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jtreed2000
01-23-2006, 11:19 AM
I'm new to stringing and I'm thinking about purchasing a stringer. Not sure if I want a cheap electric or pull down yet. I have some clamp and mount questions...

Floating clamps are the vice-grip like clamps and you put on two adjacent strings, right?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of fixed/floating clamps?

How often do they wear out?

Is there a cheap way to rough up the surface so you can continue using them after they get slick/slippery/etc?

Do the mounts 2/4/6 really make a difference?

Thanks

Valjean
01-23-2006, 02:41 PM
A few years back the USRSA recommended a minimum of four mounts; their study literally found that sufficient, with no added benefit from anything over it. Of course today it's tough to find a machine with just four. Get fixed clamps; they don't slip anywhere near as often and should grip the string closer to the frame. There is a clamp cleaning stone sold for Gamma's diamond-coated floating clamps--http://www.atssports.com/Tennis-Supplies.cfm?PageNum_Results=2&category=0&secondary=25&manufacturer=0--and several alternative means of cleansing them around. I use alcohol-treated velcro strips glued back-to-back. You could locate some of the others with a search of this board. You probably should be asking what nonstandard-issue tools and accessories are recommended, unless that's occurred to you already.

Gaines Hillix
01-23-2006, 04:34 PM
A 6-point mounting system keeps the frame from distorting as much during the stringing process. This is a good thing because the racquet is subjected to less stress. All of the machines that the pros use have such mounting systems. Flying clamps use another string as an anchor instead of locking to the machines turntable base like fixed clamps. They are more subject to slippage and twisting and are bulky preventing them from getting as close to the frame as fixed clamps. This leads to a less consistent string job(tension varience). A piece of clean cotton cloth, a tooth brush and rubbing alcohol work well for cleaning the string clamping surfaces. Apply the alcohol to the cloth and apply it to the clamping surfaces. Then scrub them with the tooth brush to remove any residue and then dry the surfaces with a dry cloth.

bcaz
01-23-2006, 08:18 PM
Gaines, thanks for coming back, man --

jtreed2000
01-24-2006, 04:52 AM
Cool, thanks for the responses so far.

(reply to Valjean) Aren't the tools pretty standard? Isn't it like 1-2 awls, pliers, and something to cut the string? Can't remember exactly, but it seems every kit comes with 4 tools.

I just figured the clamps and tension method were the most important things in a stringer. Please correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know what I might be replacing down the road, what to look for, etc.

Steve Huff
01-24-2006, 05:35 AM
To add to Gaines' comment, a 6-point mounting system also keeps the frame from sliding back and forth when you tension the last few crosses, which happens often in a 2-point mounting system. Inexpensive machines 2-point mounting system require you screw down the mounting clamp, and how tight to make it is often misjudged. You can put some serious damage to a frame by overtightening. Many frames tend to have narrower throat pieces too, which can present a mounting problem for a 2-point system. Not so with a good 6-point system. Some 2-point systems are good though. Ektelon (or Prince) is very sturdy. Laserfibre's looks sturdy (they claim it's a 4-point system). If you're going to string for others, I'd be safe and go with a 6-pt system.

katone
01-24-2006, 08:05 AM
6 points + fixed clamps.

Valjean
01-24-2006, 10:25 AM
(reply to Valjean) Aren't the tools pretty standard? Isn't it like 1-2 awls, pliers, and something to cut the string? Can't remember exactly, but it seems every kit comes with 4 tools.

I just figured the clamps and tension method were the most important things in a stringer.....

Well, a starting clamp is pretty useful, too; and, since you're new to it all, a tool like a Stringmeter to help you measure your progress and register how good your finished product is would likely be helpful to you.

This need is all the more important should you elect to get a dropweight, which requires more effort from you to obtain good results. And, in that case, an inexpensive bubble balance can be helpful for teaching yourself when the arm is level. Steve Huff's reference above to Laserfibre's mounting system, however, drew me there, and to its claim for a new means of drawing tension that eliminates the need to struggle with the tension arm.

The site also claims:

"Myth: 6-Point mounting with outside bracing provides the best racquet support.

Fact: Not true. Typical 6-point mounting, using very narrow inside racquet supports at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions and 4 outside braces, is a reactive system. This means that the narrow supports at the head and throat can cause the racquet to bend and distort greatly when the main strings are tensioned. This created stress forces a need for additional outside braces to attempt to counter (react to) the distortion and in order to stop the racquet from breaking. 6-point mounting systems do provide adequate support and protection to the racquet during stringing. However, it is now believed by some that the stresses of repeated and frequent restrings of a single racquet on many 6-point systems may lead to premature fatiguing of the racquet and shorten its optimum performance life."

In any event, these devices I've listed are basic to stringing itself; if we knew you were going to be stringing for others, there might be more thoughts on equipping yourself to come.

fwtennis
01-24-2006, 03:12 PM
Hi Steve. One correction. The LF machines have 5 mounting points all placed spread out along the main strings inside the hoop of the frame. Their reasoning is to prevent the racquet frame from compressing when you put in the mains. The only part of the hoop that does not have a direct support preventing distortion are the outer 2 mains on either side. Sometimes 3 depending on how big the racquet head size is. There is almost no expanding at the 9 and 3 parts of the racquet. The strung racquet slips out of the mounts in the exact same shape and size as sweetly as the unstrung racquet went in.

