Babolat VS starting clamp

Discussion in 'Stringing Techniques / Stringing Machines' started by Roger Wawrinka, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Hey guys, I have a Gamma stringers starting clamp bought from TW, but I was wondering if you guys knew where to buy a Babolat VS Starting Clamp from(other then buying it right from Babolat which will most likely take some time to get)? I was told that a Babolat VS starting clamp is the best one that you can buy, so I was also wondering what your guys thoughts on the clamp and where I can get my hands on one.:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    #1
  2. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    The Babolat "VS" starting clamp is no longer available, as they are not manufactured anymore. You would need to find someone who is willing to part with theirs. That said, Babolat still makes a starting clamp, which is hands down the best on the market. Contact Babolat USA directly and they could send you one fed ex. You'll have it next day. I believe the cost is around $58.

    If you look at this thread, I posted some photos of the different variatoins of the babolat clamps:
    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v736/drakulie/CIMG0120.jpg&imgrefurl=http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t%3D276573&h=600&w=800&sz=184&tbnid=JE0o0RU6sd6peM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=117&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dbabolat%2Bstarting%2Bclamp%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=babolat+starting+clamp&usg=__-ceUeumQK_K4jmFI0OJsfTSCQDw=&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NXxaUPiXEaPW2gWC7ICwAQ&ved=0CCwQ9QEwBQ



    GSS also sells a great starting clamp, which is close to the Babolat "VS" one. They are about $35.??

    Good luck.
     
    #2
  3. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    ^ Great info as always, thanks drak!:)
     
    #3
  4. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Say Drak, I am taking a long shot here but would you be willing to give up any one of your VS clamps?:D


    Also, When did they stop making the VS clamps and how do you feel about the Black babolat starting clamp that you told me about? How to they compare to the VS clamps?
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
    #4
  5. Dags

    Dags Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Are you having problems with your Gamma starting clamp?

    I have two of the RAB ones, which I believe are the same ones GSS sells. I find them excellent.

    Starting clamps aren't the most complex tools. You're pretty much looking for something that:

    - doesn't slip
    - doesn't crush
    - is easy enough to open, without being too easy to open

    The other variables are whether it has eyelets so you can use it as a jumper (mine do), and the width. I've never had to use it in a tight space though, so width isn't important to me provided it meets the above criteria.

    If your existing starting clamp ticks all these boxes, then you have to ask yourself what you'd gain from owning a 'better' Babolat model.
     
    #5
  6. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    No FS or Soliciting post outside FS/T subforum. :evil:

    Edit: P.S. I have one of his VS clamps. It's nice ;) (I don't use it though, no eyelets)
     
    #6
  7. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    12,300
    Location:
    Marietta, Ga
    I have one of the old vs clamps with eyelets. I don't like it as well as the gamma clamp because it clamps so well it can crush the string. Most of the time I use my gamma clamp and. If I were to buy another clamp I would go for the gamma.

    Just in case anyone is wondering if I want to get rid of my old VS clamp the answer is no. I got it in the 80s to do 50/50 patterns and it is probably an antique so no one would want it anyway.
     
    #7
  8. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,278
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    The Gamma is adequate, but sometimes I prefer to use my Eagnas with stronger spring pressure. Often, I'll start crosses with the Eagnas and snug up knots with the Gamma (yeah, i know....but that's for another thread...).

    I see no need for a babolat/VS clamp.....yet.
     
    #8
  9. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    I am very sorry diredesire, I will not do it again you have my word:)
     
    #9
  10. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Dags, I string a lot of one piece poly jobs for me and my clients so I do ATW patterns, one of them being the diredesire pattern;) The other I learned from Drakulie (Thanks again for that drak:D) And in the one pattern, I am using my starting clamp while I have to tie-off so I thought another one would come in handy. That's all, and I thought it could be pretty cool to be the owner of a VS clamp too:)
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
    #10
  11. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Not looking to sell one of my clamps. I pretty much use them all. I have a set of clamps and tools I use at home, and another I use for the shop and tournaments.

    Not sure when they discontinued the "VS" clamp. There have been several newer versions, like the thin jaw blue one, thicker jaw blue one, black, etc.

    As for the black one, it is excellent. I used this one, along with my red "vs" one at the cincy tournament.
     
    #11
  12. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Okay, Great info, Thanks Drak!
     
    #12
  13. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    14,264
    Location:
    In a sureshsian vortex
    Alpha starting clamps are very good too. I had problems with the Gamma version made a decade ago but don't know if they have improved the "grab" since then. The diamond dust on the Alpha is very reliable in avoiding pull-through on the initial main tensioning. It has eyelets to allow for making an "extender". Just remember...take care of it just like your regular string clamps with a good alcohol scrub regularly.
     
    #13
  14. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    does anyone know how to take the starting clamp apart to clean? i bought a gamma starting clamp and i think it needs cleaning as it slips from time to time.

    I also have an alpha and GSS which are great.
     
