What’s a Starter Bar?
Alignment of artwork is very critical to creating a tight, uniform stretch, that is why the artwork must be properly aligned before applying any staples. All of the Gallery Stretchers require the operator to create a “starter course” prior to performing the first stretch. To accomplish this the operator needs to lay the artwork face-down and fold a slight crease along the image line. In most cases this crease helps to keep the artwork fairly stationary, however, when the staples are being applied the artwork tends to shift or skew to one side or the other. One way to compensate for this is to press the wood frame and artwork against a firm but non-marring edge while stapling to prevent movement, but that does not stop the canvas from lifting or puckering. In addition to the wood frame sliding or shifting the canvas tends to pucker when staples embed in the wood, that is why the canvas should lay flat and firm against the wood frame.
We have developed a device that not only serves as a back stop but it also securely clamps the artwork to the wood frame without damaging the image. It is called a Starter Bar and it comes in (3) different sizes, 36″, 60″ & 96″.
We will be demonstrating the Starter Bar at the WCAF 2018 in Las Vegas at the Paris Hilton. Come see us at Booth #116.
How the Starter Bar Works
The Starter Bar is only used to create the starter course. It can be stored flat when not in use or it can remain in the set position for the next job. Depending on the size of the artwork it may be necessary to lower the Starter Bar to avoid scuffing the artwork when turning the assembled frame on the bench.
The picture below illustrates how the artwork is secured in-place for stapling. The Starter Bar is adjusted to match the height of the wooden stretcher bar being used.
Step 1: Place the artwork face down on your clean, carpeted work surface. The ideal work surface would be a low-pile carpet – cardboard is not recommended because it is abrasive and can scuff the artwork. The carpet also serves as a sort of spring which helps the clamping action.
Start by making a gentle fold along the image line, use registration marks if available.
Step 2: Set the Starter Plate to the highest position and tighten the Turn Knobs to secure it in-place. Move the wood frame and artwork toward you until it is firmly against the Angle Plate. Push the canvas flat against the assembled frame and loosen the Turn Knobs allowing the lip of the Angle Plate to drop downward and on to the artwork.
Tighten the Turn Knobs. In this position you should feel some resistance to motion. If the artwork is too snug simply loosen the Turn Knobs and retighten.
Ideally, you want to use enough pressure to hold the artwork in place so that it doesn’t move while stapling. It should also be able to be removed without too much force. The idea is to hold it secure enough to prevent movement while stapling.
Step 3: Place the nose of your Staple Gun against the lip of the Angle Plate (shown below) and apply staples the entire length of the artwork. Use this edge to guide the nose of the Staple Gun. We recommend the staples be spaced no more than every 1.5″.
Installing Your Starter Bar
The Starter Bar was designed to be mounted on the face of a typical wooden work bench, it can also be installed on a metal surface using different mounting screws.
The Starter Bar comes unassembled and includes:
Mounting Screws w/Square Drive
Square Drive Bit
Ideally, a wood façade using plywood or OSB should be affixed to the front of the work bench to provide a secure mounting surface. The Angle Plate can be used as a straight edge to attach the Mounting Bar.
Step 1: Place the Angle Plate over the edge of the work bench so that the lip is facing down toward the floor. Place the Mounting Bar up against the plate and push the plate away from you so that the lip grabs the outside edge of the Mount Bar.
Step 2: Locate the square drive bit and mounting screws and with a cordless drill secure the Mounting Bar to the side of the bench. There are access holes along the length of the bar, use whatever holes provide for the best mount.
Step 3: Locate the Flat Washers and Turn Knobs. Place the Mounting Plate over the Top of the Mounting Bar as shown below. The Mounting Plate should be setting flush with the Mounting Bar.
Install (2) Flat Washers on each stud and screw the Turn Knob onto each stud.