I have for some time been looking for affordable oil primed linen canvas. I have unfortunately been forced in the past to settle on cotton canvas due to cost. Linen can be prohibitively expensive, and oil primed linen is even worse. This leaves me often having to size (with rabbit skin glue) and prime raw canvas myself. As a result I have spent quite a bit of time searching on the internet for affordable primed linen.
About two weeks ago I stumbled upon centurion oil primed linen canvas sold at Jerry's Art A Rama. The roll cost me roughly $300 to buy (yes I paid for it, not a freebee). I bought the 84 inch by 6 yard roll, which equates to 126 square feet of canvas at a cost of approximately $2.38 per square foot (or 2 cents a square inch).
This may seem expensive until you compare with the cost of premade canvas frames. At Cheap Joe's a 30x40 prestretched linen canvas is $307.79 each!! That is 26 cents a square inch. In comparison, I stretched my own 35x60 canvas using 1x2s from Home Depot (95cents for a six foot board) for a total cost of $46 (35x60 inch canvas has 2100 square inches, which at a cost of .02 per inch is $42 plus $4 in wood). That is a savings of at least $260.
Now, it does take more time to make your own canvas. I spent about an hour cutting and gluing my stretcher and another 45 mins-1 hour the following day actually stretching the canvas. My quoted cost also does not include the cost of wood glue, screws, or staples, which I consider negligible (and I also already have a stapler, a miter saw, and stretching pliers-but these are sunk costs).
The canvas stretched well and gave me a tight drum canvas. I did have to be careful to make sure the canvas did not tear at the staples, as it is rather fine and delicate. Not necessarily a downside, just something to be cognizant of. The texture is smooth (much smoother than cotton). Regardless, I will as usual put on another layer of oil prime with Fredrix oil primer,because I like my paint to sit on top of the canvas instead of being absorbed (And I like the smoothness to paint on). So far, however, I have been very happy with how it has performed
I plan to post a follow up on how the canvas performs when I paint on it, as this will by my first experience with the Centurion canvas. If you have any questions on canvas stretching please leave a comment or send me an email.