Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Stretching canvas

Stretching canvas

From: Nancy Pollak <nrpollak>
Date: Wednesday, July 19, 2000
Andrew T. Lenz Jr. <andrew [at] lenzarts__com> writes

>My concern is for new/recent canvases for the benefit of future
>conservators. I questioned a conservator about my concern regarding
>staples severing the threads that compose the canvas. I suggested
>perhaps using noncorroding thumb tacks (figuring these would pass
>between the threads), but he said he preferred staples and he didn't
>have any experience with thumb tacks (which he thought might not be
>strong enough) but that he sometimes used zinc tacks inserted with a

My personal preferred method of stretching canvas is to use staples,
because I feel that the action of a stapler driving a staple into
the wood is less jarring than that of driving in a tack with a
hammer, taking repeated blows to get the tack in.  I space my
staples a staple-width apart, so that each staple point is equally
spaced along the edge.  In this way, I feel the tension points along
the perimeter of the canvas are equally spaced, and, providing that
the canvas was stretched evenly, offers the most uniform tensioning
in the canvas.  I also staple through a protective strip of awning
canvas (a twill tape may also be used).  This buffers the canvas
slightly from the staples, and offers an easy release strip if
removing the staples is necessary.

Nancy Pollak,
Conservator of Paintings and Painted Textiles,
Art Care Associates

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:6
                   Distributed: Friday, July 21, 2000
                        Message Id: cdl-14-6-008
Received on Wednesday, 19 July, 2000

[Search all CoOL documents]