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Old 04-29-2012, 03:28 PM
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Ramie Leigh Ramie Leigh is offline
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Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

I've poked around in the archives a bit, but the threads I was finding were from 2007 and things have surely changed lately:

Can anyone recommend a brand of heavy-duty (at least 1-1/2" deep, up to 2-1/2" is ok as well) stretcher strip that, to be frank, doesn't suck? I have been getting Fredrix bars, but my last order was just incredibly disappointing - huge splits in the wood, basically a huge 'splinter' that, if removed, would have left a chunk missing on the bead edge of the stretcher. I forced wood glue into it and clamped it. Numerous other gouges and dents. Most of the corner miters are splintery. So rough overall that I feared for my fingers and wasn't willing to get anywhere near with a piece of canvas until I'd sanded every surface. Yet the product photos make each bar look like a smooth, polished work of art. *sigh*

TO BE FAIR, I will say that all of Fredrix's corner joints are accurate - they might be splintery, but they've all been accurate. All of the corners are nice and flat on the canvas side - this was literally the only reason I didn't send back my last set. I sent back a set of Masterpiece stretcher strips for uneven corners, which brings me to my last huge gripe...

Sending them back just isn't an option - the sizes I'm dealing with (36" x 48", 48" x 60") mean that my cost to return the bars is pretty painful - within spitting distance of what I paid for the bars, last time. I can't afford to provide quality control.

So. Anybody use a heavy-duty bar that they just absolutely love? I am all ears!
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:54 PM
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libby2 libby2 is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

Yes, Commercial Art Supply has good quality stretcher strips. I've seen them in the Syracuse store, nice, much, MUCH nicer than the Fredrix's you've purchased.
Link here, more expensive than Dick Blick tho.
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Last edited by libby2 : 04-29-2012 at 05:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:58 PM
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Ramie Leigh Ramie Leigh is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

AH, I didn't know that there was a heavyweight BEST bar! Dick Blick doesn't carry it - pity, that!

Well, I truly have zero problems paying more to get a better bar. I shoot myself in the foot in some ways; I love Fredrix Watercolor Canvas to paint on, and it works great, but it's rather thin and soft - it shows every little flaw in the stretcher bars.

Thank you for the recommendation!
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:16 PM
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DaveMak DaveMak is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

Richeson makes good products and is a family owned company. They also have a great line of easals.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:40 PM
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libby2 libby2 is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

Welcome. The regular bars are nice, might want to pick up a pair when you order just to see how they look.

I didn't actually check Blick's, just figured they carried them since they seem to carry just about everything else!
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:10 PM
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Ramie Leigh Ramie Leigh is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

So I ended up between a rock and a hard place - I had a list of things I needed, Dick Blick had all of them but the bars. I angsted, I wished for the millionth time that Jerry's didn't have such high order minimums, and ultimately I ordered Dick Blick's house-brand heavy duty bar rather than pay double shipping ordering from two places.

I feel well-rewarded for the faith as it turns out; the Dick Blick bars are.. actually very good! Wow. They look like the pictures. :lol The wood is smooth. It's lighter than the Fredrix bars - pine instead of fir? - which is fine. Very smooth all over. One bar has some chipping on the end that I'll touch up, just in case it was visible through the canvas. One bar had a *very* slight bow - not visible unless you're looking for it, e.g. holding the bar up to eye level and looking down it. Flush corners, and NO SPLINTERS - my hands rejoice!

I still want to try the Richeson bars, but for the moment I'm chuffed.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:18 PM
peterpiper peterpiper is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

Raphael's has about 10 different sized stretcher bars and will do cut and joined frames or just send the bars unjoined. Their bars are all made from really nice quality US grown Basswood. help@raphaelsAP.com or call 800-881-5191 to get a catalogue of their profiles and Artist's Panels

Last edited by peterpiper : 06-17-2012 at 10:19 PM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:12 PM
Morgan411 Morgan411 is offline
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Re: Heavy-duty stretcher strips that are actually GOOD?

If you're looking for more high-end, maybe try this place http://www.midcoast.com/~twnbrook/We...Home_Page.html
I imagine they are significantly more expensive than Blick, so it might not be what you are looking for.

At some point I got tired of dealing with all the problems with stretchers and now I go to someone who makes them for me. Luckily it's a local company and I pay only a small amount for delivery.
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