Look, we won’t tell you how to live your life, but if you’re stretching canvas anytime soon, you really, really should get a pair of canvas pliers. This nifty tool helps ensure that the material is pulled as tautly as possible across the stretching bars while freeing up a hand for your staple gun. Of course, if you’re going to shell out some cash for these bad boys, you’ll want a pair that work effectively, suit your purposes, and last a lifetime (ideally). Here are five we recommend.
1. MyLifeUnit Professional Canvas Pliers
We love these canvas pliers, and for good reason. Check out those aluminum jaws: nearly 5 inches wide and lined with rubber to treat your materials gently, so you won’t have to worry about intrusive marks caused by ridged metal teeth. The tool’s spring-loaded action and comfy, plastic-covered handles make big long jobs easy—or easier, at least.
2. Creative Mark Pro Canvas Pliers
If you want something a little beefier, try these powerful chrome-plated pliers by Creative Mark. Your canvas isn’t going anywhere when it’s sandwiched between this model’s 2-inch-wide, spring-return jaws. Be advised: This muscle doesn’t come cheap. But you definitely get what you pay for, as far as quality is concerned.
3. Fredrix Canvas Pliers
This reliable model is the go-to for many artists working with canvas, thanks to its deep serrations and smooth, spring-return action. Like the pick above, its head is only 2 inches wide, so if avoiding pinching and crimping is paramount, you may want to skip this pair. But if strength and durability is what you’re after, these chromium-plated pliers are a good bet.
4. C. S. Osborne No. 249 Canvas Stretching Pliers
You’ve got a job that requires wide pliers with covered handles but the serration of a metal model. Behold, then, this very heavy-duty model from C. S. Osborne. Yes, it’s the priciest on our list by far, but it also boasts the widest grip (3 inches) of any of the metal-jawed iterations featured here. The serration is enough to grasp a whole range of tricky materials, but it’s still shallow enough to avoid unwanted tooth marks.
5. Jack Richeson Canvas Pliers
This hefty model doesn’t look it, thanks to its sleek, chrome-finished design. It also has a feature the Osborne pair doesn’t have: spring-loaded action to assist with demanding work.