A life of stretcher bar manufacture
"Them thingies, erm.........woody things, woodies (*LOL), that do the thing to your canvas. You know? spread them"
"Yes that's them, Wedgers"
*Actual conversation I have had.....
Wedges, keys, wooden things, woodies or wedgers, call them what you like, but you get them in mostly all stretcher bar suppliers stretcher bars, but, what are they and what do they do? Why are some plastic? Why are some wood? Well you know, the answer is simple. But i'm going to write a whole post on it anyway. So strap yourself in because today we're talking about Woodies (*still LOL), erm, I mean Wedges.
Noun - A block of solid material, especially wood or metal, that is shaped like a narrow "V" in cross section and can be pushed or driven between two objects or parts of an object in order to split or secure them.
Source - Dictionary.com
Not to be confused with......
When ones underwear is grabbed by the waistband and pulled up as high as it can go
"Man my friend gave me the most painful wedgie and my boxers ripped it went up so high"
Source - Urban Dictionary
Although putting in wedges too tight into your stretcher bars may cause other material to rip, there is no associated physical pain. Just mental pain if its an expensive piece of art that you've just ruined. In fact, I can't decide what's worse.
So, come on, what are they? What do they do?
Firstly, don't throw them away or use them for something else. Although there may be an overwhelming temptation to build a small scale replica of Stonehenge on your office table with them. Don't do it.
However, so overwhelming the urge may be, you actually google a picture of an aerial view of Stonehenge. Then only dismiss "making grass and dirt", because "it'll be a bit messy".
So absolutely overwhelming the urge may be, you may justify that this "is serious work" for a blog, over "That'll be cool"............................Yes, yes.............I did this.
Ladies and Gentlemen. I proudly present to you. "Wedgehenge"
Seriously, I did this. I'm actually quite proud........
Wedgehenge aside wedges are an integral tool to use in your canvas stretching tool box. There are plenty of canvas stretching companies out there that do not supply them with the finished artwork and even not bother to use them at all. Which is wrong. Wedges are used to stretch the canvas to hold the tension or to re-stretch the canvas if it sags. Besides not being able to build a miniature replica of Stonehenge, when the customer's canvas goes slack, which it will, over time, they have no way of re-stretching it. See my saggy canvas post. All customers should be advised on re-stretching with wedges. It's easy. Whether you use a machine to stretch canvas on or use pliers or some other device. Use the wedges and advise the customer. Also advise the customer to build Wedgehenge. Do that too. You can thank me later.
Wedges come in plastic or wood. Let me get this out there first. Although they kinda do the job they are supposed to, plastic wedges do not contract or expand with the wood and they are more likely to fall out. Ok. Got that? Good. Plus, you cant make Stonehenge out of plastic wedges. So that's half an hour of your life filled with misery.
You'll get either two or one wedge for use per corner of the frame, depending on the stretcher bar supplier that you use. Either, or, is fine. We use two for each corner, because that's how our machine works.
So you've stretched your canvas with your pliers, machinery, device, foot and all's good eh? Well, turn over your canvas so its back is facing you. See the holes in the corner of the stretcher bars about half way down the side of the bar? Go ahead and slide your wedges in there. Small side first. Give them a tap with a hammer. Don't go all THOR!, just a tap. This should hold the tension you've made. Want more tension? Go ahead and tap more. Do each corner at a time and try to tap with around the same force for each corner. That's it. Simple.
Now, print off a detailed aerial view of Stonehenge and give your customer exactly 47 spare wedges. That's Wedgehenge done. Along with that, explain to your customer how to re-stretch the canvas, this would also help. But most importantly give them enough for Wedgehenge. No glue required. Just wedges.
So that's it.
That's just about all you need to know about wedges. To be fair I could have just posted the following.
"Wedges are small wedges of board, wood or plastic put into the corner of a stretcher bar to prevent or adjust sagging"
But where's the fun in that. I built Wedgehenge people! Wedgehange! This is a worlds first. I should be on "You Bet" - "I can make Stonehenge out of stretcher bar wedges in under 1 hour".