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In case you don't know what a canvas stretcher bar is (I didn't until just a few weeks ago) they're wooden slats that are cut a certain way so they easily lock into 90 degree joints for the purpose of making frames that a painter will stretch canvas over. They're made in a particular way so they fit together nice and tight. It's pretty clever, and just looking at them it looks like they'd be very easy to make. But I'm not really confident enough to just go for it, I'd like to have some idea what the series of cuts is.

Several of my friends are painters, and they complain about how expensive the prefab bars are, and how they are generally cheap and flimsy. It would be cool (and maybe profitable) if I were to start making a few out of sturdy wood.

This is what they look like:



 

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I would think that with a table saw, router and a couple of dedicated jigs you could easily make production runs of these.

Maybe something similar to a picture frame spline jig and a 45 degree miter jig. I think I would do the cuts that are parallel to the stock length first the the 45 degree cuts across the grain next. Just my thoughts.

Here are a couple of examples:

http://lumberjocks.com/AndyR/blog/10126
http://lumberjocks.com/Grumpy/blog/3120

EDIT: you'll probably have to rip off a section of the stock to provide the material to form the "rounded lip". I think the rounded lip could be created with a beading bit.
Lew
 

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I've made them out of popular brick molding. Didn't bother with the whole tenon miter thing. Just mitered them and ran a dowel through the joint to reinforce it. Quick, easy, cheap and it works. The premade ones are cheap pine and don't hold up very well, as your friends have told you.
 

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Jim's answer is better. I always tend to over-engineer everything, making life more difficult than it has to be.

Lew
 
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