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Author Topic: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?  (Read 9073 times)

Phil Indeblanc

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Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« on: January 16, 2015, 02:53:15 pm »

I've stretched canvas ages ago a few times in painting class, and applied gesso, etc...
Otherwise have always purchased prestrretched canvas to paint on.

Fast forward a few decades......
I forgot the process, and most importantly, I don't want to ruin the prints I make for clients.

If I send out my canvas prints, how much should I expect to pay per square foot on a, about 1" thick off the wall gallery wrap stretching?

OR,

Should I do them myself? order the sizes I need for the project, and practice on something that I can mess up (suggestions what to use welcome)?  How quickly can I master this?

My biggest hurdle I think would be making very clean corners of the overlapping material, and of course keeping it drum tight...I maybe need to come up with a cutting method?.....

I do need to do this in the next week to a month max.

What do you think?

(I didn't do a search for this here, ops!). Links are helpful also, but I would like personal feedback as well.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2015, 02:55:48 pm by Phil Indeblanc »
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aaronchan

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 03:19:03 pm »

Do-It-Yourself!

It is very easy as long as you have a good canvas plier.

aaron

Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 03:44:51 pm »

thanks. any suggested pliers and other sources?

I'll watch some YouTube vids I guess, but maybe some insider tips to look out for when printing to stretch?
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Mike Guilbault

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2015, 11:01:41 pm »

I use Breathing Color's "Stretch Relief" pliers. I stretch my own to maintain quality control and would never send it out.  If I can't produce it myself, it isn't offered.
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bill t.

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2015, 01:17:29 am »

Lots of good stuff on the 'tube.

There's one thing that's a little different about inkjet canvas.  The canvas painters use and inkjet canvas are only distantly related.  Most painting canvas can be stretched starting in any direction.  However, most inkjet canvases use strongly polarized weaves "optimized" (some might say "compromised") for so-called good stretching characteristics.

To save some typing, your stretching experience will be happier if you apply the first and strongest stretch along an axis that is 90 degrees to the dominant weave pattern.  If you make a 24 x 60 print on 24 inch canvas, the first and tightest stretch should be along the 60" length, which has the most "give" for stretching.  Only after you staple down each end of the 60 inch length should you then go and tension (rather than aggressively stretch) across the 24 inch axis.  IMHO.  This applies to almost all the goofy, user friendly, highly polarized, machine-like canvases that will make you feel like dying when you first see them on the wall next to real paintings.  IMHO.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2015, 01:19:26 am by bill t. »
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mark@lindquiststudios.com

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2015, 03:53:53 am »

One of the main issues of stretching your own canvas is the critical aspect of coating the print with a spray or roll on finish.  This ia a huge deal, and frequently becomes a deal breaker when attempting to do yourself.  So much to learn there and equipment and space required that it might be best to find a good guy locally and have them do it.  It is doable and can be mastered, but you need a spray room to do it right, or a clean space to roll the finish which can be tricky.

A good frame person, who can finish / stretch for you would be fantastic.

IMHO....
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vjbelle

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2015, 10:14:21 am »

As others have posted its very easy to stretch your own canvas.  However I would not be without the Pit Bull Pliers.  I checked on line and everyone is out of stock but it makes stretching extremely easy.  If you can find this pliers buy it..... don't be put off by the price - worth every penny.

Victor
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2015, 12:43:16 pm »

I see the Breathing color and the John Annesly pliers, both lock with teeth.
The video of Breathing color does make it look pretty easy.
I guess sizing the piece with the proper amount for wrap, and staple is key.

But as far as coating, wouldn't a can of the fine art sprays work? I don't mind getting a spray gun, and setting up a booth, but what do I use as the varnish with it, and is it needed?

Obviously I don't want to cloud the image, and there are pieces like portrait images, that will not be critical...most importantly I don't want a reflective surface, not even that slight luster you can see at an angle off the light...if I can help it.
 
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bill t.

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2015, 01:50:59 pm »

But as far as coating, wouldn't a can of the fine art sprays work? I don't mind getting a spray gun, and setting up a booth, but what do I use as the varnish with it, and is it needed?

The "can" fine art sprays like PremiereArt Print Shield work miracles on glossy papers, creating a very resilient surface that is completely free of bronzing and with transparency into the blacks that is far better than with uncoated prints.  Two coats gives mechanical protection that is impressive.  In addition to whatever UV protection is claimed.  However, those can "art sprays" are about useless for physical protection on matte surfaces, and the image quality of matte surfaced prints takes a big hit, IMHO.

OK, to be fair, some of the sprays you can buy a Home Depot will apply a tough surface to canvas, but with an uncertain future that may or may not including cracking, yellowing, hazing, etc.  Deft is good because it sprays a real oval pattern, but it's not longer carried at HD or Lowes.

I have used my Fuji spray system almost every day for many years and find it indispensable.  Well worth the cost over the very cheap plastic HVLP systems from Home Depot etc that, just for starters, have filters that clog so fast you never know exactly what kind of spray intensity you will get from minute to minute.  If I had to replace my present system I would probably buy this one.

