Do You Push Hard On The Canvas?
All stretcher bars should have a curved outer edge that contacts the canvas and a certain amount of “setback” or “fall” that ensures the bulk of the bars and braces are held away from the back of the canvas. This setback ensures that the artwork does not end up with any lines from contacting the stretcher bar edges behind the work surface. If you prefer to press hard with your brush or pallet knife when painting, you may prefer to choose a stretcher bar profile that provides a greater amount of setback.
The Importance of Using Keyed Stretchers
There are many technical reasons why professionally-made, keyed stretchers make a big difference in maintaining the long-term health of a painting. In practical terms, however, it means that you only have to stretch and staple the canvas “hand-tight” around the frame then tapping out the keys takes care of the rest. Especially in the case of very large canvases where a great deal of force would be necessary to stretch the canvas tight, achieving a drum-tight finish would be all but impossible without keyed stretcher bars and braces.
Where Will The Artwork Be Displayed or Stored?
The location where the artwork will be spending its time will also need to be considered in what type of frame to choose. If it will be hung in a narrow hallway, you may prefer a shallower frame, or if the finished artwork will be subjected to temperature or humidity fluctuations, perhaps an aluminum or wood-aluminum hybrid stretcher frame might be the best option.