A Better Way to Support Canvases

Stop the madness!

Why would we violently slam a hammer onto wooden keys, driving them into the corner slots of a precious work of art? What are we, cavemen! Come on! It's the 21st century.

Well, there is indeed a better way!

What if a stretcher bar system gave you...?

  • precise, square corners
  • longer mortise/tenon joints for more leverage
  • quick and easy assembly
  • measured, coordinated and precisely controlled canvas tension
  • canvas tension adjusted with a screwdriver instead of a hammer

Sounds great? Well, it's real.

Our DaVinci Stretcher Bar System is here!

Precisely Built for Integrity and Functionality


The system features a T-Bar stretcher bar profile designed to interface with an auto-squaring and tensioning corner and bracing system. The tensioning method is provided by a specially designed snail cam apparatus, which can be metered by way of an indicator dial so each and every corner and brace are coordinated to create equal tension around the perimeter of the stretched canvas.

While the T-Bar configuration is not new, it marries well with the modular corner concept of the DaVinci system. Also, many benefits of the T-Bar are utilized and it also provides for the use of staples and tacks which cannot be effectively used with any engineered plastic parts or aluminum bars. Only a wooden side bar can best accept tacks and staples.


stretcher bar corner partsInspired Engineering

In the spirit of DaVinci, we wrestled with the problems involving the stretching and retention of a good taut canvas without resorting to the imprecise adjustments made by beating the corners with a hammer. Don't even mention all of the complex milling of the corners to achieve the necessary double mortise and tenon joints. Madness!

Also, in order to provide various custom stretched canvas configurations, a system needs to be easily scalable to any length bars and various geometric canvases.

What did we come up with? Well after hours and hours (months really!) and after several reiterations, the end result is a carefully engineered, 3D-printed system of corner and bracing parts, which fit together to provide the precise angles and squareness required with relative ease of assembly. Then, with each of the part sets, there are some additional mechanical parts to provide the measured and precise tensioning of the canvas. This involves a simple snail cam and strike plate with a numbered dial, to be turned with a screwdriver. It's everything you ever wanted in a stretched canvas.

All Popular Angles and Bar Depths

Best of all, every one of the features and benefits of this system can be had with all other popular canvas shapes; triangular, pentagons, hexagons, octagons...doesn't matter. It's all the same.

Also, to accommodate the various profiles offered here at Fat Canvas, the engineered parts of the DaVinci system are available for each of them; from the low-profile Museum, Gallery, Gallery Plus and even the hefty Mural bars.

Finally, the wooden portion of the system is also available in two materials; premium pine or birch panels. Each of these has their own advantages so we felt we needed to offer them both to our customers.

Deep Paint Bevel

Have you experienced the horror of having your brush or painting knife create a mark on the paint surface because the underlying bar was contacted? Dang it! Not a good thing, at all.

The T-Bar of the DaVinci system won't cause that problem. Artists will enjoy the 15-degree angled paint bevel on the front edge of the T-Bars. This will be more than sufficient to avoid interference with your canvas with even the boldest of strokes.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Can a canvas be over-tensioned? You bet! Here is the perfect example of "too much of a good thing."

Conservators have now come to believe that overtensioning of completed works of art on canvas can be very damaging and should only be done when genuinely necessary and when there are no underlying problems causing the slackness of the canvas. When tensioning is desired, it should be done only to the extent necessary. Over-tensioning should be avoided, yet many stretcher designs offer little or no limitation on how much a canvas may be tensioned. Worse yet, hammering can easily be overdone in a single stroke!

This issue is eliminated with the DaVinci system. Even at the highest setting, there will be no damage to the canvas, yet that setting will provide more than enough tautness for any need.

stretcher bar bracingActive Bracing System

While many bracing systems are passive, since they only provide simple support of the span, the bracing method of the DaVinci system is active. By active, we mean that in addition to providing support to the span, the bracing parts provide an active interface between the bracing bar and the sidebar. This integration made by the extra long, thick tines of the bracing parts helps prevent rolling and twisting of the side bar, potentially caused by the forces of the tensioned canvas fabric.

Doesn't your next masterpiece deserve a Fat Canvas featuring the DaVinci Stretcher Bar System?