The guys in that video are being far too dainty.

Unfortunately, HVLP spraying has a steep learning curve and one can blissfully create quite a few badly coated, hazy prints during the learning stages.  I wouldn't even know where to begin discussing the numerous issues involved.  Here's sound byte: there is no possible coating that will create a coated print that will not look either reflective or hazy in difficult lighting situations.  Glossy and reflective, or matte and hazy.  Pick one.

It's easy enough to make an OK surface for presentation in print-friendly locations, but when you put your magnum opus up in the reception room of Big Business Incorporated, you will find that reflections or hazing from the opposite, well windowed, south facing wall will destroy your credibility as an artist for all the movers and shakers who will visit.  You have to think about these things.  The answer?  I don't know how to create a durable piece economically, but I do know how to do it at great expense.
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mark@lindquiststudios.com

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2015, 02:17:04 pm »

Deft is extremely problematic.  Over 45 + years in woodworking, I learned that it can cause heart palpitations in certain people, even if wearing a mask, as it gets into the environment.  That being said, it is a remarkably clear coating.  I wouldn't trust my lungs to it in any environment.

If you want a simple non-invasive coating, the premier art shield will work for you if, and it's a big IF, you don't foresee the prints being moved, etc.  I have found that the effect is not as bad as Bill portrays it in terms of screwing with the wa of the print, but to each their own, of course.  All prints I have sprayed with that stuff have white showing on the corners in no time - they just can't take ANY abrasion. 

The stuff does deliver a passable "naked" canvas print, and might discourage some flaking, but it's not really a good answer.

Getting that perfect formula is really very difficult, and I whole heartedly agree with Bill, you can screw up a whole lot of great prints learning how to get there.  It's not for the faint of heart, LOL.

We have been able to find a special rolled coating that I find acceptable, but it takes a whole lot of accouterments,  heated liquids of a special mixture and special conditions to apply in a clean room, with special lighting to be able to see what's happening.



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jferrari

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2015, 02:55:50 pm »

But as far as coating, wouldn't a can of the fine art sprays work?

Sure, if you enjoy the look of cracked edges and corners.   - Jim :(
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2015, 03:31:53 pm »

I have a metal door that was galvanized metal, and I wanted to coat it. I purchased from Home Depot a pint of some varnish clear liquid that looked cloudy in the can but rolled on clear, and I applied that to one door. It was $0 and claimed it would not yellow and was designed for out door use. I wish I remembered the name, but within 2 years it yellowed, and then it cracked and I was able to pull large sheets of it off the door.  I redid part of it with Krylon clear, and it has not had an issue in 4 years. No crack, yellowing and very nice really. The doors get a beating from the sun regularly. 



So one of those 2 canvas pliers, and maybe the Premier art shield, or Krylon.... Or see if I can take it to a auto body shop. They do a lot of matte finishes these days :-)
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Larry Heath

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2015, 04:06:43 pm »

You might take a look at these guys. http://www.imageworkssupply.com/

I think they produce the bars sold through BC. You really don't need anything other than the kit to do a canvas, save a small hammer and a staple gun.
I've done a number of 40x40 wraps and they have all come out tight as a drum and seem to stay that way. For someone that isn't going to be doing a lot of wraps all the time they seem reasonably priced.

If you are going to do lots, say dozens or more a week then maybe look at this guy http://www.tensadorii.com/home

Food for thought.

Later Larry
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2015, 04:20:25 pm »

Some great advice folks, thank you.

I also appreciate the site links, I'll do a test, and see how things go. I guess the finishing coat is still a bit hazy, ha!

I know a few folks here that formulate their own coatings...maybe you guys can sell it? :-)
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mark@lindquiststudios.com

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2015, 04:38:10 pm »

I have a metal door that was galvanized metal, and I wanted to coat it. I purchased from Home Depot a pint of some varnish clear liquid that looked cloudy in the can but rolled on clear, and I applied that to one door. It was $0 and claimed it would not yellow and was designed for out door use. I wish I remembered the name, but within 2 years it yellowed, and then it cracked and I was able to pull large sheets of it off the door.  I redid part of it with Krylon clear, and it has not had an issue in 4 years. No crack, yellowing and very nice really. The doors get a beating from the sun regularly. 



So one of those 2 canvas pliers, and maybe the Premier art shield, or Krylon.... Or see if I can take it to a auto body shop. They do a lot of matte finishes these days :-)

There are several important things to consider when it comes to finishes.  Your statement about car finishes, not sure you were kidding or not.  I have a friend who is a well known painter/sculptor who uses auto body paint and does several lacquer top coats over the finished work, mostly on aluminum.  Consider that the American sculptor David Smith used car paint and car varnish on his sculptures that were outdoors for years in the 60's before museums bought them all and brought them indoors.  The colors seem to be holding quite well.

I don't know what the Smithsonian would say about it, and I just haven't bothered to ask, even though I know a few conservators there.

