose if using the staple/tape method.

dpcoffin
01-26-2010, 12:11 PM
Thanks, Zenica; they're really cool!

dutch_rene
01-26-2010, 03:18 PM
They are very nice, I am impressed with your nice router edge. I just finished one of my own paper stretcher boards this weekend. My first two where based on your principle but I was not able to make a nice round edge like yours so I made two grooves on both sides and filled them with a loose rubber cord.

I used hammer in nut bolds that make it easier to screw the bolds back in and the there are no bolds sticking out. The second one I used bolds with alley key holes and that makes it much easier to turn bold's round.

If you like to see it and do not mind me adding foto's to your thread I can show it.

Rene

Zenica
01-26-2010, 05:17 PM
They are very nice, I am impressed with your nice router edge. I just finished one of my own paper stretcher boards this weekend. My first two where based on your principle but I was not able to make a nice round edge like yours so I made two grooves on both sides and filled them with a loose rubber cord.

I used hammer in nut bolds that make it easier to screw the bolds back in and the there are no bolds sticking out. The second one I used bolds with alley key holes and that makes it much easier to turn bold's round.

If you like to see it and do not mind me adding foto's to your thread I can show it.

Rene

Absolutely Rene, I would love to see your design.

I think we should ask the moderators to make this a sticky or perhaps a link from the plein-air kit section of the handbook. I looked at over 20 designs on the web before I decided on my approach. The two that most influenced my stretcher were Ken Bromley's Perfect Paper Stretcher and the BogaBoard.

Zen

Catwoman2
01-26-2010, 07:14 PM
Wow! That is incredibly cool! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Susan

Zenica
01-26-2010, 08:32 PM
Wow! That is incredibly cool! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Susan

Thanks Susan,

I love being able to sit anywhere and paint... that's one reason I wanted to make them. I used to hate the prep work with the plywood and staple method. The plywood boards get so many holes and can't be used for simple drawing. I tried the gum tape, many different staple guns, and I also tried a much more expensive product that paint stores use to hold wallpaper up while the glue sets. It is "green" not blue like painters tape, its activated by the moisture. Better known by the name brand version "Frog Tape", but I used to buy the scotch brand.

All of those things just took too much time and they are not 100% effective. These boards never let the paper warp or buckle not even when they are soaked over and over again. Also the smooth surface is great for crafting and drawing as well. I love them

Zen

dutch_rene
01-27-2010, 06:26 AM
Ok, here are some more ideas to make your own design watercolor paper stretcher.

If you have a router with less capabilities of the one used by Zenica or only a circle saw, an option can be to make a small groove in the board and the edge. I used a V shaped router bit. And filled the gap with a bit of rubber cord (this was from a old mess door) or old electrical cable. By forcing the cord between the board and edge and than thigh ting the bold, my paper gets stretched to perfection every time up to the edge of the paper.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2010/84953-RJ_rubberCord_small.jpg

By using a “Tee nut” or an “insert nut” (I called them hammer in nuts or screw in nuts yesterday because I am from the Netherlands and that is the literal translation). You only need one wrench and never loose the nut, the nut stays in the board and can not turn on its own. There is also the furniture nut, but that can come loose.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2010/84953-RJ_HammerInBoldNut_small.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2010/84953-inschroefmoer_462.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2010/84953-RJ_FurnutureBold_small.jpg


I also prefer an alley key over the regular bold. This is smoother on the outside rim. It turns much easier, especially if you have one of those IKEA key’s left.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/27-Jan-2010/84953-RJ_Aley_key_small.jpg

Rene

Zenica
01-27-2010, 06:01 PM
Rene,

I like your bolt designs better, they seem like a good option that I may add later on to replace the bolts that stick out. I'm sure the router design on yours works well too but I like the asthetic nature of the design on my boards. I did attempt to make an original design before I made the board I posted the pictures of... It's design was similar to yours by carving a groove through a sheet of plywood. I also used a jump rope to block into the hole. The problem was that I don't own a router... I have an old electric drill and a hand held "dremel" with a bunch of little sanders/etc.. It was almost impossible to hold the bit even on the wood and I burnt through several steel blades every 5-10 minutes of work. The board was really bad... I did not want to pay $200 for a good bench router to fix it.

My uncle has the tools, but he lives in a different state, way too far for me to "borrow" them. Instead, I called him up and we worked through the project with pictures and emails. My grandfather lives about 20 minutes away from my uncle so when my grandfather decided to come for Christmas, he drove down and brought the board with him.

For now, I am quite pleased with the design. I may visit my uncle soon and see if he would be willing to help me swap the bolts for ones like yours.