    #14
  15. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    Rabbit, pull the springs inwards and you could pop them out. Once they are off, you have full access to the inner jaws.
     
    #15
  16. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Thanks, worked like a champ. Took the 3 springs off, got out the acetone, and cleaned it.
     
    #16
  17. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    Supposedly (and I've never tried it), you can remove the pin that holds the jaws together. I would have thought it was similar to a rivet design, but again, I haven't tried it. :)
     
    #17
  18. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    Messages:
    14,264
    Location:
    In a sureshsian vortex
    Once it's fully cleaned, regular maintenance is cake...take a handful of wetnaps home from your favorite rib/wings restaurant, open a package and let it dry out overnight then soak it in alcohol, fold it to match the jawsize and wedge it in the jaws and remove it before stringing the next day. I guarantee zero slippage!
     
    #18
  19. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    12,606
    Location:
    at the bottom of every hill I come to
    Very cool ideas, thanks guys!
     
    #19
  20. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    24,466
    Location:
    FT. Lauderdale, Florida
    On the Babolat clamps this is possible. However, on some other type clamps the rivets are permanent, so can't be removed.
     
    #20
  21. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    ^ Hey guys, another quick question. One of my clients just started to string racquets for himself he bought the prince neos 1500. As some of you may know, if you are starting the mains with a starting clamp, the mounting system of the 1500 gets in the way of placing the starting clamp snug, right up against the grommet. I did not watch him string, but he said that he placed the starting clamp on the string with the starting clamp being upside down on the string. Which means the handle of the starting clamp was on top of the frame. When he tried to pull tension he said that the starting clamp would not stay upright and the clamp twisted while he was pulling tension. He tried this again and put the starting clamp with the handle on the bottom of the frame. The same thing happened. Any ideas for me to tell him?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    #21
  22. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    I haven't worked on the 1500 yet, but the mounting looks extremely similar to the 1000. I'm not seeing why there should be any blockage of the starter in this situation, unless the starting hole is very close to center. Either orientation should work, but unless the clamp is flush, you're going to get some twisting. I'd also make sure that the string's not bending when he inserts it into the jaws.

    Edit: I'd also note that all the pictures i saw on google didn't show any indication of blockage around the start holes..
     
    #22
  23. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Hey guys, quick question. One of my clients started to string for himself, he bought the prince neos 1500. As some of you may know, the 1500 mounting system gets in the way if you are using a starting clamp to start the mains. You can not get it sung, right up against the grommet as you can see in drakulie's video here....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4TpCdIJHeM


    With that being said, he told me that when he was stringing his racquet(he used a starting clamp to start the mains) He put the starting clamp on upside down with the handle on top of the racquet as seen in this video. You can see what I am talking about in this video at 0:27.......

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEVvRxNwmxw



    Which is obviously fine to do, put the starting clamp that way, but when he did this he said that the starting clamp twisted as he was pulling tension. He said he could not get the starting clamp to stay competely up right like the video shows. So he tried it with the handle of the starting clamp facing down. He said the same thing happened. He says as he pulls tension the starting clamp is forceing itself to to turn sideways.

    Do you guys have any ideas for me to tell him?
     
    #23
  24. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    Ah, I misread the post. I was thinking crosses, for some reason.

    I'd recommend: Tensioning both center strings through the throat (or head, or whatever) and using the starting clamp there. Re-pull to release.

    Edit: And/or Yusuki method: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw3dHufCNWM
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    #24
  25. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    Okay, Thanks a lot Diredesire, I'll tell him that!:) And I did not mean to post that twice, sorry.
     
    #25
  26. Roger Wawrinka

    Roger Wawrinka Professional

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    So Cal
    One more thing, what do you guys think is the best starting clamp ever made? I do not mean a line of starting clamps like the VS line, but a single starting clamp?
     
    #26
  27. bruintennis

    bruintennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Babolat starting clamps were out of stock much, if not all, of last year (2012).

    That being said, I just received my new Babolat starting clamp, directly from Babloat, about a week ago. Black with eyelets and it's easier to open than my Eagnas and seems to hold better.

    Eagnas Pro's pro starting clamp (left) and Babolat Starting Clamp (right):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
    #27
  28. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,186
    Location:
    tennis courts
    how much was it for the babolat clamp?
     
    #28
  29. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    When I got mine, two years ago it was $58 plus shipping.
     
    #29
  30. themitchmann

    themitchmann Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,622
    I have a 1500 and know exactly what you are talking about (I think): the surface on the top of the mounting system is fairly large, and therefore the stringer is unable to clamp with the handles facing downward.

    I start mains with the Yusuki method. When using the starting clamp, I pull the 2 center mains and clamp on the outside of the frame. In situations where I have to clamp at the throat, I simply position the clamp so that the handle rests on the frame. In situations where I have to clamp at the head, I position the clamp so that it is parallel with the floor, then rest it on the top surface of the mounting system. In both situations, the handles are supported by something else (the frame or the mounts), which will keep it from twisting. Does that help?
     
