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Author Topic: Stretcher Bars - Wholesale sources, telling pine/fir/paulownia apart  (Read 1893 times)
darlingm
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« on: September 15, 2012, 01:09:01 AM »
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I've been ordering from a stretcher bar wholesaler for a while, and had been very happy with their product.  I'm not sure how to tell pine and fir apart, but their bars had a strong Christmas-tree like smell, and before I realized it was the wood itself, I thought it was some type of varnish smell.  They were well made and sanded.  Hardly ever saw a warped bar or a knick or split in the wood.

Their overseas supplier has switched (supposedly temporarily) to a new type of wood.  To me, it just seems like rough lumber cut into stretcher bars.  They're made of a much whiter wood, have no smell, often need sanding, and I reject about a third of the bars that come in a box due to defects.

My supplier's been great about crediting back for bad bars, but I can't continue going like this.  I need bars I can reliably take out of the box and just use.

Their pricing has been fantastic, even before the switch.  For example, a box (50 pieces) of 20" (3/4" deep) stretcher bars is between $24-26!


Is there some type of supply issue on fir/pine?  I've seen a few other suppliers saying they've had to switch what type of wood their bars are made of too...  Another popular stretcher bar vendor is selling the same box (50 pieces) of 20" (3/4" deep) bars for $67, quite a big jump there!

Where do you guys order your bars from, are they good, and is their pricing anywhere near what I've been paying?

How do you tell pine, fir, and paulownia apart?  I'm interested in knowing if the older stock was pine or fir, and if the newer stock is paulownia or something even cheaper.
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Mike Westland Printworks
Fine Art Printing Amazing Artwork Reproduction Photography
http://www.westlandprintworks.com (734) 255-9761
darlingm
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2012, 08:25:42 PM »
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Thoughts?  Sources?
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Mike Westland Printworks
Fine Art Printing Amazing Artwork Reproduction Photography
http://www.westlandprintworks.com (734) 255-9761
secerator
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 09:08:19 AM »
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I use breathing color stretcher bars (fir). Once in a while I will find bad bars. Can't remember the price.
Which supplier did you use?
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BannerB
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 12:20:55 AM »
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I use breathing color stretcher bars (fir). Once in a while I will find bad bars. Can't remember the price.
Which supplier did you use?

I couldn't make it through one box - Knots popping out, every end was splintered, very few "true" bars, most commonly bent width wise... turns out they are just imported from china. Bummer. Definitely FIR.

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Brett Banner
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 01:34:08 AM »
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I use Fredrix standard duty for 3/4" deep and Fredrix Heavy Duty for 1 1/2"  They have nicely rounded edges and the heavy duty bars are a substantial 2 1/4" wide each.  I don't order in pallet quantities, but buy them from Cheap Joe's.  They are often on sale, and normal shipping is $7, regardless of quantity, or quite often free on special.  Typical sale prices are $6.59 a pair for 50" long standard duty, and $26.59 a pair for 70" heavy duty.  For shorter sizes, $2.29 a pair for 24" standard duty and $11.19 a pair for 24" heavy duty.  I typically just buy the longest available and cut to length, then glue and staple corners.  As a one man band that doesn't do a ton of stretching, they serve my needs pretty well.  I've never gotten a warped piece, and only had a couple with any visible blemishes (generally just a small dent).  A couple of orders had some fingerjointed pieces in the heavy duty, but they are normally solid, clear, kiln dried pine.
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