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Framing a stretched canvas that’s 5 degrees off

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Leanne Moss

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I purchased a 18”x36” gallery wrapped canvas canvas from Jerry’s, painted my landscape, only to realize once it was finished that it’s not perfectly square. The vertical stretcher bars appear to be 5° off in either direction.

The painting is landscape orientation, and the left side seems to be 85°, and the right side seems to be 95°.

I’m trying to find out what would be the easiest way to frame this with a ready-made open back frame, that would hide the very subtle distortion. You almost can’t tell it’s off, but I don’t feel right selling it as it is. I initially painted the sides (1.5”deep) so that it could be hung or displayed without a frame. I don’t feel confident selling it unframed with the flaw.

I frame a lot of pieces myself, with ready made frames from Jerry’s and install my canvas, wire backs, the basics. I’m looking for a way to frame this larger canvas without having it custom framed. Any help is appreciated. I might have rambled on a bit. Sorry about that.
 

Ylva

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Welcome to the G, Leanne.

Is this a keyed canvas? Are the keys inserted? If not, that's where I would start. Usually you would insert the keys before painting, but you can do it afterwards. It might have just shifted a little bit.

If it remains 'off' you might have to think about custom framing it.
 

Larry Peterson

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You can use the canvas adjustment tool to get it back in wack (pun intended)

rubber-mallet-15799406.jpg

1348446252389_8448404.png



Plan B; remove the canvas from the stretcher and put it on a proper canvas.

Plan C; Repaint the landscape and keep the old for yourself.
 

artfolio

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A bit late now but when buying ready made canvases it is always a good idea to carry a measuring tape and quickly check the diagonals then sight along the sides and face to check for distortion caused by warped stretcher bars or overtightening, all of which are pretty common. putting it flat on the floor or a table will also show up twisting.

At the risk of being a pessimist the only solution I can see is a custom frame with a generous enough rebate to hide the distortion. ready made canvases are usually stretched mechanically using a lot of very long staples driven in very hard and pulling them out to restretch it would take hours.
 

David Hewitt

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At the risk of being a pessimist the only solution I can see is a custom frame with a generous enough rebate to hide the distortion. ready made canvases are usually stretched mechanically using a lot of very long staples driven in very hard and pulling them out to restretch it would take hours.
Some other options:
. Find a frame that can be milled to create a wider rebate. ( Find something square, or just draw it out, to lay with your canvas to get a sense of how far you need to go )
. You could add a fillet, that would give you the added space needed.
. Make a liner with enough rabbet space to solve the problem.
. Redo the whole strainer/stretcher.

You are right about redoing this, Have Fun:)

FWIW: I once made a frame that was about 24x60, with a width of 6" Something about it was driving me nuts. Come to find out it was 1/8 out on one corner. I was surprised that little difference could be seen. Had to take it apart and redo.
 
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Nikodeumus

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Welcome to the G!
You've got a bit of a "round peg in a square hole" problem.
(I guess skewed peg into a rectangle hole is more accurate.)

A big part of what custom framers do is solve problems.
We use all our materials, equipment and skills to do so.

The first suggestions of trying to correct the wonky stretcher frame may be your least costly solution.
If that doesn't appeal (or was tried and didn't work) there are other solutions.
The kind of solutions custom framers charge for their expertise and skills to achieve.

artfolio's suggestion in post #4 is good. It would be my choice. I have done that a few times in the past.
However, it requires woodworking tools/skills you may not have, and a thick enough frame to make it work (probably not a ready made?).
Deepening the rabbet of a built frame with a router can be done, but can be a challenge if one is not familiar with the tools and techniques.

Another solution (also custom framing) would be a canvas float frame with a wider than usual gap between canvas edge and frame.
This may allow for attaching the wonky canvas in the float frame in such a way that the skew will be less noticeable.
I have done this in exactly the situation you are in. The customer purchased an art piece that was skewed, and didn't want to pay more money to have it re-stretched.
It was larger than your piece.

I have also done the full reconstruction process for a piece more than twice the size of yours.
I removed canvas frame a skewed stretcher frame (almost 3/4" skewed from top to bottom) with a very badly built decorative frame.
I constructed a new stretcher frame (perfectly square), and re-stretched the canvas.
Then I mounted it in a new float frame.
It looked like a brand new piece, the customer was elated. But it cost them more than twice what they originally bought the poorly made original item for.
Point is, selling an art piece on poorly constructed frame may just be passing on a headache to your potential customer.

It may not be your first choice, but the suggestion of keeping that painting and doing a new one on a better frame may be better in the long run.
It will make it easier for you to frame as you usually do without any headaches.
What costs more to you, the time to do another painting, or the expense of trying to solve this problem?
 