    #30
  31. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,186
    Location:
    tennis courts
    damn $60......should i?
     
    #31
  32. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    If you do, don't leave it laying around for the "other" stringer to take or use.
     
    #32
  33. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    Nah, it'll be deemed as a non-essential tool, and it'll get banned by the shop because management doesn't understand that double half-hitch knots aren't a qualified/proper starting knot :roll:

    (but IMO $60 is an easy investment for a quality tool that will last you a lifetime. I'd be harder convinced if it was, say.... $100, but the RAB/Alpha models are both pretty beastly for a BIT cheaper, if you're worried about the extra few bucks... I really like the RAB, the Alpha is a LITTLE aggressive, but VERY strong clamping force [and texture!]).
     
    #33
  34. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    A friend of mine is getting a set of Green handled Siobasi starting clamps from China. I can't wait to check them out. I should of had him order me a set, since they are only $15 more or less.

    I have the VS clamp that Drakulie was talking about earlier in this thread. It's ok, but not great IMHO. The black handle over white, pictured in Bruin's photos is just like mines. Thought the texture is pretty rough and much wider than the VS version. It tends to mar string, so I only use it as a starting clamp, and rarely as a bridge.
    [​IMG]
     
    #34
  35. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,038
    +1 for Alpha clamps.
     
    #35
  36. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,278
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    seems alot is made of starting clamps.

    i have an eagnas and a gamma. eagnas has much stronger (3) springs so i use it to start crosses etc.
    mostly snug up knots with the gamma, although it's suitable wherever as well. the gamma was "free" with machine.

    not sure i could stomach the VS price for similar function although i'm sure they are nice.
     
    #36
  37. struggle

    struggle Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    4,278
    Location:
    Western North Carolina
    anyone ever WORN OUT a starting clamp?

    i don't mean broken, but just worn out so it won't hold anymore whether it be surfaces or springs worn out.
     
    #37
  38. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2006
    Messages:
    9,186
    Location:
    tennis courts
    haha yea.

    dd....i know your post is in jest, but yea pretty much. i have no starting clamp. hence my question. i am going to email babolat
     
    #38
  39. Irvin

    Irvin G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2007
    Messages:
    12,300
    Location:
    Marietta, Ga
    I like the Gamma clamp because it does not crush the string as bad as my VS clamp. When I start crosses I clamp the top cross w/staring clamp and double pull the top two crosses. That way you are not double pulling the top cross.
     
    #39
  40. Cfidave

    Cfidave Professional

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,199
    Location:
    Elmira,NY
    #40
  41. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    I've never seen springs "wear out," some get softer over time, but I haven't seen any meaningful impact to holding power from springs alone.

    The only surfaces that I've had trouble with are the Gamma. This isn't to say that the clamp itself is BAD, but the problem is that the Gamma has diamond dusted inserts, and the texture is EXTREMELY fine on these clamps. On the few strings that are slippery/oily/grimy, the Gamma clamp can get very gunked up, and starting clamps (IMHO) aren't trivial to clean (well). Rubbing alcohol and a towel yanked out of the jaws does a pretty good job, but I think punching out the retaining pin and separating the handles is the best route, and I have no idea which clamps this can be done on (I've never bothered to try).

    I might be in the minority with my issues with the Gamma clamp, as it sounds like there are many posters that have had great success with it, and I should also qualify my statement by saying I only have trouble with it as a bridge. My coworkers that have also worked with the Gammas have also had slippage issues (again, generally on bridges, even at moderate tensions). I'll note that the stringers I used to work with don't bother with most maintenance, nor do they bother with cleaning even their machine clamps most of the time... So this environment probably wouldn't reflect a 'real world' home stringer usage model. I will say that if the price difference is <$5-10, I'd never choose the Gamma. Not that it's bad, it's just not worth the extra time/headache if I can't rely on it at high tensions on its own.
     
    #41
  42. bruintennis

    bruintennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    Messages:
    450
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Babolat starting clamp

    Basically the same. $59 plus shipping.
     
    #42
  43. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    There is a small pipe cleaner type brush at Harbor Freight for $1 that works well. It comes in Nylon, steel and brass. It works great on cleaning the starting clamp, tension gripper and string clamps.
     
    #43
  44. diredesire

    diredesire Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    6,723
    I'm assuming you use steel or brass? Do you use it in conjunction with any cleaning solutions?

    Also, have you used the Gamma clamp? :)
     
    #44
  45. Lakers4Life

    Lakers4Life Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,638
    Location:
    Laker Land
    I mainly use the nylon, but brass does not scratch as much as steel. I use alcohol then finish with a cotton rag and WD-40 or my favorite, CLP Break Free. I clean the hosel and tubes with the same round brushes in fact you can probably use a .45 cleaning tool for guns.

    I have an Eagnas Clamp, Gamma Clamp, and two Babolat clamps.
     
    #45

Share This Page