Non-adjustable stretchers (strainers)

Hi all,

I have been making my own stretchers, technically strainers since they cannot be adjusted with keys. They're stronger than standard bars at the store (since I use thicker wood and cross-brace them) and cheaper than the heavy-duty bars.

My question is, how much do paintings tend to sag over long periods of time? I'm wondering whether the cost savings will cause too much trouble 10(?) years down the line if I need to take pictures off their strainers and re-stretch them.


  • It depends on the atmospheric conditions in which the painting is kept. Where there is change between hot humid and cold dry conditions a canvas will sag and contract repeatedly. This is not good for the painting. That's why art museums try to keep conditions constant. And that's why keys are useful. It's a pain to take paintings off the strainers and re-stretch them. It's a major job you wouldn't want to have to keep doing and one best done by experts, especially if the painting is valuable. Much easier to just give the keys a tap with a small hammer. 
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