Leanne Moss

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Thank you everyone! I’m amazed at the helpfulness of this group. Much appreciated. Now time to ponder my approach.
 

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I'm trying to figure out just how much 5 degrees over 18" is to get an idea of the actual linear measurement of how much the canvas is off.
It hurts my head.

If it were my problem to solve, I would lay the painting face down on the back of the frame and trace out the places where it doesn't fit in the frame's rebate. I would then get out a sharp chisel and carefully remove wood until the rebate matched the stretcher. If it was a lot of material, I would use a bull-nosed rebate plane (AKA shoulder plane) to remove material, but you're not likely to have one of those lying around.
If the parallelogram is so far off that even that solution shows voids around the perimeter, adding a narrow fillet would be a quick fix, but the rebate on the frame will still need to be altered to accommodate.
 

David Hewitt

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I'm trying to figure out just how much 5 degrees over 18" is to get an idea of the actual linear measurement of how much the canvas is off.
It hurts my head.

If it were my problem to solve, I would lay the painting face down on the back of the frame and trace out the places where it doesn't fit in the frame's rebate. I would then get out a sharp chisel and carefully remove wood until the rebate matched the stretcher. If it was a lot of material, I would use a bull-nosed rebate plane (AKA shoulder plane) to remove material, but you're not likely to have one of those lying around.
If the parallelogram is so far off that even that solution shows voids around the perimeter, adding a narrow fillet would be a quick fix, but the rebate on the frame will still need to be altered to accommodate.
ALSO:
A great tool for this kind of problem.
56214_W3.jpg
 
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Rick Hennen

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We can easily create a liner that has either a deeper rabbet to compensate for the difference or if you send a tracing, we could create a rabbet to match the exact shape of the canvas but has a square opening when viewed from the front.
 

Jim Miller

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Plan A: Selectively cutting away the wood to widen the lip of the frame, as recommended above, would cover more of the painting's edges in some areas. That probably is the most practical way to proceed, if you don't mind giving up part of the painted edges.

Plan B: Remove the canvas from its frame and re-stretch it. If the existing frame is a proper stretcher frame with keyed corners, then you could correct its angles and reuse it. Or, if it is just a strainer frame with sloppily-mitered corners, then replace it with a proper stretcher frame. This plan might require you to repaint part of the edges after the corners' angles are corrected.

Plan C: If you can precisely determine the inaccuracy of the four corners' angles, you can modify the angles of your saw to cut tight-fitting frame miters of similarly-inaccurate angles. Such a purposely-out-of-square frame might fit the canvas better, but if the angles are far enough out-of-square, the inaccuracy may be visible.

In any case, my guess is that next time, you'll check the angles of the stretched blank canvas before applying any paint. :icon45:
 

David Waldmann

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I'm trying to figure out just how much 5 degrees over 18" is to get an idea of the actual linear measurement of how much the canvas is off.
It hurts my head.
That would be slightly more than 1-1/2"...

By the way, I used my CAD program - no heads were hurt in the above figgerin'.
 
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I should say that I believe the OP's description is most likely exaggerated. It's more likely 0.5° off than 5°, which, while "only" about 3/16" is much more plausible, but also much more feasible to hide.
 
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Dirk

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Many years after forgetting all the trigonometry from my high-school class, a high-school kid working for me taught me a mnemonic to remember the ratios I used only infrequently:
Old Henry - Always Has - Old Apples
Opposite / Hypotenuse - Adjacent / Hypotenuse - Opposite / Adjacent
Sin - Cosine - Tangent
In this case we can solve with the tangent of five degrees. .087 is the ratio of the opposite side over the adjacent side. If the adjacent side were one inch long, the gap would be .087 inches. The gap for an eighteen-inch side would be eighteen times as large, or 1.566 inches.
Now that we have needle exchange programs in most big cities, there's no need to use a hypodermic ten times
 

Prospero

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I often get canvases that are a bit skew-whiff or have bunched up corners. Usually I make the frame as near as possible
and offer up the canvas to the finished frame and where it binds I run a pencil round the places it won't go in and nibble
the rabbet with a Dremel + sanding drum up to the lines. It removes wood very quickly, but you must hold the tool very
firmly on a lowish speed. If you slip you can take a chunk off the sight-edge. A bit of tidying with a chisel or a knife
and you're good.
On extreme out-of-square canvases it's mostly simpler to un-mount them, square the bars and re-stretch. 😉
 

David Waldmann

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Many years after forgetting all the trigonometry from my high-school class, a high-school kid working for me taught me a mnemonic to remember the ratios I used only infrequently:
Old Henry - Always Has - Old Apples
Opposite / Hypotenuse - Adjacent / Hypotenuse - Opposite / Adjacent
Sin - Cosine - Tangent
Sorry, that doesn't help me at all. Even though I was considered a math wiz in HS (well, even today) in reality I struggled with anything above algebra and geometry. And since I rarely if ever needed trig or calculus after HS I never had to really "learn" it.
 

