Universal Braces

We offer a unique brace design using screwed-in brackets instead of mortise & tenon joints which can be used on any stretcher, not just the ones we manufacture. This “Universal” Brace is most commonly used in the following situations:

  • When you keep a large stock of different-sized UCS stretcher bars and mix and match to create a variety of stretcher frame sizes
  • When you have an existing painting, print, or stretcher frame from another supplier that requires extra bracing for proper support
  • When you need to replace the braces of an existing stretched canvas

Stretcher Frames using UCS Universal Braces

Our Stock Braces are now Universal!

When you purchase stock braces (sold with stock bars and bundles), they will now automatically use our Universal Brace system. Our regular braces are made to fit with our stretcher bars using mortise & tenon joints which must be cut into the bars and braces during production. Braces which are to cross each other must also be machined with dado joints to nest together. For these to all fit properly, we need to know the size combinations that will be used and, when purchasing quantities of stock-sized bars or bundles, you don't always know when you place your order exactly what combinations you will end up using.

To resolve this, our "stock" Universal Braces use screwed-in brackets to mount to the stretcher bars and allow braces to be used interchangeably with any other size bars**. This allows you to take advantage of the cost savings of buying in quantity without sacrificing your creative options!

Bracket and brace for stretcher frame

Close up of the bracket that receives the brace

Detail of keyed Universal Braces installed on various stretcher bar profiles

Detail of Universal Braces with keys installed on various stretcher bar profiles

**Please note that braces for different stretcher bar profiles are not interchangeable. Universal Braces for a 36"x48" Standard profile frame will not be the same length as Universal Braces for a 36"x48" Gallery profile frame, nor for Professional or Basic. The reason for this is that the stretcher bars are different widths, and therefore the span between the bars will be different, making the same "size" braces different lengths.

To order Universal Braces, navigate to any of our stock-sized stretcher bar pages (button links are below), select the bar size it is to accompany then choose "Universal Brace" from the "Bar/Bundle/Universal Brace" menu, as shown in the example image to the right:

Universal Brace menu option

(Universal Braces may be custom-ordered if desired for our Heavy Duty stretcher bar profiles. Orders placed for complete stock-sized or custom-sized frames, regardless of the profile, are made with mortise & tenon construction.)


When you order Universal Braces for any frame not made by Upper Canada Stretchers, we need to know the exact size of the space the brace(s) will be spanning (inside edge dimension[s] of the frame).  Also, if you are wanting braces that will cross each other, we need to know the brace design - for example: 1 x 1 (one vertical and one horizontal), 2 x 1 (two vertical and one horizontal), 2 x 2 (two vertical and two horizontal), etc.

To order Universal Braces for existing frames, please email or phone us at 1-800-561-4944.


Each Universal Brace comes with two mounting brackets, four screws and two plywood keys.


“Just received the stretchers and put them together. The new stock brace system is great, nice materials.  Now I need to place another order ……”

Michael Bromley: Professional Artist, Regina, Saskatchewan