Zen

dpcoffin
01-29-2010, 04:06 PM
Another fascinating design; I'd though of alternatives like that for the beautiful routing of Zenica's stretchers. But it appears that neither of you considered the solution I posted here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5935520#post5935520) and then here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7988519&postcount=25) a while back, right? It's an evolving project but the basics are pretty much solved. I prefer not to have to fold the paper around the board before stretching; which is what I've always disliked about my Ken Bromley stretcher. Just laying the paper flat over the board and screwing it straight down is a lot simpler, but the two designs here look like much better solutions than hammering in a rubber cord.

My next version will even simpler to make, since I'll start with purchased cradled panels as mentioned in the latter post, like these (http://www.dickblick.com/products/american-easel-wood-painting-panels/), and add the raised central section with a sheet of hardboard cut about .75 inches smaller all around than the panels. The use of T-Nuts and socket-head screws, as shown, along with a rechargeable electric screwdriver has made my stretching process very quick and easy on the hands. I can have all three of my quarter-sheet stretchers fully loaded in about 20 minutes. My half and full-sheet stretchers (purchased Guerrila boards) are equally fast but much heavier. The next ones I make will be odd sizes (18x24 and 12x16) so I can finally use all the paper on blocks I've accumulated with NO buckling!

Incidentally, I've been doing a lot of small pieces lately for my daily-painting blog, so I just tape the stretched papers in half or quarters for these.

Just noticed your reference to the Bogaboard, which I once owned; it was clever but useless; my long struggles with this issue discussed here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=579035).

dpc

Zenica
01-29-2010, 05:08 PM
Another fascinating design; I'd though of alternatives like that for the beautiful routing of Zenica's stretchers. But it appears that neither of you considered the solution I posted here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5935520#post5935520) and then here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7988519&postcount=25) a while back, dpc

No, I didn't do a search of the forums or anything before I posted this thread. I never saw your design... I still think the moderators should put all of those basic "diy paper stretchers" into their own little section of the handbook. That way it would be easier to take notice of brilliant solutions such as yours.

I think your design is a lot easier to build without a need of special tools, but I guess I am still partial to my design. I don't mind having to fold the paper over... it seems easy to me. I used to have so much work trying to prevent the buckled paper. I refuse to work on it because the paint tends to pool in the spaces. I don't have to worry about that with these. Either way you go, the solutions prevent it. I flatten the paper back after im done, the frame normally hides it anyway so there is no issue for me.

Zen

dpcoffin
01-29-2010, 05:15 PM
… I guess I am still partial to my design.

I would be too, if I had access to a router! Yours are beautiful pieces of gear, while my collection of home-made stretchers is pretty motley and looks home-made, and I have to cut away the paper edges afterwards. But it's an easy to implement solution at least! And I'm certainly delighted to see others working on the problem; mostly what I hear here is "Buckling? What buckling? I never stretch…"

dpc

dutch_rene
01-30-2010, 04:24 AM
Hi dpc, I just made my own "Ken Bromley" stretcher last weekend, I had to try. I used cable from a old computer mouse to hammer in the groove. I only stretched one paper and my first findings are that I have to handle the paper to much.

I also saw your design and had already a bit of alu. strip in my hand to try to make one. I like it because I figured out that there was no routing involved. Just gluing two boards to getter. I just have to find the flathead bolds in a shorter length, preferring a flat upper surface and not to have things sticking out on top

all the best Rene

dpcoffin
01-30-2010, 11:47 AM
Too much paper handling is exactly why I didn't like my Bromley stretcher, either; very awkward. I look forward to seeing your new discoveries!

Zenica
01-30-2010, 03:36 PM
I would be too, if I had access to a router! Yours are beautiful pieces of gear, while my collection of home-made stretchers is pretty motley and looks home-made, and I have to cut away the paper edges afterwards. But it's an easy to implement solution at least! And I'm certainly delighted to see others working on the problem; mostly what I hear here is "Buckling? What buckling? I never stretch…"

dpc

Oh I don't know, "home-made" is great if it works. I tried a lot of different approaches too. I am really blessed to have such a talented Uncle. Every time I look at these boards I just crave to stretch a new sheet. When it had arrived I couldn't stop looking at it. I really wanted to see and know how he made it... every part....


"mostly what I hear here is "Buckling? What buckling? I never stretch…"

I don't get how anyone could deal with that.. Maybe if they were doing a wash or something and were hanging it up so that it would run and blend.. but for the serious bits, details and the final touches it seems to get in the way. I hate the bucking at any stage of my work. I also hate the "prep" work that comes before the first layer of paint. All I want is to get it done - to see the beauty as it comes together.

Z

Zenica
01-31-2010, 01:33 AM
dpc

DPC,

I just got through looking at your designs. I only skimmed a bit the first time around; my brain wasn't 100% available at that time. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what you actually had going with these boards; somehow it does seem a whole lot more complicated... The idea actually saves a lot more paper than my stretchers do; but is it really complicated to get the paper stretched? I couldn't tell from your descriptions...