Larry Peterson

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I was in one of the first new math programs (UICSM - Univ of Illinois Committee on School Mathematics. Funny I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday but I remember this from 1960. ) Trig is funny but not something you inherently remember. For those that need a little help there are sites that will assist.

Do theGoogle for "calculate right triangle with one side and angle" or something similar and you will get sites like this one:

Right Triangle Calculator https://www.calculator.net/right-triangle-calculator.html?av=&alphav=5&alphaunit=d&bv=18&betav=&betaunit=d&cv=&hv=&areav=&perimeterv=&x=65&y=17

Per this site for a base of 18" and an angle of 5 degrees you get a gap of about 1.5748". Something that big is far to noticeable to go unnoticed.
 

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Many years after forgetting all the trigonometry from my high-school class, a high-school kid working for me taught me a mnemonic to remember the ratios I used only infrequently:
Old Henry - Always Has - Old Apples
Opposite / Hypotenuse - Adjacent / Hypotenuse - Opposite / Adjacent
Sin - Cosine - Tangent
In this case we can solve with the tangent of five degrees. .087 is the ratio of the opposite side over the adjacent side. If the adjacent side were one inch long, the gap would be .087 inches. The gap for an eighteen-inch side would be eighteen times as large, or 1.566 inches.
Now that we have needle exchange programs in most big cities, there's no need to use a hypodermic ten times
I have no idea what that last sentence means. Is it about new methods being better than old? Old methods being better than new? Not making things overly complicated?
 
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David Waldmann

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I have no idea what that last sentence means. Is it about new methods being better than old? Old methods being better than new? Not making things overly complicated?
It means that your husband it on drugs. Please, for the sake of all that's worthy, do NOT eat any more of those "miracle pills"....
 

Larry Peterson

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I have no idea what that last sentence means. Is it about new methods being better than old? Old methods being better than new? Not making things overly complicated?
What hubby sings in the shower.

Who made me the genius I am today
The mathematician that others all quote
Who's the professor that made me that way?
The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat

 

David Waldmann

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What hubby sings in the shower.

Who made me the genius I am today
The mathematician that others all quote
Who's the professor that made me that way?
The greatest that ever got chalk on his coat
 

artfolio

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Easiest method I learned for checking a right angle came from a carpenter, not a teacher and it is called the 3 4 5 triangle and we can thank that nice Mr Pythagoras for it.

Measure 3 feet (or any other units) along one side and mark a point
Measure 4 units along the other, mark another point.
The distance between those two points should be 5 units.

Beauty of this is that you don't even need a proper measuring device - anything like a piece of wood, a tool or your forearm will do but, obviously, the longer your sample the more accurate it will be.
 
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Dirk

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Okay ... the pun was a stretch

Hypotenuse, break it up into:

Hypo Ten Use
 

Dirk

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For the loadies out there, the letters can be rearranged to claim you can get

Hy use'en Pot
 

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Easiest method I learned for checking a right angle came from a carpenter, not a teacher and it is called the 3 4 5 triangle and we can thank that nice Mr Pythagoras for it.

Measure 3 feet (or any other units) along one side and mark a point
Measure 4 units along the other, mark another point.
The distance between those two points should be 5 units.

Beauty of this is that you don't even need a proper measuring device - anything like a piece of wood, a tool or your forearm will do but, obviously, the longer your sample the more accurate it will be.
If you have a tape measure there's an even easier way - measure the diagonals, corner to corner. If it's square they will be the same.
 
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Shayla

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If you have a tape measure there's an even easier way - measure the diagonals, corner to corner. If it's square they will be the same.
I do this, along with six other measurements. Those being, across both ends and the center, in both orientations.
 

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I do this, along with six other measurements. Those being, across both ends and the center, in both orientations.
Right you are - it's possible to have equal diagonals with unequal opposing sides (an isosceles trapezoid). But I would guess that in a production environment (where they are cutting thousands of pieces at once) that is likely to be a very low amplitude of instance.
 

artfolio

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Right you are - it's possible to have equal diagonals with unequal opposing sides (an isosceles trapezoid). But I would guess that in a production environment (where they are cutting thousands of pieces at once) that is likely to be a very low amplitude of instance.
Another factor with cheap and nasty ready-mades is that they don't use the best, properly seasoned timber and warping or twisting after stretching can produce some interesting shapes.
 
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