The issue is not the number of points. It is where they are positioned. Putting the supports inside the hoop preventing distortion from the mains makes more sense to me in giving the most protection for the racquet.

Steve Huff
01-24-2006, 07:29 PM
Thanks, sorry I missed that. It looked like 4 on the pictures on their website. Sometimes hard to tell. I've heard good things about their mounting systems (sturdy, etc) with the possible exception that it's sometimes hard to get to the top cross on some rackets.

jtreed2000
01-25-2006, 05:39 AM
What do ya'll think about a Slient Partner e.Stringer? I found a used one a guy is selling for $190 shipped. He said it's strung about 100 racquets. I like the idea of electric and that it's "6pt" (although it's really more like 2pt I think). It uses floating clamps though, but I've read this is not so bad and I can't really aford a $300 stringer only for personal use. I'm probably only gonna do my own racquets, but I'd freak if I broke the Yonex I just bought. I have a few others to experiment with first.

Gaines Hillix
01-25-2006, 11:27 AM
What do ya'll think about a Slient Partner e.Stringer? I found a used one a guy is selling for $190 shipped. He said it's strung about 100 racquets. I like the idea of electric and that it's "6pt" (although it's really more like 2pt I think). It uses floating clamps though, but I've read this is not so bad and I can't really aford a $300 stringer only for personal use. I'm probably only gonna do my own racquets, but I'd freak if I broke the Yonex I just bought. I have a few others to experiment with first.

jtreed2000, I question the accuracy of the tension mechanism on these machines. It's my understanding that they use an internal spring to detect when the set tension is reached and that it takes 10 lbs or more of tension drop for the head to detect it and repull to compensate. This is called "hysteresis." Look this up in Wikipedia if you want to know more about it. I'd check with Silent Partner on this before purchasing one of these.

Valjean
01-25-2006, 05:20 PM
According to the Silent Partner web site FAQ, though, Gaines, none of the Silent Partner machines employs a pre-loaded spring design:

"Are all electronic machines based on the same technology?


Important differences distinguish the technologies used in various electronic machines. There are three types of technologies. The first consists of electronics for direct torque control of a motor so that the motor cannot pull more than the desired tension. Silent Partner holds a patent for this technology (US Patent #6,162,139) and offers it exclusively on the e.Stringer, the e.Stringer CL and the e.Stringer FL, as well as in retrofit tensioners for other brands of machines. The second type of electronic technology consists of a motor control linked mechanically to a pre-loaded spring. Tension adjustment is effected by turning a knob that compresses the spring to the desired tension so that a limit switch is tripped and the motor is stopped when the tension is reached. This type of control, which is identified by a tension control knob located to the right of the machine (see picture), does not provide constant pull because tension has to drop by more than 15 lbs. for the limit switch to turn the motor on again, and this does not normally happen during stringing. The third type of electronic technology is the most sophisticated and relies on a tension sensor that is monitored by a microprocessor. This technology offers the potential for many keypad controlled features and is used in the most sophisticated electronic machines. This is the technology used in the e.Stringer DG."

jtreed, you might want to think about a calibrator now...

Gaines Hillix
01-26-2006, 08:36 AM
Valjean, that's good to know and thanks for the clarification. It would still be good to know what the hysteresis was on these.

goober
01-29-2006, 07:03 AM
Well, a starting clamp is pretty useful, too;

.

What exactly is the purpose of a starting clamp? I am a newbie stringer and I have strung 3 racquets now on my SP Swing. I always have problems tensioning my first set of mains. Would a starting clamp help?


Thx

Masamusou
01-29-2006, 07:44 AM
What exactly is the purpose of a starting clamp? I am a newbie stringer and I have strung 3 racquets now on my SP Swing. I always have problems tensioning my first set of mains. Would a starting clamp help?


Thx

I usually use a starting clamp as backup for tensioning the first main. Also, if you end up measuring short and need to tension that last main, you can use a loop of excess string and the starting clamp to create a bridge so that you can reach the tensioner for that last string. There are also a few other methods of stringing where a starting clamp would come in handy to free up the second clamp, but those aren't the standard patterns. For example, on my old C10's, I would measure about an extra foot on the short side, and use the short side to string the top cross. In order to do that I needed to free up the clamp from the long side mains, so once the 7th long side main was tensioned, I would use a starting clamp on the outside of the frame to hold that while I finished the top cross. Once the top cross was tied off, I would go back, pull tension on that 7th main again, remove the starting clamp and clamp with the normal clamps. Then up the 8th main and then finish the crosses like normal, except starting from the second cross from the head obviously.

Gaines Hillix
01-29-2006, 08:12 AM
What exactly is the purpose of a starting clamp? I am a newbie stringer and I have strung 3 racquets now on my SP Swing. I always have problems tensioning my first set of mains. Would a starting clamp help?


Thx

You can also use these like pliers for pulling knots tight and when prestretching. Just make sure you don't squeeze on the handles!

goober
01-29-2006, 09:35 AM
so basically it is a handy tool in certain situations but not really necessary for a beginner stringer?

Gaines Hillix
01-29-2006, 02:30 PM
so basically it is a handy tool in certain situations but not really necessary for a beginner stringer?

Well put, goober!

Valjean
01-29-2006, 02:38 PM
Exactly what you suspect, when it comes to starting out; it replaces the need to clamp two strings to get the first one underway. You just clamp the other main *outside* the frame.