The process for my boards is simple.

1. soak paper
2. slap paper across board
3. pinch corners slightly
4. tighten bolts
5. Paint

Do you have to pierce the paper for each bolt? Mine doesn't leave any damage to the edges except that I have to re-flatten the little bit that's pinched into the board. Easy fix if you have a ton of books - or an iron a towel and a brown paper bag. I don't have to cut off the edges unless I am lazy or if I want to re-size the painting.

Your boards surely are something I could build - even as a novice "builder"... I think an every-day person would be able to build yours... It leaves a lot for customization - you could make them any way you wanted....

My boards on the other hand are more for those who just want something that gets a ton of "oohs and ahs" like plein air - or just "showing off" artsy style - you could find a cabinet maker somewhere in the yellow pages. I'm not sure how much cheaper that would be - but at-least its an "option". I would never pay the price for the Ken Bromley board - since I'm pretty sure it doesn't solve the issues I was having.

Or perhaps : for the crazy folks like me, find a relative who is well known at their local home improvement store. Lucky for me my uncle got his bench router the Christmas before I thought of this crazy scheme.

I'm glad to see that others hate even the slightest buckle. For a while I thought I was the "lone buckle hater"..

Zenica

dpcoffin
02-01-2010, 01:25 PM
My boards do appear to be a little more complicated to use than yours or Rene's, Zenica. My steps are identical except for the pinching, for which I substitute a hole-poking step, very fast and easy with a pencil or brush tip since the paper's soaking wet. But I do have to remove and then replace the edge strips, while you can probably just loosen your side strips, so that's no doubt the biggest difference in the process.

But being able to reclaim undamaged paper edges is an advantage, I'm sure. Altho for me it wouldn't be worth doing, because I like to create a half-inch or so removable tape border around all my work, so I'd cut off the folded edges anyway with a system like yours. Even without taping, I think I would; I always did with the Bromley stretcher I have; the groove added to the fold was way too deep to consider pressing it out. I should think it would be on yours, too, but you say you've managed it, right? Impressive!

Poking the holes is actually a critical part of my devices working, not just a side effect. Having the bolts go through the paper helps hold the paper in place while tightening so the strips will actually apply tension across the paper while tightening it into the recessed edge, not just downward pressure which wouldn't be sufficient to eliminate buckles on its own, just as the routed grooves do on your devices. I actually never considered trying to save the edges, since my experience with other stretchers proved that the paper has to be deformed, not just clamped, to provide that essential cross-wise tension.

My design goal was a stretcher I could make myself with the least possible cost, time and fuss. I wanted it to be an easy decision to make a new one, not a major event, and that goal has been met, sort of. I have the materials to make several more in sizes I'll use, but it's still a bit of a project since I have to set up outside, which is rarely possible in the winter here. So, I still often revert to making do with buckling blocks for some smaller pieces, as I have for nearly 40 years. Oh, well; it can be done!

I do think your design is both smart and gorgeous and that it'd be an ideal solution for anybody with a handy workman/workshop or the means to hire a crafts-person to build one, though I doubt that would ever be cheaper than buying something ready-made. You should put together a set of plans; bet you'd sell some!

dpc

dpcoffin
02-01-2010, 01:37 PM
I would never pay the price for the Ken Bromley board - since I'm pretty sure it doesn't solve the issues I was having.

I don't like my Bromley, but only because it's so awkward to use. It does the job very well once I've managed to get the paper on there. It also wastes a lot of paper, so I never use it any more.

For the benefit of any other readers who might be following this thread, here's (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8085345#post8085345) a link to another thread in which I detail my experiences with the many ready-made stretchers I've tried and how they work. Bottom line: Of those I've tried, only the Bromley and the Guerilla boards work perfectly, and the Guerilla's work best. But expensive! And heavy…

dpc

Zenica
02-02-2010, 05:58 PM
I should think it would be on yours, too, but you say you've managed it, right? Impressive!
dpc

Yes it's possible to reclaim the edges. Sometimes I do it, other times like you I just use a "taped" boarder and cut the rest off. It really depends on how I feel at the moment. I tend to get lazy after I have completed a piece that was "frustrating"... If it has taken a long time to complete - I don't have the patience to deal with it. Most of the time my stuff is completed in a few hours so I do take that little time to "fix" the edges again. All it takes is a little bit of downwards pressure, sometimes steaming with a hot iron on the back part of the edges does it.

There have been times when I have completed a piece even before the initial soaking has dried. On those times - I can just undo the clamps and set a few books on it overnight and it is flat again.

Z

dpcoffin
02-02-2010, 07:49 PM
Sounds great; I'm sure many more folks would use stretchers if they could experience them first. I'm taping up around all of mine right now; I like to have them at the ready:)

dpc