I’ve been using my adjustable stretcher bars for about a week and I just love them. Because I mostly use mini stretcher bars their wider width has taken a bit of getting used to, but I like that they are as light as minis but sturdy like standard stretcher bars.
The bars come in packages of four, in four different sizes (8″, 12″, 16″, and 20″). You can mix and match the sizes to make any combination up to 20″ square. On the small side, the bars should adjust down to fit the smallest canvas.
As you adjust the sides down, the “extra” ends will stick out as in the picture below. I did not find this a problem, but you might.
I found that the wingnuts stayed tight when stitching. Even so, you will probably want to tighten the canvas as you go. Leaving tacks out of the corners will make this easier.
The bolt and wingnut ends for fitting the sides together is great and very easy to use. I did find, however, that the nuts could fly away easily and get lost. I’d recommend keeping a small bowl or dish close by and putting the nuts in them as you remove them. If you will be using these bars often, you might go to the hardware store and buy a bunch of extra nuts and keep them in your toolbox just in case.
I took the bars to my ANG meeting last week and people were excited by them. We all agreed that these bars could be a great substitute for piles of regular stretcher bars many of us have. With them you would need fewer pairs because they can adjust to many sizes. They also are made of a softer wood than many newer bars, so they will be easier to use. I find that the ends of my bars break off or crack after some use. Because these bars do not have dovetail joints and the nuts are solidly inside one end, these bars won’t break.
Many stitchers have been converted to Evertite bars. I liked these slightly better than those bars because they are much easier to assemble. Also they do not require special tools to adjust; I can do it easily as I stitch.
Ultimately though our choice of stretcher bars can come down to price. Comparing the price to three other types of stretcher bars at my LNS I found that the adjustable bars were:
- slightly more than double the price of mini stretcher bars
- slightly less than double the price of regular stretcher bars
- less than half the price of Evertites
I’m going to be adding to my collection of these great bars.
PLEASE NOTE: A package of these was made available to me for testing and review purposes, but I’m getting ready to buy more later today!