How to Build a Stretcher (Strainer)

How to Build a Stretcher (Strainer)

  1. Select wood with good, straight endgrain, straight (not bowed), few knots, no critical knots.
  2. Cut all pieces to length (2×4’s & 1×6’s) on miter saw.
  3. Set table saw to 15 degrees – rip 2×4’s in half (??”), rip both halves of each piece of wood.
  4. Set table saw back to vertical – rip 1×6’s in half or thirds.
  5. At dado saw, attach fence w/clamps, set height of blade to depth of miter-corners (1/4″ or so), dado out groove on inside side (bottom side) of each end piece.
  6. Dado out grooves for cross-braces. For large strainers, dado out grooves for cross-braces to fit into each other, 1/2 depth of each cross-brace.
  7. Miter corner on miter saw.
  8. Cut corners on table saw. Cut 2 square pieces.
  9. On band saw, cut corners in half, long way.
  10. Using pneumatic staple gun, glue, & corner braces, assemble pieces. Long staples in ends of pieces. Short staples for corners (first) and cross-braces (last).
  • 2 8ft. 2×4’s will make 1 strainer @ 5’x6′ (32′) or 3 strainers @ 2’x3′ (30′) w/2′ left over (minus the blade kerf).
  • 8 ft. of 2×4’s = 16′ of stretcher bars
    or
  • 3′ + 3′ + 5′ + 5′
    or
  • 3.5′ + 3.5′ + 4.5′ + 4.5′

Disclaimer: these are transcriptions of hand-written notes from 1991 which I never put to use, so don’t hold me to it!  Other standard disclaimers apply (i.e., use caution around saws; be especially careful when ripping wood; wearing safety glasses; etc.)

Want to know the difference between a stretcher and a strainer?  Read “Stretchers and Strainers: Secrets of the Trade” from Golden Paints.

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