For those of you that have been at easel painting (or carpet laying, I suppose) for over a decade, you probably remember the ubiquitous copper tacks that were used for stretching canvas once upon a time. They were copper plated, which prevented oxidization, and in retrospect, also looked really sexy next to the color of your linen. Not only super sharp, but they worked with a magnetic tack hammer so that you could quickly tap one after the other into your canvas, all one handed. They are back-or perhaps never left, and I just didn’t know where to find them at a reasonable price.
From what I understand, the price of copper skyrocketed, and rather than the art store selling them by the pound jug, they started selling just ten at a time. Most painters I know either started using the steel carpet tacks from home depot, or using a stapler. While staplers work fine (and you can even get copper staples), tacks have a few advantages: with a magnetic tack hammer you can work very fast, tacks make but one hole, staples two holes in your canvas, and tacks can be reused, removed easily and easy to restretch. Staples, while fine, are way more of a pain for removing and restretching.
Anyways, click here for a link to the only place selling copper tacks these days. D.B. Gurney Company is apparently a historic tack maker, and here in Massachusetts. All due credit to weekly student Elaine Benfatto for finding them. Using them the other day I thought I would share… It is nice to have them back- not just for their color, but for my outdoor pictures to stop getting bits of brown rust around the tack edge.