The issue I would caution against is the aspect of the coefficient of expansion and contraction of dissimilar materials.  This is always a problem and is at the root cause of all surface coatings - either success or failure.  They ALL fail - it's just a matter of time.  Canvas, not unlike wood is hygroscopic and absorbs the relative humidity of its environment, particularly as seasons change.  The finished print is a "sandwich" if you will, of the actual substrate, the coatings for printing on, and the ink itself.  Add to this a protective coating and specific things can go right or wrong.  The automobile coatings are meant to go over paints that share similar characteristics, and are meant to withstand not only severe light but abrasion.  It is a hard coat.  Finishes such as glamour gloss and Timeless, etc., are "soft finishes" which first dive deep and sink in, then gradually buildup surface medium hard coats, which are still very soft in comparison to the auto lacquers.

Testing is the key to all of it.  Which finish will wok for you that has the particular characteristics that will enable you to work with it to attain that sweet spot you're looking for.

It is doable, but testing and careful record keeping are required in your own "home lab", particularly as just in darkroom work, temperature is always a big factor in success or failure.

I hesitate to give advice on formulas, because I won't give information out on our own, but I can say that you can experiment with something like Timeless or Glamour Gloss, known standards, and begin doing either spray testing or roll application testing to begin to understand what is at stake in terms of what you can achieve, creating your own blend of finish that meets your eye.

My best advice is to do just that, learn what you can achieve on your own that suits you, then you can either go into production, or communicate this information to someone doing the work for you.  It's all a rabbit hole, my friend, one brand makes you smaller, one brand makes you larger and one does nothing at all.  Anything that is any good is a relatively closely guarded secret.  And when you go through what you will to get to your goal, no way will you just give your formula out either.

Your eye is the arbiter of taste when it comes to this finish kingdom....
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2015, 05:23:29 pm »

I have worked with some metal pieces (as you may has seen) with auto finishes. I was a bit tongue in cheek about it, as I didn't think I might need to go that far...Well at least for these few portraits I did.

Great stuff to read Mark, I can understand what you mean when it comes to the coatings and formulas...
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2015, 06:00:18 pm »

Btw, anyone here use the John Annesley pliers? The stretchReleif is out of stock. Maybe someone tried both?

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bill t.

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2015, 06:42:19 pm »

I used a pliers that were almost identical to the Annesley pliers.  The mechanical advantage for gripping is wonderful for those of us developing arthritic hands.  It was the straight version, I just now noticed that there are now versions with much higher angles between canvas and hand grips that might be useful for clearance when stretching gallery wraps around the back.  Have never used that variation, would want to see a video before deciding to try them.

Another thing I liked about the Annesley knock-off was the spring loaded handles that would push back to open by themselves, that's a great anti-drop feature.  Although the wide pliers now being sold by BC have great advantages as you approach the challenging corners, when I tried them they seemed extremely awkward for all the fooling around one had to do with opening and closing the vice grip mechanism.

Stretching pliers are very personal.  I know one person who swears by the cheap, wide-billed welding vice grips from Lowes.  If you have lots of extra canvas length, pliers with one or two protruding prongs allow a very easy grip and pull operation, at a cost of an inch or two more canvas than other methods require.  For most people it's just a matter of what they've gotten used to.

Of course if you really want one helluva set of canvas stretching pliers get yourself an 8 foot wide stretching machine.
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Phil Indeblanc

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2015, 09:06:05 pm »

The Annesley video is pretty bad. One angle from far and the guy in front of the work part ofi the time he is closer.

Which are the Annesley knock-offs you like, you mention?

I would be doing gallery almost all the time, but the lock getting hard to release might sound like an issue. BC has the locking feature.

I was thinking the 6" Annesley might be a good one? Unless that notch in the BC makes all the difference to getting clean corners, I would not see an advantage.

Any links are helpful.

It also sounds like my first batch will be rolling on a coat of protection.... any that are matte I should look for? Avoiding any haze, cloudiness would be key. If it lasts 20+ years without yellowing/uv stable fantastic!(although I will suggest to keep away from directSL.
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Mike Guilbault

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Re: Stretching printed canvas: Outsource or learn?
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2015, 09:59:27 pm »

I don't have much of a problem with the locking mechanism of the BC Stretch Relief pliers. They work like vice grips, so if you adjust them for the tension, they're not difficult to work with. If you tighten the tension too much, yes, they're hard to unlock, but after a while you'll get the hang of it.

I'll also 2nd Bill.t's comments about the FujiSpray system. I have the Mighty-Mite 3 he refers to and love it. I use the gravity feed canister (above the gun). It's smaller, but I've never had to refill the tank for a canvas and I've done up to 36x54 easily. Rolling takes a lot more patience, and skill... and you can still make a mistake or get dust, or roller marks... etc.

Oh... and I use Timeless by BC fro the coating.

spraying can be quite the learning curve, but not daunting. I scraped three 16x20 before getting the spray where I wanted it and although I was happy with the results after that, in the next few weeks following my technique and results were even better.  I have some spraying coming up next week I believe. I'll see if I can video it.
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